I’m currently being tested for a sleep disorder. I’m hoping for good results but I have my concerns.
Rest for the body is important. If you don’t rest the body bad things happen, not the least of which is crankiness and irritability (at least that’s what I’ve heard). Bodily rest is not the only consideration though. We also need to find rest for our souls.
I’m sure we’ve all had the wonderful experience of being tired and yet unable to sleep. The body is horizontal, the head is on the pillow, but the mind is racing like a stock car at the Daytona 500. The body is screaming for rest but the mind is reaching speeds of 200 miles per hour.
Sadly, you don’t get paid for mind racing. Too bad though. I’d be a multi-billionaire by now. No guarantee this would cure my racing mind but with that kind of money, sleepless nights would be slightly more bearable. Actually, I can’t really say that I have sleepless nights. I don’t have a lot of trouble sleeping. The problem is that I wake feeling like I never slept. Hence, the sleep test alluded to above.
In Matthew 11:29 Jesus promised rest for our souls. This sounds like good news to me because the mind is part of the soul. So Jesus is really promising rest for the mind. Great stuff. But there’s a condition.
He said previously in verse 28, “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” The condition is that we much come to Christ. Of course, there are other options when it comes to calming the soul. Watching pornography causes a surge in dopamine in the brain, which helps increase sensations of pleasure. The problem with porn is that is actually shrinks the brain, which essentially makes you dumb. Alcohol depresses the nervous system making the drinker feel calm and relaxed. But the key word is “depresses.” So if you want to be depressed become an alcoholic, or at least a heavy drinker. The time fails me to speak of the effect of drugs.
Sleeping pills can work but there are various possible side affects, one of which is premature death. Seriously, I read that somewhere online so obviously it’s true. We all know everything you read online is true right? Anyway, we won’t get into that here. Suffice it to say that there are many counterfeit ways to achieve a semblance of rest for the soul. But there’s only one way to get the true rest that stretches from time into eternity.
The problem with temporary solutions for the problem of internal restlessness is that they’re temporary solutions. They don’t help beyond the grave. Most of them don’t help much before the grave, much less after it. Christ is the Only answer that covers both time and eternity. But we must come to Him. What in the world does it mean to “come to Jesus?” Isn’t He in heaven? Yes, He is. But He’s also present on earth in the Person of the Holy Spirit.
On a practical note I would like to offer two ways in which anyone, anytime, anywhere can come to Jesus and receive rest for their souls. First, we come to Christ through prayer. Second, we come to Christ through the bible; reading it, studying it, and even meditating on it.
As for the prayer part, Paul said in Philippians 4:6-7 that we should be anxious for nothing and pray about everything, so that the peace of God would act as a guard over our hearts and minds. As for the bible part, Psalm 119:165 says “Great peace have those who love your law (Word), And nothing causes them to stumble.” These are a mere sampling of scriptures that speak of the benefits of prayer and the Word.
Of course, there are many other things we ought to do as Christians, but the main thing is coming to Christ. We ought to do it on a daily basis. Nothing less works for me. To that end I try to do those two basic things each and every day of my life. Pray and read God’s Word. Everything else is secondary. Or at least I try to make them so. I’m not perfect in this but I’m working on it.