Sleep More, Worry Less

We are just going to pretend like it hasn’t been six weeks since I last blogged. M’kay?

Also, the whole daylight-savings-fall-back-get-an-extra-hour thing? It’s a lie, y’all. There is nothing extra to be found in children who wake up earlier than they should. All you get is a child who is tired but doesn’t know it and refuses to do anything about it. Instead of sleeping, she gets in this position and cries big, pitiful tears…for hours.

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I have been studying for several weeks now on the topic of worry and anxiety. I will be speaking to a group of ladies on this very topic and, well, I’m a bit anxious about it. (The irony is not lost on me.) I take speaking engagements very seriously. I consider it an honor and a privilege to stand before others and open Scripture. I feel a great responsibility to do it well.

As I have been reading, two very familiar passages came to mind. The first is in Acts 12 when Peter is imprisoned awaiting execution.

Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. – Acts 12:6

Peter is bound with chains. There are soldiers on both sides. There are people guarding the doors. Herod has killed James and has plans to kill Peter. And Peter, well, he’s sleeping.

I lose sleep over bills, writing deadlines, silly arguments and whether or not I have served too much chicken this week. Peter’s life is on the line and he is sound asleep. Here’s the thing. It would not have done any good for Peter to stay awake and worry! Psalm 127:2-3 tells us that is it useless for us to stay up light or get up early due to worry. God gives His beloved sleep. We can sleep knowing that we are watched over by the God who never sleeps (Psalm 121:4.)

The other passage that came to mind was Jesus calming the storm in Matthew 8.

And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves….

And they went and woke Him saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” – Matthew 8:24-25

It’s easy to jump straight to the “ye of little faith” part and judge these men. Let’s not do that. They were in a tiny fishing boat, friends. There was a “great storm” and their boat is taking on water quickly. So, yes, they were feeling a little anxious.

They did not, however, sit there wringing their hands and worrying. They did not take a moment to contemplate all of the worst case scenarios. What did they do? They went to the One who could actually do something about the problem at hand. What a concept!

Sweet friends, worry never works anything out. You have never had a problem that, when all was said and done, you thought to yourself, “I am so glad that I spent those nights worrying about that.”

What are you worrying about right now?

That situation could end up two ways:

  1. You can worry and lose sleep and stop eating and it could end up being nothing as bad as what you are imagining.
  2. You can worry and lose sleep and stop eating and it could end up being exactly as bad as what you are imagining.

Either way, your worry did nothing to change the situation. Do you want to know what could change the situation? Go to Christ with it. Cry out for Him to show up and do what only He can do.

Then, go to sleep. ❤

Is There a Plumber in the House?

washingdishesThere is currently a plumber under my kitchen sink. Judging by the pounding and heavy breathing, I can only imagine that it will cost a pretty penny. Now, just to clear things up, this is a different plumber than the one who was under that same sink just a few short weeks ago. That plumber, my friends, may or may not have been the one to see me do the ugly cry and then call me later to make sure “we were cool.” What I’m telling you is that I am having some plumbing issues.

No one has to tell me that things could be worse. I do not need to hear about all of the people who are struggling with much bigger things. I know that, in the grand scheme of things, this is simply an annoyance. The truth is that the little annoyances of life can be the final straw when you are the one washing your dishes in a bucket. Can I get an amen?

It’s there, in the little anxieties of life, that we can find Satan hard at work. It isn’t the huge issues that take us out. We can rally for the big things. We will trust God for miracles. But those little things – they can be like death by a thousand cuts. They can become a distraction which the enemy will use to his advantage.

***

Take a moment and read Luke 21. It’s okay. I’ll wait.

***

In this passage, Jesus is teaching about some hard things to come:

The destruction of the temple

Wars

Earthquakes

Famine

Pestilence

Persecution

Heaven will pass away

Earth will pass away.

Those are some big things. Yet, we are instructed to not worry about those big things. In hebrews 2 1verse 14, Jesus tells us to settle it in our minds beforehand not to worry about what we will say when we are imprisoned.

Our instruction, sweet sisters, is to watch that our hearts are not weighed down by the cares/worries/anxieties of this life.

But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. – Luke 21:34

It is at this point that I wish I were sitting face to face with each of you. I wish you could see how I am about to jump out of my skin because I know that you know what I’m talking about.

Jesus warns us that the day of His return will come upon us suddenly.

Why?

Because we were not living in anticipation of His return.

Why?

Because we were distracted.

By what?

The worries of this life.

***

Can you see how the enemy works? He knows that we are going to take those big things straight to our God to handle. He knows that, when tragedy strikes, we will fall on our faces before our God.

But when the car breaks down or the toilet overflows or the kids lose the library books or there is an unexpected bill or, someone work with me, the kitchen sink will not drain and you find yourself washing your dishes in a bucket that you are pretty certain was last used to soak someone’s feet?

At that point, how easily are we distracted from the work of Christ?

The next time you feel overwhelmed and heavy hearted over the day to day worries of this life, be reminded that these annoyances are Satan’s pathetic attempt to distract you.

Do not let it work. Let’s stay alert. Let’s spend our days anticipating Christ’s return so that, when He comes, we are not caught by surprise and can say, “Yes, Lord, I was expecting you.”

You all are loved.

5 Ways to Filter Negative Noise in Your Life

I am currently the only one awake in my house. That is nothing short of a miracle. I want to write, but I also want to sit and enjoy the silence. Life just seems so loud these days. I know what you’re thinking. How can life not be loud with five kids? Here’s the thing, though. The kids are not the noise. 20120920-011548.jpg

Don’t get me wrong. They can be very loud. At the end of the day, however, they are not the noise that stresses out my soul. It is the anger on the Internet. It is the drama constantly unfolding on the television. It is the discord in church pews. It is neighbors who just can’t get along.

Noise. Noise. Noise.

Do you feel that way too? Do you wish there was a tad less noise in your life? Here are five changes you can make to filter out some of the negative noise.

Filtering Negative Noise

  • Begin your day with quiet. For years, my alarm clock has been whichever kid woke up first. With the addition of each infant, I was certain that, the longer she slept, the more refreshed I would feel upon awakening. That is not what happens. It doesn’t matter if she wakes up at 5:45 or 8:00, if I stay in bed until she awakens, I am thrown headlong into the noise of the day. I need a moment of quiet. It may only be five minutes, but it will be my five minutes.
  • Choose better background noise. Whether you are a retiree or a stay at home parent, those at home sometimes prefer background noise. The default tool is often the television. The television, however, can be full of negative emotions and scenarios. Instead, choose to listen to a podcast, music or audio book. Listening to other things will not only set a better tone but it enables you to move around the house while listening.
  • Choose the better portion. Sometimes, the loudest noise is inside our own heads. We, like Martha, are anxious and troubled about so many things. Jesus did not say that Mary did not have things which could have caused her to feel anxious and troubled. The difference was that Mary chose the better thing to focus on. Choose worship over worry.
  • Leave the noise behind. There is a great big, beautiful world full of adventure and excitement. It is right outside your door. Go and explore. Step away from the computer. Walk away from the chores. Take your family and leave your phone. Eat ice cream. Sit on a park bench. Enjoy life.
  • End your day with quiet. Whether your day is full of staff meetings and business lunches or play dates and doctor’s appointments, it is important to end where you began. Take a deep breath. Read a little. Laugh with someone. Thank God for the people He has placed in your life. Drink a little something hot. Dream about tomorrow.

If we are not intentionally seeking some quiet, the negative noises will take over.

What do you do to add a little peace and quiet to your day?