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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Our Souls Are Restless, Lord

Yesterday I stumbled upon a site that gave help for those with trouble falling asleep. At first I read it because one of our daughters has had sleep problems for over a year now. But as I read it, I realized that more and more I, too, have a lot of difficulty falling asleep. All of the advice in the article was sound; yet one element lacked: the necessity of falling asleep with contentment. St. Augustine said "Our souls are restless until they rest in You," and he was right. Contentment and rest cannot come unless we remove the restlessness born of the troubles in our souls that separate us from God and duty.

For our daughter, the sleep problems began, not so coincidentally, when she started getting involved with the occult. Praying to "the goddess" didn't help her fall asleep, but instead she found that the peace she sought eluded her dramatically. So much so that she would frequently lie awake all night. Then she would drag through the day too tired to accomplish anything, and the feelings of inadequacy that resulted from that would increase her lack of peace, adding to the difficulty in sleeping.

For me, the sleep problems have been less consistent. Usually they occur when items on my "to do" list go too long undone. My biggest difficulty has been a mental block about paying bills. Dreading seeing the state of our budget, I would procastinate about opening the books until the budget was truly in a state deserving dread. The budget wasn't the only thing bothering me, though. I also dreaded the inevitable moments of realizing that some important document was missing because the house needed cleaning and my papers needed organizing.

But this isn't a confessional post. Rather, it's a witness to a certain eye-opening that occurred as I did my morning planning. It suddenly occurred to me that my sleep difficulty and our daughter's sleep difficulty are, in a way, caused by the same thing: worry about our own shortcomings. Guilt, self-induced stress, and awareness of a lack of productiveness all have the same effect on us: we worry, because we know we are not living up to God's intentions for us. And it's awfully difficult to fall asleep when you're worried.

Today I'm making a resolution: to try to accomplish something each day. I know it might be too much for a disorganized soul like mine to try to accomplish everything; but I will hope, and ask God's help, not to let any day be a total waste. And I will continue to offer prayers for those who have forgotten God's forgiveness, that they will know in the depths of their hearts that God does not reject those who return to Him.

I ask you to join me in the prayer. And if you, too, have trouble sleeping, I invite you to join me in seeking resolution to the troubles that keep us awake. Our souls are restless until they rest in God: let us seek that rest.