Ever since I was a little kid I struggled with insomnia. It got worse in my twenties when I started my radio career and then panic attacks started to plague me. Some nights I would kick, scream, and sob as night crept into morning. Desperation would begin to consume me as the time between rest and work became shorter; then I would yell at God and blame Him for cursing me with this dreaded problem.
Then one night…I just stopped getting angry.
In a brief moment of clarity at some ungodly hour way past Chamomile tea, warm baths, and Valerian Root, I realized that elevating my heart rate to 175 beats per minute was not helping. In fact, it was making the problem worse. Yelling at God wasn’t working either.
I reasoned that some of my best days had followed sleepless nights, and some of my worst had come well rested. I came up with great ideas and worked out many problems during those wee hours. Since I was still awake when morning arrived, I had the exceptional privilege of remembering them all.
Although God has not completely healed me, my quality of sleep has improved over the years, and I stopped having panic attacks. Don’t get me wrong, there was some therapy, recovery, and medication involved along the way too. However, as I began to let go and stop worrying about it so much, God began to do a miraculous work in my body, soul, and spirit that was not possible in my own strength.
In recovery we call this acceptance:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Sometimes accepting our limitations and choosing to live with them in peace instead of turmoil is the only thing we can do. Surrendering what we cannot control to God gives Him the permission to do what we often cannot do for ourselves.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).