When the Journey is Too Great {The Grove: Sleeping}

“It’s okay to take time to sleep and to rest – to let yourself be.”

I wish I could say these words came from my own mouth the other day, but they didn’t. They came from my helpmate, my husband, who so often sees things in a different light than me and helps steady and calm me.

I had been lamenting to him that I wanted to get up early in the morning to have time with the Lord before the day began, but my body was exhausted. Exhausted from the change of moving to a new city, being newly married, being the new person…all the newness.

At times all I want to do is sleep. Sleep until everything feels right and good and normal. But I know that I can easily make sleep into my escape; instead of retreating to the Word and to prayer, or to sharing the burdens of my heart with my husband, I can succumb to the numbness of sleep.

So I flip to the opposite: I want to restrict my sleep, to make myself get up early, to be disciplined, to make sure that I don’t create sleep into my sole retreat.

But then I remember:

He gives to His beloved sleep

And I hear this truth echoed in the voice of my husband. His gentle reminder that it’s okay to rest, to sleep, to acknowledge you are tired. For in that acknowledgement, the realization and admitting of the exhaustion that is at times overwhelming, I am reminded of my need for my Father.

I desperately need Him, and I am in desperate need of His rest. The kind of rest when I lie down and whisper, Father, I feel like it’s too much. I can’t do this. I want to do more for You, to be more for You, but I just feel like I can’t right now.

And I hear echoes of Elijah’s prayer in 1 Kings 19:

It is enough; now, O LORD; take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.

After this, Elijah lies down and sleeps. We are not told how long his slumber lasts, but we know how the Lord responds, and what a sweet response it is. The Father does not berate him, does not come and rebuke his feelings or tell him he should be feeling something else. Instead, the Lord sends an angel, who comes and touches Elijah and provides food for him.

When the angel wakes him, he tells him to get up and eat, and after that what does Elijah do? He lies down and sleeps again. The angel wakes Elijah a second time, and his latter part of his words speak such peace to my heart:

Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you

Oh, how comforting these words: ‘the journey is too great for you.’

Sometimes the journey is indeed too great for me. It is too much for my heart, soul, and mind to hold, and so my body responds by telling me that I need to sleep.

Should I stay asleep for days and days? No, the Lord does not let Elijah sleep and continue in his depression. He comforts him, wakes him, provides him food, instructs him to eat, lets him sleep again, and then the process repeats.

So this winter season, as the clouds roll in and the gray of the cold so often brings a chill to our bones and weariness to our hearts, let us be honest as we voice our weariness to the Lord.

Let us be vulnerable, unafraid to speak our tiredness, and then allow Him to grant us sleep and His rest. But, then, let us allow Him to wake us, let us eat the food He provides for us, let us hear Him whisper that the journey is too much for us. And finally, let us remember that it is in His sustenance that we find the strength to continue on.

Who has the Lord placed in your life to remind you that it is okay to take time to sleep? How have you responded to this reminder? How are you learning to lean on Him for strength in the journey, even the strength to allow yourself to rest and sleep?

~~~

We invite you to share in The Grove. You can link up your blog post, or share your practices, ponderings, wisdom, questions, ideas, and creative expressions with us in the comments below.

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6 Comments

  1. Michele November 30, 2018

    Just seeing the quote from this post with the picture this morning, I teared up a little- Because it’s what God has been speaking to me the last two or three weeks and I’ve kind of been up and down in how well I can receive it. I’ve been super tired too and it’s just not shaking off as easily as it feels like it should. Okay, I’m 49. So there’s that to factor in. But also it’s been such a crazy couple of months with a lot of transition and not a lot of routine, so hard to get into good rhythms. And I heard the Lord say in a very clear and direct way a couple of weeks ago that I need more sleep now than I did before or than I usually do, and that I should try to get it. I’ve never tended to escape to sleep- When I’m stressed or overwhelmed it tends to escape me! But I’ve been sleeping HARD and then not waking till much later than I used to. And like you, I want to be more disciplined because it feels like I can’t get enough time in the Word when the mornings are so short. I’ve appreciated the posts this week, especially this one and the Book Club one that have reminded me how sleep can be a holy way of humbling myself and admitting my weakness and limitations and expressing my trust in Him.

    1. Kirstin Tatagiri November 30, 2018

      Thank you so much for sharing what the Lord has been teaching you and how this spoke to that! It encouraged my heart to hear. I completely understand the struggle to get into good rhythms and how it can feel discouraging when it takes us time to establish those. Sometimes I just want to snap my fingers and have everything in place! But then our need to rest and take time to acknowledge that rhythms take time remind us that we need the Lord. And how thankful I am that we need Him and don’t have to do this life by ourselves!

  2. Emily November 30, 2018

    Yes! I often forget that our tender loving Father is the One who created sleep, and He knows we have need of it. Thank you for charging this journey you’re on. Love you friend!

    1. Kirstin Tatagiri November 30, 2018

      Thank you for reading friend! It is so true: He created sleep because He knew we would need it, and also to remind us of our need for Him. Thankful for you and your friendship on this journey of life!

  3. Amber Goodloe December 2, 2018

    Yes yes yes. The journey is too great. Thank you for this reminder.

    1. Kirstin Tatagiri December 2, 2018

      You are so welcome, Amber! I need to be reminded of this daily, I think.

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