For me, night time is the biggest struggle. I find myself awake in the middle of the night picturing things from the day, sometimes considering what could have happened to this kid, or what I should have said to this other one. I can picture with vivid detail what if such and such had happened, or what danger could have beset them if just the smallest thing would have been different.
It is here, in the dark that I hear voices from the past who were ugly, condemning, humiliating and unfair. I hear the criticisms and the challenges all over again, only louder and more hurtful. I hear new things in words spoken during the day, things I didn't think of when they were said but now I can see more ill intent and more purposeful negativity.
I dont do this every night, but man, sometimes it gets me. Sometimes, I end up lying awake for way too long just eaten up with worry, fretfulness and anxiety that I would have the strength to banish during the daylight hours.
I guess Satan knows this about me. He knows I am mentally stronger during the day, when I can look at my kids, argue with myself and say, "but that didn't happen." And, when I can hug the kid I spoke too harshly to, or can logic my way through others' words to resolution within myself. Yes, he doesn't hold as much power over me during the day.
This last round of ugly thoughts left me physically weary, even more susceptible the next night. This time, I can prepared for the battle with some God words. They helped calm my thoughts, settle my spirit and give my mind something else to do besides what it was naturally inclined to do. It helped.
I have been studying Psalms 119 the last few weeks, and there are so many wonderful promises there. Here are some things you can do from this Psalm with your head when it starts causing your heart to lose rest
"I reflect at night on who you are, O Lord; therefore, I obey your instructions." Psalms 119:65
- Consider what you know of God. Consider what you have seen Him do. Bring to mind how you have seen Him work. Ponder how He has acted in your life, and the lives of those you love. Allow your mind to be filled with thoughts of the characteristics of our Creator, and crowd out the ones that do not belong there
"I rise at midnight to thank you for your just regulations." Psalms 119:62
- Gratitude can do some serious damage to fear. Instead of considering all that could have, should have, may or is going wrong, consider all the ways God has already blessed you. Make a mental exercise of listing all the reasons that you are blessed, every way you have been protected and provided for. When a thought of what hasn't happened threatens to creep up, banish it with a reminder for what God has already done. Rehearse the ways that God has given you what you need.
"Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions." Psalms 119:29
- So many of the things that cause worry, anxiety and fret for me are just flat out lies. Whether it is the anxiety over what people meant when they said whatever, or self-depreciation because of my lack of anything, we can get caught up in a web of anxious thinking based on lies if we allow it. When you are tempted to fill your mind with lies, bathe your mind with truth. Rehearse God words, phrases, verses and prayers. Banish lies.
I think we struggle a lot in our world with believing that we can't control our thinking. We can, of course because God tells us to do just that.