I am frazzled. Since September 1, 2013, I have woken at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. most mornings and struggled with making it through each day on 6 hours or less of sleep. I know why it is happening—I am called to be an intercessor and night watchman—but honestly, I just want to sleep. I have asked everyone I know to pray that I would start sleeping through the night. I began taking Benadryl to help me fall asleep and stay asleep. In my mind, I was the victim of a sick, horrible joke because those who know me know that sleep is one of the most important things to me. (I usually average 8-9 hours a night.) I’m not just frazzled; I’m frustrated.
There I am, caught in a mind trap. Satan has snuck into my head and told me one small little lie: that I need sleep more than I need to obey the Lord. You may not think wanting more sleep is a mind trap or a lie, but there it is, plain as day: disobedience disguised as a need. God had asked me to do some important work, and I was incensed, believing that I would be of better use to him if I had eight to nine hours of sleep instead of if I simply obeyed Him. Because of this, I launched into action against the very thing that God was asking of me.
In living this out over the last few weeks, I have realized that there two important factors to remember about what Joyce Meyer calls the battlefield of the mind:
- It’s not just what you think, it’s how you think. Sometimes we believe that as long as we aren’t thinking BAD things, it’s okay. As long as I am not thinking about cheating on my spouse, it’s okay. As long as I am not thinking angry thoughts about my boss, it’s okay. But therein is the lie. We must replace those bad thoughts with positive thoughts. The Bible instructs us to think about things that are true, noble, honorable, just, pure, commendable, and excellent (Philippians 4:8), and we must be proactive in thinking these kind of thoughts. For me, this means replacing my frustration with God (and my assignment!) with humility. It means viewing my assignment as an honor, not a bother. It also means accepting that God will keep me in perfect peace as long as my mind stays on Him (Isaiah 26:3)—and I obey Him.
- Sometimes, you need a change in perspective. The Bible says that we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). To be renewed, we cannot think about things in the same old ways. I had asked my friends and family to pray that I would get a full night’s sleep and that I would stop waking up so early in the mornings. This past Monday, I shifted my perspective: instead of asking for prayer that I would sleep the whole night through, I asked for prayer that I would be energized and refreshed from the sleep I did receive. Now THAT is a prayer that God was willing to—and DID—answer.
I do not always win these battles for my mind, but I am a work in progress, and God is renewing my mind daily. The most important thing to remember is to saturate your mind with His Word, and you will begin to see your thought patterns change for the better.
What strategies do you have for dealing with the battle for your mind?