Why I Can’t Sleep

My dad may not be able to beat up your dad, but I bet that he can out-sleep your dad.  Or anyone else for that matter.  He does not have narcolepsy; he simply has the ability to go to sleep anytime, anywhere within a couple of minutes.  I have always been amazed at his sleeping skill and I have wondered if it was something that I may have inherited.  So far, it hasn’t happened.

It’s not that I usually have difficulty sleeping; I generally go to sleep rather quickly once I lie down.  But I have never gotten fully dressed for work an hour earlier than normal just so I could lie down on the kitchen floor to sleep some more.  I have also never driven home in a state of sleepiness, parked my car in the driveway, and taken an impromptu 30 minute nap in the car before going inside.  My dad has done both of these.  One day I hope to be able to sleep like him.

Recently, though, my sleeping ability has been the opposite of his.  Over the past few days I have had great difficulty going to sleep.  I am tired, somewhat exhausted, but this hasn’t made going to sleep any easier.  In fact, it seems to have become even more difficult.  And aggravating.  Even though being unable to sleep is aggravating enough, it can be made even more so by following these four simple steps:

Step 1:  Have a chihuahua who can not jump up on the bed, but who will sit and whine until someone grabs him and places him there. 

Step 2:  Be the person who sleeps on the side of the bed that the chihuahua always chooses to do his whining.

Step 3:  Have another dog sleeping elsewhere in the house who enjoys barking at random times throughout the night, waking up the whiny chihuahua.

Step 4:  Make sure that the whiny chihuahua is so hyperactive that he is unable to hear another dog bark without jumping off of the bed to check it out. 

And keep repeating this—ALL. NIGHT. LONG.

Maybe I am overstating this a little.  Maybe it only happens a couple of times during the night.  Maybe it doesn’t even happen every night.  But it is aggravating. 

I can’t really blame my inability to sleep recently on Biscuit (the whiny chihuahua), though.  The main reason I’ve been restless has to do with a five letter word that I usually don’t have a problem with—and I’m not talking about syrup.

I’m talking about worry.

 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication,
with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God
Philippians 4:6

I know that many believe that the presence of worry reveals an absence of faith.  I guess I believe that, too.  Sort of. 

But I also know that I am human.  And as a human I often struggle with believing God for what I can not see; gor what  I have absolutely no control over.  

I’m a pastor…and I sometimes struggle with worry.

And I know that this will continue to happen periodically until I finally make it home.

Until then I will keep repeating what a man once said to Jesus—“I believe, help my unbelief.”

That is often the best that I can do.

(Are you a good sleeper?  What is your preferred sleeping position?  Are you worried about anything right now?  Share away!)


44 thoughts on “Why I Can’t Sleep

  1. Well since it’s 2:21 am I would say I am not a good sleeper. I fall asleep easily but I wake up a lot. About the dogs… That is reason #219 why I don’t own a pet.

  2. It’s 3:04am and I’m awake worrying about the results of the medical tests that I will take tomorrow. When I pray and then still worry, I add guilt on top of worry which is a great sleep aid and also ulcer inducing.

  3. Sleep is good yet it doesn’t seem like I’ve been getting much of it lately. I’m someone who can sleep in pretty much any position (back, stomach, airplane seat). 🙂

  4. I like to sleep horizontally. I have attempted the vertical sleeping position with painful results. Would you like my worry list numerically or alphabetically? I’m a husband, daddy, and a pastor so there is enough to worry about. Trying to trust more!

  5. I’m a terrible sleeper. And I do worry as well. I like to lay flat on my back with a pillow over the top of my head. Essentially, it just covers my eyes.

  6. Nevermind about a list of ways to make trying to sleep more annoying, having a chihuahua at all is my top 5 ways to make life more annoying. As for the whiny, can’t get on the bed by himself thing, I’d recommend you either get him a little doggy staircase at the foot of your bed, or a crate in your garage to sleep in. Personally, I’d get him another family’s house to sleep in, but then I’m not a huge fan of chihuahuas at all…

  7. #1- Aren’t chi’s big rats? I know what I like to do with mice and rats.

    #2- See #1

    #3- Buy a muzzle

    #4- See #1

    As for the worry: pastors are allowed to worry, don’t you know? It is part of our calling. So stop worrying about worry. 🙂

  8. I am a worrier as well Matt. I feel ya. I also have a dog that does the same things your does. As well as two other small dos in the bed (plus a 2 year old some nights)…

    I am a stomach sleeper, and the colder the room I am sleeping in the better!

  9. Ministry and worry seem to go hand in hand. For me, when I am deeply concerned about something, I am more conscientious about taking it to ABBA. In that process, I think faith and trust are facilitated…well…eventually, anyway! I’m not so sure I would get to that place without the worry first. I think it’s most important what we do with our feelings of concern and anxiety. If those things take us to Jesus, and we give it to Him (even if repeatedly) then something beautiful has happened as we lay our burdens down, but if we strap it on our backs and let the anxiety begin to consume us and drive our thoughts and actions, then we have missed the point entirely ~> dependence on HIM. Much easier said than done at times- for sure! I also want to add that I wouldn’t want to go to a church where the pastor didn’t worry at least a little. TRULY! We have one of the most important jobs on the planet whether people think so or not. Leading people to seek and trust God, and helping them in their spiritual formation is THE most important job, ever. PERIOD. What we do in our job here has eternal connections. If we don’t worry a little, then maybe we aren’t really connected to the depth of our calling. Be blessed, and thank you for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  10. I am a good sleeper, but that doesn’t mean I get enough. With a hectic schedule doctors would probably say I’m sleep deprived. Oh well, bring on the coffee.

    While I don’t have narcolepsy I can fall asleep in the car in less than 2 minutes.

    I find myself worrying about stuff, but it doesn’t usually keep me up at night. I can’t imagine the pressures/worries of being a pastor. Much respect to you.

  11. I think as a Man, no, as a Father let alone Pastor you would have so much to worry about, and I can relate with that. It too keeps me up at night, but I also find that those late nights are my MOST creative moments.

    I sleep good with a fan on, even in the winter having that low hum knocks me out. Add that with a shot of whiskey and it’s smooth sailing.

    I mean, so I’ve heard.

  12. I can take care of that dog problem pretty quickly. Sort of like with pigeons. LOL

    I actually move around a lot when I sleep. I also sleep pretty well. The very few times I can’t sleep, I go to the sofa and put my headphones on and listen to gansta rap. Yup, then I get all angry and when I’m angry I sleep better.

  13. I have the lower back of an 80 year old, so, sleep in any position other than with a pillow under my knees and a heating pad under the small of back, means I wake up, unable to move, several times. YAY!

    I do worry, but it’s usually worry about what other people are doing, or NOT doing… and I really can’t help that. I need to let those things go.

    • Back pain is rough. I experience it about once every 6 months or so.

      Yeah–worrying about things that I have absolutely no control over is maddening. But I still do it at times.

  14. I’ve been having trouble sleeping because of worry. Worry about how we’re going to pay the bills. Worry if God is going to show up. I didn’t want to think that’s why I was having trouble sleeping but I think it is.

    • Yeah–it’s better for my pride to blame it on the dogs, but the truth is the truth. Knowing the cause is helpful in finding a solution.
      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  15. I’m a good sleeper. I managed to get some extremely sporadic on the van ride back from Pittsburgh (19 hours) in spite of the makeshift chase lounge I made out of luggage. Lately, and I credit the Lord for this, I haven’t been sleeping as long as I used to in the morning. Even when I work past midnight, I end up waking up by 8 or 9. it’s kinda nice.

  16. I’m just gonna say that I wish we didn’t have to sleep. That God in His infinite wisdom would have just designed us with internal batteries charged by the sun.

    But He’s God and all, so I guess He knew what He was doing…

  17. I seriously believe that my ability to fall asleep immediately anywhere I lay down is a spiritual gift. I’ve always been able to fall asleep easily. I’m SO thankful for that.

    I usually sleep on my side with a pillow between my legs.

  18. I’m a pretty deep sleeper once I get going, but I’m definitely not like your dad. I WISH I could fall asleep on command.

    As for worry (and syrup), I’m right there you. I’ve always thought of it as more of a pride thing — like, I don’t want to give up my problems to God b/c I can HANDLE it myself…by worrying about it. Right.

  19. Not a good sleeper. Blessed to get 6 hours (with a CPAP). Hoping my sleep apnea improves with weight loss. But when my wife is sleeping, and I can’t, or don’t want, to sleep, I watch T.V. (Which lately means Castle).

    Not a worrier though. Thank God for that.

  20. Matt, I know what you mean. Knowing we shouldn’t worry isn’t that helpful, but I know the bottom line is not letting it persist. I’m not saying I’m the best at it, but we are supposed to take thoughts captive and pray (like the scripture you quoted). It’s natural to worry, but we take the burden to Him and something supernatural happens. Great thoughts. Thanks.

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