Do you ever have a hard time getting back to sleep in the middle of the night? In today’s post I’d like to share my friend Martha’s experience with her “sleep better” renewing of the mind project.
Here’s what she told me about her project 9 months ago and we’ll do an update at the end to see how she’s sleeping now:
Me: Can you tell us a little about your project?
Martha: For years, I’ve had trouble sleeping through the night, be it anxiety-driven, nature calling, or hot flashes. A pattern of waking at around 2:00 am developed, and I would be awake for hours, looking at the clock, telling myself that I was going to pay dearly for the lack of sleep the next day if I didn’t go back to sleep soon. I decided to use this “habit” as a project in Barb’s book, The Renewing of the Mind Project.
How did you renew your mind?
Because my memory isn’t the very best, and at 2 in the morning with the haze and blur of intermittent sleep, I decided to use extremely short scripture verses to renew my mind. The first weeks’ verse was, “Abide in Me” from John 15.
When I woke, and after I visited the bathroom, I would snuggle back down, and begin repeating “Abide, Abide in Me, Abide in the vine – you are the branch, Abide in Me – etc.” Sure enough, I went right back to sleep.
The second week, I added the verse, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God” – had to keep it easy and short. Again, between those two verses, I was blessed with some of the best sleep I’ve had in years.
What were you expecting to happen?
I certainly didn’t expect things to change so quickly. My attempts to get my eating habits under control through renewing my mind has extended into 3 years, so I wasn’t prepared to have instant results.
Within 2 weeks, the wakefulness was effectively put to rest, so to speak. I have had one or two nights where I struggled and had to be forceful in taking thoughts to the foot of the cross, captive to Jesus, but as a whole, I’ve had a good 6-8 hours every night of rest.
Why do you think the renewing of the mind was so effective?
Whereas, before I was frustrated and trying to go to sleep on my own, I was turning to Jesus for help, using the Word and His promises to calm my soul and mind.
There are dozens of “projects” or areas in my life that when the Word is applied to them, and the Lord renews my mind about them, I can experience His victory over sin, Satan and death.
How did God show His love to you through this experience?
Between this victory and the following one (realizing that the Holy Spirit, indwelling in me, is concerned and joyously living my life 24/7 – always has and always will be with me) I feel as if I have experienced a renewal of faith and love that I’ve longed and hungered for.
How long did it take to break free?
The sleep project – about 2 weeks
What advice do you have for others who struggle with a sleep problem?
Lack of sleep is often a product of anxiety – some of the questions in Barb’s book have helped me realize how minor and almost ridiculous some of my worries have been. Questions like, “What are you worried about? What’s the worst that can happen? Are you able to control the outcome of this situation?” have helped me grow in trusting God with everything, small and large. Using the Word as a sword of truth, in the middle of the night, when I can barely think straight, helps cut through the darkness and provide clear answers to these questions….hence, more rest!
I asked Martha how she was doing the other day with sleep and she said she’s still sleeping much better. The results of the renewing of the mind project have been long-term.
When we do these projects, we never know how long they’ll take. I wish they’d all be like Martha’s sleep project–two weeks to success–but if you’ve done one yourself, you know that most of them take longer than that. It is normal, though, for success to be long-lasting–not perfect success, but overall living-in-freedom success.
That’s because when we take the time to go to God for help–renewing our mind, abiding in the Word, fighting with spiritual weapons–we’re changing from the inside out. Those kinds of changes are more permanent than trying to force a behavior change in our own strength without changing the way we think.
Would you like to share about your own renewing of the mind project?
If you’re doing a renewing of the mind project, I’d love to hear how your project is going. If you get a chance, let me know by emailing me with answers to the following questions! If you’re willing, I’d like to share some of these either on the blog or podcast as it’s so helpful to get advice from each other on what helps. You can either use your name or go incognito if you’d rather not share your name. Just let me know what you’d prefer.
Here are the questions. If you’d like to add or delete questions, go ahead and adjust them as needed:
- Can you tell me a little about your project?
- What were your boundaries (if you had them)?
- How often did you renew your mind?
- How did you renew your mind?
- What were you expecting to happen?
- What happened?
- Why do you think the renewing of the mind was effective (or if it wasn’t, why do you think it wasn’t effective)?
- What do you think God wanted to teach you through this experience?
- How did God show His love to you through this experience?
- How long did it take to break free?
- What advice do you have for others who struggle with this problem?
I’d also like to encourage you to persevere with your project. I know it’s hard, but you can do it with God’s help! I felt like giving up on my “renew my mind every time I’m fearful” project last week and dropped it for a few days, but picked it up again a couple of days ago. Let’s persevere together!
Discussion: Do you have any tips for sleeping better? Also, any Bible verses you find helpful to sleep better?