I have been writing this story since I could first hold a pen. I know you do it too. I tell myself stories all the time, my running commentary on the events happening around me.
It’s 4am. I am dogsitting, housesitting, not in my usual surroundings, without my usual people. Just me and two upset dogs, one of whom has diarrhoea. Yep. It’s poo time, it’s everywhere, the mess is all over the floor and I just can’t. All I want is to crawl into bed, and be done with everything, to hand these doggies back to their owner. But I don’t crawl back into bed, because I made a commitment to take care of the dogs so my sweet friends can go to meet family and get married. The thing is, I am able to tell my story to myself, to remind myself of the higher purpose beyond the poo, of the reason I agreed to be here, despite the potential for disaster and reality of mess. The poo is everywhere, my precious sleep is interrupted, not once but many times through this night and the following night. But I get up, I comfort the doggies, especially since she has made a mess right by the front door, as if she was trying to go outside to not leave me mess indoors. Please be reminded that even in your mess, Father God loves you.
I think you have had a 4am like this at some point. Maybe it’s because you’re a new parent, or you have new money worries that keep spiralling. Maybe it’s an old wound, that doesn’t seem to go away.
Please be assured that 4ams come, and 4ams go. God chose this 4am to remind me of his supernatural peace, which has nothing to do with getting a good night’s sleep. “You keep her in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because she trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)
Go on. Put your name in there. My Father God, you promise to keep Beth in perfect peace, because Beth chooses to stay my mind on you. That ‘stay’ is a bit clunky in English, it is a translation of the Hebrew word samak, which Strong’s dictionary translates in the following ways: to “lay, uphold, put, lean, stay, sustain, hold up, bear up, stand fast, lie hard, rest, set”. Now, all those words add nuance and are interesting. What is your favourite? When I read the words “stand fast” and “lie hard”, I started to get excited. Please God, help me learn what it means to “stand fast” and “lie hard” my mind, on You.
Let me leave you with what I know to be the first step in helping my mind stand fast and lie hard on My Father God. It’s realising that I have a choice. The stories I tell myself in my mind, are not involuntary, as I once thought, they are a choice. I get to choose which of my thoughts I allow to stay in my mind, and which I choose to get rid of.
For me, at 4am on the poopy, no sleep morning, I chose to not dwell on the unfairness of being landed with sick doggies, and I chose to praise. I chose in that moment to allow this particular verse from Isaiah to occupy my mind, and in doing so, the Truth soothed my soul.
The story of the universe, which we are all part of, started with God, and ends with God. It started in a garden, and it ends with a King. A King who suffered and died. A King who’s coming back. Next time you catch yourself telling a story that is hopeless, remember you can choose to tell a different story, a bigger story which can make you whole and soothe your soul.
love always, Beth x