Have you ever had the experience of waking up in the middle of the night maybe because of a noise outside or some other reason? Then, have you had the experience of not being able to go back to sleep immediately and find many thoughts going through your head? Sometimes these thoughts are full of anxiety or fears. Sometimes they are so hard to shake off! Later on, as the day moves on, maybe after a coffee of two, they lose some of their potency, are less troublesome.
There is so much that goes on in our mind. We carry concerns, challenges, as well as peaceful and energising ideas reflecting our experienc
I was advised a long time ago by a wise spiritual director to try to pray when I first wake up, or at least close to that time. He said, “before the smug self takes over”.
The smug self tends to put on a camouflage over things. We can tend to put off dealing with difficult worrying or painful things. We can even suppress them and try to ignore that they are there.
Of course, even when we do not suppress or deliberately put things out of our mind, we can still have worrying thoughts and concerns that disturb our sleep at night. After all our mind needs to process all that it has absorbed, hence our dreams.
The middle of the night is not normally the best time to resolve the puzzles of life. It is often a mistake to try to solve these riddles, worries or issues at this time. It is a time to sleep.
There is a time to put things in ‘brackets’ to be dealt with in the waking hours at some appropriate time. There is a time to put things in the hands of God remembering God’s loving embrace. God’s love is bigger than anything and everything. The words of Jesus telling us not to worry, is something I need to remind myself of often.
We take our concerns, fears, doubts, anxieties, whether we are fully aware of them or sometimes just partly aware of them, to prayer. Of course, we can pray in the middle of the night or in the waking hours.
It is good to open ourselves to prayer without at first always trying to resolve everything. We centre ourselves in the presence of our loving God, tell God that we give everything to God and we want to be in God’s presence.
We then, after a while, ask for wisdom and direction. Then we bring to God our concerns and ask for wisdom. Sometimes we can see our way forward clearly, other times not so. Whatever happens it is always important to remember that we can be secure in holy insecurity. Blessed Charles de Foucauld expresses this in a very beautiful way:
Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will.
Whatever you do, I thank you;
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
And in all your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
To surrender myself into your hands
And with boundless confidence,
For you are my Father.