Running on Empty
It’s 11:30 at night on a Saturday as I write this. The lights are off and pajamas are on, but I’m unable to fall asleep. I wish this was a one-time occurrence, but I’ve found that I struggle to sleep on Saturday nights for a while now.
For a while, I blamed it on being a musician. You see, pretty much every Saturday since I was a teenager I’ve been involved in the music portion of whatever church service we attended. In recent months, I’ve been challenged more as a musician during that time as I include more technical aspects into my playing.
I won’t bore you with the details of what it’s meant to add a music app to assist me in live performances, but I’ve been able to do so much more with my keyboard, using it as a multi-instrument and effects processor. It’s pretty awesome. Putting in a lot of time and effort ahead of time allows me to do more and sound better.
But it also means that I’m playing through a lot of the riffs, sounds, and triggers in my head when I want to be sleeping. Sometimes even thinking about the notes I missed during rehearsal a couple of nights prior, still not forgiving myself. Or wondering what anyone else might have thought about my playing, knowing full well that nothing negative was said (but then again, was anything positive said either?).
I’ll be laying there wishing I could sleep to be rested for playing the following morning, all the while “playing” in my mind. So where does that leave me tonight? I’m not playing tomorrow morning at church. In fact, I don’t actually know which church I’m going to tomorrow (it’s at least narrowed down to 2, to be decided over coffee in the morning). We moved to a different state, leaving me without a band or group that I belong to.
For the last 3 weeks, I haven’t had a musical riff or keyboard issue running through my mind. But I still can’t sleep. I’m running on empty. Little by little, my insecurities started surfacing. Or what boxes I need to still unpack. Or what I will be teaching my son this coming week as we spend time together in his homeschooled Preschool. The thoughts turn ugly as I think about my failures from earlier in the day which adds up as I think about them from earlier in the week. It’s way too easy to think of them.
But then I’m reminded that God’s mercies are new every morning, so should mine. Even when talking about myself.
So what is keeping me up?
As my rambling mind turns down this avenue, I know it’s not because I’m not tired. Having a 3-year-old means that I am constantly tired. Add in my current bout of low iron, and I had been wishing for bed all day.
I know that my tank of energy is on E, so it should have been easy to drift into a dream, but what if there’s another tank that’s keeping me up? Something else that’s on empty which might be keeping my mind so full?
Unfortunately, I know exactly what that is.
Having a relationship with God running on fumes is never a good idea.
God gave us the example of the Sabbath and Church so that we would know how important it is to set aside time for rest and to spend time with other believers. But that never meant that we should only spend time with Him on Sundays.
Here I am with the lights dimmed and the house quiet, finally listening to His still, small voice calling out to me, yearning to have me share my day all the while wanting to give me His peace and rest. My marriage would fall apart if we never spent time together, never talked. Yet it’s so easy to let the busy-ness of my week interfere with my relationship with God.
Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t run on the fumes of a message you might have heard from a pulpit earlier in the week. No more running on empty. Spend some time in the Word and in prayer to keep your life full of God.