Where’s My Coat?!

You know like when you can’t sleep – and you neeeeed sleep – but it’s like all you can think about is the thing which is keeping you awake, and it’s like your thoughts have somehow taken control of your body and refusing to let you forget about it and sleep?

Like a couple of nights ago, I woke up after about an hour and a half of sleeping and couldn’t shake being awake. For what purpose? Because I couldn’t find my blue, velvet, Karen Millen bargain coat which I want to wear on Sparkle Sunday!! Honestly, for an hour my brain was running through different scenarios, because int he last couple of months I moved in with my brother and his family, and them moved into a TP (Temporary Place) for the winter, and wondered if I had packed and brought it with me, or if I had left it behind somewhere, or maybe I had inadvertently packed it with the stuff which ended up at the tip! Oh my life!! Not the tip!! Once that thought entered my head, I literally broke out into a cold sweat.

stephs-blue-velvet-coatThe only way to ease my troubled soul was to go again down to the cloakroom (Yes! I have a cloakroom!!) and see if said coat was there – when I’d checked earlier, I couldn’t see it.

But at 2am, there it was. Hidden behind a waterproof mac and a short green velvet jacket. It wasn’t even apologetic at the prospect of having played hide-and-seek with me earlier in the day, nor for disturbing my night!

The next night, however, wasn’t so easily resolved. The next night my sleep was again disturbed (around the same time, actually) by a more sinister and darker concept, which wouldn’t be so easily solved by getting up and having a look in the cloakroom.

As I turn 40 in four weeks, my head decided to fill itself with all the things I have failed at in life! Single. Divorced. No longer a home owner (hence the TP – and only a temporary situation). No children. No one to carry on my amazing genes and awesomeness. Miles from family. If I was to die tomorrow, there is no record of my life. No person to remember me at Christmas or lay a wreath on my grave (I know, so cheerful at that time of night!!). It would be almost as if I didn’t really exist – I’ve never even grafitti’d or carved “Steph was ‘ere” anywhere… Hmmm… maybe I should?! Pass me a penknife, quick!

At 2am, it’s hard to sleep when these thoughts wake me and grab hold of my heart with absolute terror, breaking me out in a cold sweat. It’s also hard to think logically or rationally. Or combat them with truth and positives instead.

Whereas this time last year, I was actually struggling with depression and thoughts that death would be more preferable to death, this year God has lifted me out of that and has caused me to stand through all of this. OK – so I’m nearly 40, and so life hasn’t quite worked out the way I had mapped out when I was in my twenties. But I have to trust that it is firmly in the hand of God.

According to the world’s standards I may not have accomplished much – but by God’s grace I have accomplished TONS! I have a book published. There are podcasts of the talks and messages I have shared. I have been used to lead people to Jesus – the greatest inheritance I can ever leave behind. I have many articles posted in various places, including Christian newspapers and on various website – which I know God has used to challenge and encourage people I don’t even know. I have no idea how many people God speaks to using one of the blogs I have written over the years. And I have no idea how many people God reached using the teenage girl’s magazine SHINE I wrote with my amazing designer friend, Sinead. Nor the number of people God has touched through the recorded poem my old Church put together a few years ago. Nope – I may not have accomplished much by 40 in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense… I am a powerhouse, baby!! And I ain’t finished yet!

Listen, when the thoughts creep in at night – they are there to steal your rest, kill your ability to function, and destroy your joy. They are not a real picture of your life. DON’T let them become your version of reality. At 2am (or whatever time you get disturbed) the only way to combat these kind of sleep-disturbance is to search for the hidden treasures which are always there, but somehow get overlooked. Just like my blue, velvet coat had been in the cloakroom when I first looked, I hadn’t seen it – but I needed to get up and look for it in the night just to find that peace of mind, the treasure of the reality of who you are is hidden away, behind some of those negative thoughts… You have to get up and search for the truth anywhere you can.

Truth can be found in a conversation with friends you know you can be honest with (like I have a Grace, and a Marva, and a Rachel, and a Glenis, and a Sara, and a Paul, and a Peter, and a John… I could go on with lots of random names which probably mean nothing to anyone. Except me and (hopefully) the owners of the said random names! Including the ones I haven’t listed… coz then this blog would read like the Book of Numbers!! Yawn!!!)

Truth can be found in writing down the blessings of your life.

Truth can be found in the Scriptures – ultimately, truth can be found in conversation with God.

When I searched, I found. Sounds like what Jesus said,

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you; keep seeking, and you will find; keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

Don’t let the lie overwhelm you in the night. Get up, and seek the truth. It’s hard to slouch once you’ve had enough rest and sleep!

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