“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.” ~ Mark Twain
Have you ever gone to bed, fallen quickly to sleep, only to awaken a few hours later with your mind running a hundred miles an hour? I have and it’s not fun. I have gremlins running on the treadmills of my mind. I’ll turn this way and that way. When that doesn’t work, I go for a sure-fire solution, I’ll flip my pillow over to get the cold side. Twenty minutes later, there is no cold side. I’m tempted to stick my pillow in the freezer for ten minutes. If the gremlins could eat, I’d get up and make them an omelet. I’d serve it with toast and coffee. I know it’s only wishful thinking. The gremlins must think they’re at a firing range because they’re shooting one thought after another at me in rapid succession. I wish I could follow Mark Twain’s advice. I’d toss a rope around the gremlins and drag them out and leave them homeless at the curb.
It’s not that easy. I wish it were. Here’s a mind trick I use and it often works. Perhaps it will work for you. It’s worth a try when the gremlins decide to fiesta at two a.m. Here’s what I do, I no longer wrestle with the gremlins. They didn’t RSVP. They didn’t reserve a room. They came uninvited. I have no idea when they’ll leave. I literally tell them (please don’t think I’m losing it), “I see you’re back. There’s food in the fridge. Use Netflix or Amazon, keep it down, please. And, oh, by the way, don’t let the door hit you in the butt when you leave.” I turn on my side (I’m a side sleeper) and let the gremlins have at it. I let the thoughts go where they want to go, I don’t engage with them. Then sleep happens. I usually go into a deep sleep. During my sleep, my visitors quietly leave and didn’t let the door hit them in the butt.
Thoughts are thoughts are thoughts. We all have them. I’ll give them a break, perhaps my subconscious is dumping them out of my mind and I’ll be in a healthier space in morning.
Sometimes it doesn’t work for me. In those nights I quietly say and visualize Psalm 23. I’m not one to memorize lots of things, but this Psalm is worth the effort.
Here’s hoping you have a great night’s sleep.
The LORD is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.
2 In green pastures he makes me lie down;
to still waters he leads me;
3 He restores my soul.
He guides me along right paths
for the sake of his name.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,c
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff comfort me.
5 You set a table before me
in front of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me
all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of the LORD
for endless days.