Sleep Retraining You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. —Psalm 51:6 (NRSVue) MARTHA SPONG | After years of disrupted nights, a sleep study revealed just how dire my situation had become. I was resisting sleep and then waking up anxious because my body was forgetting to breathe. In those years, I had developed the kinds of habits we do when we are trying to avoid something we fear. I hate to think how many hours I spent running a finger over my phone; gleefreshing was no better for me than doomscrolling. Even after I put the phone down, I would lie awake, caught in a dread I did not understand. Prescribed a CPAP, which covered so much of my face that I couldn’t wear my glasses, I was left to my own non-devices, and it won’t surprise you to hear that after years of avoidance, I did not know how to go to sleep. The machine that was supposed to help me breathe made me feel like I was suffocating. I told myself stories about the noise it made and the disturbance it must be causing for others. I had forgotten how to let go of the day because I was so afraid of the night. Medicine and mechanics could not resolve that predicament. I had to practice lying qui- etly, to invite God (and not Twitter) into that space with me, to tell the truth about my fear and give it space with God and let it subside. It was the work of many, many months. I began to trust: that I would sleep, that I would breathe, that I would wake up again. And I learned that I could not do it by myself. PRAYER Holy One, teach us to rest in you. Amen.

About the Writer:
MARTHA SPONG is a UCC pastor, clergy coach, and editor of The Words of Her Mouth: Psalms for the Struggle.

Source: “Running from Empty” | 2023 Lent Devotional by the Stillspeaking Writers’ Group, made up of United Church of Christ ministers and writers who collaborate on resources for people in the church, outside the church, and not sure about the church.