Regret can be torture.
The other night I was restless, knowing that morning was quickly approaching. It was one of those nights where I thought that if I could just stop thinking so much about falling asleep then maybe I would be able to close my eyes and drift. But it seemed like a night of sleep would only be another missed opportunity to add to an already long list of various other missed opportunities stretching back to my childhood.
Instead of sleeping, I thought about how my pillows weren’t comfortable. I thought about how hot it was, so I shoved my blanket off. Then it was too cold, and I pulled my blanket up. I stopped looking at the clock thinking I could somehow make time stop if I simply didn’t acknowledge it. Unfortunately, time doesn’t care much about what I think.
On nights like that, I feel like my anxious thoughts somehow materialize into some kind of thickening fog around my bed, and I have to get up and go somewhere else to find some clarity. I put my tired feet to the floor to make my way to the couch in the living room. However, the deep, blue quiet did nothing to calm the noise of my heart.
The moonlight creeping across the floor, walls, and houseplants only reminded me that time cannot be stopped no matter how much I want it to. I cannot go back and change anything, and whatever I do now is permanently written into my story.
It’s not that I have a bad life, but I do have an imperfect life with unfulfilled dreams. As I’ve gotten older, one of the most surprising things about life is how incredibly ordinary it all is. This is probably normal. However, it doesn’t stop me from asking the “what if” questions and allowing them to make me doubt everything and twist into my gut like a knife.
I texted a friend that night letting him know how I was doing. It’s amazing how quickly your fears and anxieties dissolve when they are made known to someone other than yourself. My friend simply reminded me that I am exactly where God wants me in his story right now, and he offered to pray for me that night so I wouldn’t have to. That simple truth about God’s story brought me back to a place of sanity.
God has placed some really great people in my life, and I was able to sleep that night resting in the truth that I don’t have to figure this all out. I’m in the hands of an all-wise and good God who does have it all figured out.
I understand. I had a “midlife crisis” some years ago. In spite of having many things so many people envy, like wife and kids, a good job, good health and especially, all the benefits found in Christ, our old nature is such that our “have nots” take up a lot more space and time in our souls than all our blessings.
What has helped me is a daily discipline called thanksgiving. And also, as you did, sharing those bad days with trusted brothers in Christ.
Contentment is definitely something we have to work at. It’s so easy to compare ourselves to one another and see what we are lacking while ignoring all that we have.
I understand the sleepless nights, and the crippling anxieties of “What if” can make one feel as if they are suffocating in it’s grasp. The amazing thing about the Lord is that He knows our beginning to our end, He directs our steps, and He knows the thoughts He has for us. He writes every chapter beautifully and in His design, and even if one doesn’t make sense to us right now, He never leaves a story unfinished, and so His plan for our lives will come to pass in His perfect timing, which brings such comfort and peace, for in those moments where things are uncertain, we can trust and find refuge in the Lord who has it all planned. 🙂
It’s crazy how quickly those thoughts can overtake our minds at night. I’m so thankful that Christ always believes and is always faithful even when we are not! Thank you for the encouraging words 🙂