Proverbs 3 in the Bible says, “When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet” (verse 24). This is an absolute truth to me, and I have experienced this truth in my life.
In the spring of 2016, I had drifted away from my local branch Church of Christ, Scientist, and from practicing Christian Science. I started having severe insomnia, which went on for a long time. I would not be able to fall asleep for hours. If I did drift off to sleep by 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, I would only get two or three hours of restless sleep before I had to be up at 6:00 to get kids off to school. This would happen for several nights in a row each week.
There were a lot of things going on in my life at that time: beginning a career after years of being a stay-at-home mom, attending school to get my real estate agent’s license, caring for my elderly father, juggling kids, dealing with marital stress, purchasing a vacation home 800 miles away that came with many bills and a difficult contractor to deal with, and a scary medical diagnosis. Looking back, it was as if my “spiritual gas tank” was completely empty. But at the time, I didn’t realize how spiritually empty I was.
I also found out that friends in my age bracket were dealing with the same problem with insomnia, so I began to accept it as a part of life that I would just have to deal with as my body went through changes. Friends told me that they would always have to be on medication to get a good night’s sleep. So, I tried over-the-counter remedies and everything else I could think of for the insomnia, such as dietary changes, acupuncture, soothing music, and white noise machines. This only made things worse, and I eventually resorted to going to the doctor for a prescription for anxiety medication, as medical theories suggested that could help me sleep. When that didn’t work, I tried another prescription, and another, until I had tried over six different medications to help me sleep, and they all failed.
Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “As frightened children look everywhere for the imaginary ghost, so sick humanity sees danger in every direction, and looks for relief in all ways except the right one” (p. 371). I was looking for relief in many different ways, but clearly none was the right way.
Then, in early 2017, my father passed on, and my marriage fell apart about six months later. I scrambled to try and save my marriage. I focused all my energy, pain, and waking thoughts on that. I couldn’t even think about all the other problems that I had on my plate.
In November of 2017, I decided to return to studying Christian Science. I read and listened to everything I could get my hands on in Christian Science, and I worked daily with a Christian Science practitioner, who agreed to pray with me as I dealt with my failing marriage.
As my thinking slowly began to shift, I started to acknowledge the good that I did have in my life, and things ever so slightly began to improve, including my sleep. By the summer of 2018, I had reduced the amount of medication and dietary supplements I’d been taking. Instead of trying to fall asleep with white noise, I began listening each night to the audio versions of Science and Health and of the weekly Bible Lesson from the Christian Science Quarterly.
I clearly remember the August day when I finally got rid of all the medications and supplements I’d been using. My prayer and the practitioner’s loving help with my marriage brought to the surface other things in need of healing, and led me to ask myself, Why should I still be depending on medication in this other area of my life? It seemed so hypocritical. I’ll tell you, though, it felt like a leap of faith to dispose of that medication. I remember thinking, What did I just do?
At that point I didn’t fully understand the truths I was reading and studying, but I had studied Christian Science in the past and had even taken an in-depth course on practicing Christian Science—Primary class instruction in Christian Science. I knew the insomnia was connected to my mental state, but my thought still seemed so clouded, and I didn’t know how to work my way out of it.
My progress in thought was slow—painfully slow it seemed at times. But looking back, I now see it was what I could handle at the time. I think so often of Mrs. Eddy’s statement to “emerge gently from matter into Spirit” (Science and Health, p. 485). It’s OK if we go super slow as we work out our salvation. And even if we stumble, as long as we keep desiring to move forward and make the effort to seek God and to seek understanding, we will progress.
Mrs. Eddy follows the above statement with this assurance: “Think not to thwart the spiritual ultimate of all things, but come naturally into Spirit through better health and morals and as the result of spiritual growth.” Progress comes naturally the more we strive to grow spiritually. And this progress opens up all kinds of new possibilities.
I don’t know exactly when the sleep started to really improve. I just know that I didn’t make much progress with the insomnia when I focused on it as a problem that I had to pray about and fix. I made progress when I focused on God, divine Love, and began to express more love toward others.
For example, I made the effort to get up every day and serve others by helping them find the home of their dreams through my job as a real estate agent—even though my own home could have been described as a “broken home.” I can see now that I made progress when I was thankful and when I acknowledged the good in my life. I realized that as I continue to love more, I’ll continue to make progress in ways that bless others as well as myself.
In the years since that time, so much has changed in my life, so much good has come in little ways that build upon the big ways. Burden, heaviness, fear, and worry have lifted greatly, and joy and happiness have returned to my heart. Finances have become stabilized, and I’m debt-free. I am confident that I can challenge all the false claims of the aging process for women. I have a job that allows me to be creative, serve others, laugh, and express grace each day with lovely coworkers. God, Christian Science, and church attendance bring me such peace, contentment, and companionship.
And I find that when I lie down every night, I am not afraid, and my sleep is sweet and so restful. In fact, my head hits the pillow, and I am out.
Raleigh, North Carolina, US
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