What’s Sleep Got to Do with It?

350 am

That’s what time I keep waking up.  To some that might not seem like a big deal, to me, it can be a burden.  Last time I went ahead and woke up and wrote a blog post that God put on my heart.  This time, it’s not that I feel some deep spiritual truth to share, it’s more like, dang this really sucks but what else am I going to do.

I have a couple of autoimmune diseases, Lupus & Ulcerative Colitis.  Which isn’t normally all that big of a deal, people live with these kind of health problems everyday.  I usually do as well, but sleep – sleep is kind of one of the biggest things to keep myself in what is called remission and to prevent a ‘flare’.  A flare is when some trigger sets off your autoimmune disease, lack of sleep and stress are my biggest triggers for both.  Even though I come from a long line of ‘worriers’, I’ve (re)learned over and over (and over and over) again to just give it to God.  There is literally nothing I can do to solve our current situation – so I’m going to have to trust that God will provide OR He won’t, either way – what will worrying do for our situation.

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”  Matthew 6:30-33 MSG

Sleep, you don’t realize how important it is until you have to go without it – <said every parent with a newborn baby>.  Seriously, new parents, just wait – there’s a day called teenagers when your kids will want to sleep in all day and you’ll regain the ability to sleep and then get frustrated when your teens do the sleeping thing and ‘waste’ their day away – kind of like you wished you could again 13 years ago.  Oh I know, there are people who will joke and boast about how little sleep they get, how coffee is their miracle cure and they cannot ‘function’ without it – but there are those of us in the autoimmune club that wish y’all didn’t use some of those words so loosely.  

Pain, takes on a new meaning when you’re tired – as soon as I wake up ‘too early’, it’s already been hitting me for awhile.  I usually wake up in pain, most of my joints burn and ache, my head has been throbbing before I even fully wake up.  The level of ache is typically increased by how much earlier I have to wake up, I pretty much live on Tylenol Arthritis and take the maximum dosage allowed each day as it is without losing sleep – so a less sleep day sucks before it begins.

Fatigue and Brain Fog.  This kind of tired cannot be helped with copious amounts of caffeine, my exhaustion is like a heavy blanket that’s trying to smother me – it’s like someone removing a power source and you feel like you’re only capable of the most basic of bodily functions but even that is just an empty shell of who you are.  Imagine, not being able to explain to someone how to make toast, oh you know how to do it – you think, you’re pretty sure you know what bread is and that the thing the bread goes in is probably called something simple – but you’re just staring at that device and not sure how to explain it let alone demonstrate it because everything is so thick in your mind like a dense fog on a fall morning, the words are hiding somewhere – you just can’t reach them because they disappear like the mist around you.

So that’s my best way to describe why I dread waking up too early.   Let me take this moment and explain to every sweet and kind person who believes they have the cure for an incurable disease – do not tell us that <insert essential oil> <insert supplement> <insert yoga> <insert diet> <insert any alternative/holistic new fangled latest fad and/or phase> will cure us.  As open as I am and have tried 99.9% of stuff out there, that’s the kind of thing that makes my eye twitch and wanna lose all my christian composure, can you imagine being all irritable and cantankerous and being told you just need to juice to be cured <some of us are not good with self-control and I’m seriously trying to prevent your good intentions from being slapped into next week> — just don’t do it! 

I actually have a saying that I think I coined (blame it on the brain fog if I didn’t), “I’m just waiting for my body to catch up to my spirit.” I sincerely believe God can heal me, I also believe in His timing.  God doesn’t waste a single moment, so He can use my health issues to mold me into the person I need to be – I really should have thought over that prayer request to teach me patience <said every Christian who prayed that prayer>. One day my healing will come, whether in this life or on the other side of eternity.  Until then, I do love my Starbucks – even if it doesn’t love me back.