Have you ever been so exhausted but couldn’t sleep? The feeling is agonizing. Your body is worn out, your eyes are heavy, and yet, you can not fall asleep. It can be caused by a variety of things: anxiety, insomnia, sugar high, etc. This kind of restlessness happens for adults and kids.
When our kids can’t sleep, what do we do? We teach them to count sheep. How about for us adults? We have an idea for you.
Next time you can’t fall asleep, try to work through the alphabet, but with a creative, theologically reflective twist! For each letter, think of a character trait or attribute of God that matches that letter.
For example: starting with “A,” you could say that God is “Almighty.” Then “B,” God is “Beyond all others.” Notice how you can do a single word or a phrase. This is meant to be helpful, not restrictive with too many rules. It is not meant to be a tedious exercise. If it becomes a “spiritual chore” then it has lost its original aim.
The goal is to have your brain work on something other than problem-solving or fixating on anxious thoughts. The idea is that the more you think about God’s character and attributes, the more likely your mind will experience peace.
His character brings calm to our chaos.
This whole idea of meditating on God and His attributes is an important spiritual practice for each of us to implement in our own faith journey. We see it modeled throughout Scripture, from Old Testament leaders being told to “meditate” on Scripture (Joshua 1:8), to David writing so many Psalms about the ideas of “pondering, meditating, reflecting” on who God is and what He has done (Psalm 19:14; 119:48; 143:5), to Jesus withdrawing by Himself regularly to be alone with God (Mark 1:35).
Allow yourself to linger on any given letter, as you meditate on God by thinking about Him through every letter of the alphabet. Let’s say you get to “N” and you cannot think of a single word, but you think of a phrase: “Near. God is ‘near’ to the brokenhearted” (taken after Psalm 34:18). Allowing yourself to reflect and even meditate on the character of God brings a sense of closeness to Him.
Sometimes we are going through the motions and forget that God is not just a subject we study, He is personal and we are meant to experience Him.
Accordingly, the alphabet character of God brings His character and attributes to the forefront of our minds.
Don’t overthink it. Try reflecting on and celebrating the character of God through every letter of the alphabet as you find yourself laying in bed asleep. Let us know how this works for you! Once you try it, drop a comment below and tell us about your experience trying this.