Sometimes I fear that everything in my life will fall apart. There, I said it. Whether it’s insomnia and its consequential sleep deprivation, upset hormones or just my own anxious mind, something deep inside me keeps provoking a looming dread; it’s a feeling I can’t seem to shake.
This dread may stem from a mixture of sources, but I think fear plays the largest role. The feeling crept in during a weekend retreat I took recently with my husband. Our trip—a quick getaway to my in-laws’ cabin—was the first time I have traveled with insomnia in nearly a year. The intent was to get away from the city and summer heat, of course, but also to gauge my progress with insomnia and travel anxiety.
Sleep-wise, things went about as I expected. I certainly wouldn’t boast that they were the best two nights of my life, but I got a satisfactory amount of rest considering the circumstances. My energy levels, however, took so many unexpected dips that I had a difficult time focusing on the scenic landscapes and normally enjoyable activities; instead, my body and mind entered zombie-mode frequently.
The dread started there. What if I will never enjoy travel again? Could it be that no matter what we do or where we go, I’ll struggle to enjoy trips I once would have loved?
It worsened as I realized how much my husband enjoys getting away—how he needs these kinds of trips. He seemed calm, relaxed, at peace, calling everything “beautiful,” and showering me with compliments and appreciation for making the trek up north. He became a new man, treating me like a queen the whole time, despite all of my ups and downs. I felt humbled by it all, though at the same time, that looming dread kept creeping in and telling me I’ll never be the fun, adventurous wife my husband deserves.
These thoughts should not, I kept telling myself, inhabit my mind right now, as my husband rubs my shoulders and offers to do the dishes. What is wrong with me? I should feel overjoyed, cared for, grateful and loved. Instead, guilt and dread occupied the space where these positive feelings should reside. Talk about some heart issues and thinking errors.
I wish I could say that I had some great breakthrough and worked through all of my negative emotions. Not so much. Though as I write this, I can at least identify the faultiness of my feelings. Of course I am worthy of love. I am a being created to love and receive love—the kind that cannot be earned through good deeds or commendable behavior on my part. Real love flows freely, despite my behavior. The key, I think, is accepting it.
I don’t know all of the answers for dealing with dread and guilt, or for finding true joy despite discomfort, or for accepting sacrificial love when I feel completely unworthy to receive such a gift. However, remembering the sound advice from someone much wiser than myself has helped. The advice goes like this: “What you know trumps what you feel.”
Something powerful happens when I identify my thinking errors and heart issues, and something even more powerful happens when I pray through them. I’m reminded that Christ is my stronghold. He gives me strength and steadies me when emotions pull me in all different directions. Through prayer and the promises in God’s Word, I can lift my eyes above fear and dread, refocusing on Truth and disproving the lies my mind tends to believe.
Peace and blessings,
Kat, (semi-professional) insomniac