As a chronically ill person, I nap. I nap a lot. For some that may sound dreamy, but it can be really annoying sometimes too. Just because I’m so tired I can’t continue to function through the rest of the day without a nap doesn’t mean the world stopped to wait for me to wake up. The dishes and laundry and never-ending to-do list are still there.
So, napping, as luxurious and comforting as it sounds, isn’t always quite that way. I’ve prayed about this quite a bit. I’ve prayed for God’s healing, for energy, for deep rest. Despite knowing God’s grace and knowing that God sees me and sees what I’m contending with, I’ve struggled with guilt.
There are a few ways I’ve learned to allay the guilt as I lay down to nap. Mainly 3: Breath prayer, visioning, and asking God to give me dreams.
Breath prayer is one which helps to quiet my mind as I quiet my body. It helps me to focus on the Lord as I lay to rest. Breath prayer is simply a repetitive prayer to the rhythm of your breathing. Inhale “Jesus”; exhale “loves me”. Inhale “I love”; exhale “Jesus”. There are as many variations of this as there are scriptures! One I sometimes pray is “Please God | Heal me.”
I often ask God to bless my dreams and to come and talk to me while I’m sleeping. I’m sure He has and I do have one or two examples. Mostly, I don’t tend to remember my dreams, but I still believe He honors that prayer.
The third way I connect with God during my nap time is with visioning. I’ll hold a picture in my mind and pray. Sometimes the prayers are wordless, just the picture. One of my favorite is picturing me as a little child curled up and resting in Jesus’ lap, just being with Him, having Him hold me, listening to His heartbeat, feeling His breath. Or sometimes I’m a cat in His lap all curled up with Him petting me, just soaking up His love.
My favorite vision prayer recently was laying at his feet, like Ruth laid at the feet of Boaz in Ruth 3:7-13. When Ruth laid at Boaz’s feet, she was asking him to be her guardian-redeemer, to protect her, to take her as his own. And that was my prayer that day, and many days since. God, be my redeemer; claim me as your own. And just as Boaz was pleased and honored by Ruth’s request, so is God honored when we ask that of Him.
In Matthew 10:28, Jesus says “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Do you trust God enough to rest in Him? Do you trust in His presence and comfort? Do you believe He will strengthen you? When the list of to-dos is longer than your energy and strength, will you believe that with God it is possible to rest and find peace?
When we rest in Him, He strengthens us. Isaiah 30:15 “This is what the sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”
Instead of having none of it, embrace your rest and quietness and find salvation and strength in the Lord.
This blog by a doctor, has many scriptures on rest. If you struggle like I do, and like Kathleen does, remember that you truly can nap to the glory of God.
If you have a friend who struggles with chronic illness or fatigue, share this with them!