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Resting in Christ

How My ‘Nap 180’ Taught Me to Surrender to God

Have you ever despised something you now love? For me, it’s naps.

For as long as I can remember, unless I had the flu, was pregnant, or had a sleep-chaotic newborn in the house, I refused even the idea of a snooze.

“They make me nauseous,” I’d say.

It was true—I’d put my head down and wake up ten or twenty or sixty minutes later, and for the rest of the day, my stomach would be in knots. 

In truth, I held a bias about them. I thought dozing was for the lazy or infirm, for those who sat around eating chocolate and kicking up their feet, those not driven to make their mark in the world as I was.

But in the last few years, I’ve discovered the power of naps from a physical and mental health perspective. More importantly, I’ve discovered how tied they are with my surrender to the Lord, to my relinquishment of my tight hold on life.

I guess you could say I’ve done a nap 180—a complete about-face on my former perspective.

I’m not exactly sure when I discovered the power of naps, but I suspect my brain-shift happened shortly after Matt and I married. See, I was always a workhorse before I had kids, but after I became a single mom with a demanding and wonderful full-time job, this intensified. I’d often get by on four or five hours of sleep a night. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” I’d quip. If the sun was up—or the moon—there was work to do and adventures to be experienced. 

But then came Matt, a partner to help with it all. Slowly, I relaxed. I didn’t have to do it all on my own. I started getting seven hours of sleep a night, then eight, then nine. 

I began to heal and truly listen to my body. Before, when stress got overwhelming, I’d slug back some coffee and push through. Now, I became more introspective. I read the Bible more. I meditated on things like “surrender.”

One day, I felt so overwhelmed with deadlines that I felt ill. I’d overcommitted (as usual!), and I felt frazzled and unfocused. I wanted to give my best work, but my brain just wasn’t working right. I was weepy and completely “off.”

So I left the office, went home, and slid fully dressed between the sheets. An hour later, I woke up. 

And you know what? Catastrophe didn’t ensue because I’d taken a short break. My body and mind were refreshed and reset, which in turn increased my productivity.

In essence, I gave my worries over to God, surrendering my will as I lay my head on that pillow.

How My ‘Nap 180’ Taught Me to Surrender to God Click To Tweet

This past year, my daughter experienced a major mental health crisis, and the crisis left me shattered and drained. My emotions were raw. So on bad days, guess what I started prioritizing? Yes, naps. I found I had more patience when I was well-rested and had taken time to tend to myself, but I also found the simple act of putting my head on the pillow provided a physical manifestation of surrender to the Lord. It’s a form of kneeling in submission and trust before the One who made the stars. 

Since then, I have come to genuinely enjoy naps. I try to keep them short, and I don’t nap every day. But if I get that familiar restlessness within my soul, that “everything depends on me and I have to do X, Y, Q, and Z now or this will happen!” feeling that makes me want to binge on cereal until everything seems better, I’ve come to realize that’s my body’s and brain’s way of expressing overwhelm.

And in those situations, there’s only one solution: God.

I can’t fix everything, and cereal and excessive worry or control can’t make everything wrong in my life better, or deadlines disappear. 

But God is sovereign. I relinquish my life to Him. 

In Isaiah 41:10, God reminds us, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (ESV).

God is in control, not me, and when I remember to nap instead of looking to myself to handle everything, it becomes—at least for me—an act of spiritual surrender. 

How My ‘Nap 180’ Taught Me to Surrender to God Click To Tweet

I suspect King David understood this when he penned Psalm 63, which begins, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1 ESV).

Are you in a place where you find it hard to surrender to God or relinquish control? Is something about this devotional speaking to your heart? 

I invite you to pray, and let God take over.


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