If you ever wake up in the middle of the night and use that time to listen to a little self-condemnation, this is a post for you. Now you mothers of young children are probably awakened in the middle of the night often, but you are so exhausted that you fall back asleep first chance. So maybe you don’t have time to lie awake and think about what a bad person you are. Nevertheless, you still might want to read this, just in case this happens in the future.
This is how it goes. You either can’t get to sleep right away, or you wake up in the night, and while you are trying to get to sleep, you are prompted to think about what a bad: daughter, wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandma, sister, or Christian you are.
This is a supreme waste of time for two reasons (besides the fact that it’s robbing you of much needed sleep). The first is because even if you confess your nebulous “sin” of being a bad daughter, wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandma, sister or Christian, the guilt does not go away. It stays. And the more you reflect on it, the more tangled up you become, and the more you confess, and the worse it gets. So it is totally unproductive. A truly productive time of reflection ends in repentance and forgiveness, relief and gratitude. This however, ends with you feeling rotten. If you have ever read The Pilgrim’s Progress, this is the Slough of Despond.
The second reason this is such a supreme waste of time is because it is simply not true. You are not listening to the Holy Spirit but to the accuser. The Holy Spirit is the comforter, not the accuser. Yes, the Spirit convicts us of sin, righteousness, and the judgment to come. But He does not do this by accusing us. Accusation is the language of the devil. So we must learn to distinguish between the two.
The best thing to do when you are assaulted with accusations (whether in the middle of the night or any other time) is to ignore them. The more you listen and engage, the more foot-hold you give the devil, and the more you feel beat up, not forgiven or restored. Simply say, “Not true. I am in Christ and in Him I am forgiven and made new.” Then change the subject.
Now some of you may be wondering if I am being too dismissive here. What if you are being truly convicted of a true thing? Certainly, if you yelled at the kids today, then confess it to God right away, and then confess it to the kids first thing in the morning (no sense in waking them up). This kind of confession is helpful and will take care of it. But false guilt can be confessed all day (and all night) and it never goes away. In fact, it snowballs.
So if you really can’t get to sleep, count your blessings, not your sins. You will sleep much better!