Green: What happens when you're sleepless in Stephenville


I don’t sleep at night.

Not much, anyway. I know, I know. If there’s an article about the health ramifications of not getting a good night’s sleep, I’ve read it. Probably at 1:13 a.m.

Renae Green column

The problem is, I’m a thinker. During the day, I stay busy, so I don’t have enough time to think about stuff. At night, when I’m still and everything is quiet, all the thinking questions show up at once, and I don’t have a choice but to look for answers. It’s a compulsion. Don’t judge.

Here are some of the questions that show up in my brain when I’m supposed to be sleeping:

How long does it take for a train to screech to a halt?

Where do all the fireflies go in the daytime?

How many calories are in a cherry?

When was the last Old West train robbery? Did they get away?

Is there an age cut-off for American Idol auditions? (Asking for a friend.)

As I read back through that list of questions, I realize that none of them are significant enough to keep me awake at night. But I’m reading the list at 2:00 in the afternoon, when my logical brain is fully operational. When I’m trying to go to sleep, another part of my brain takes over, and each of those questions seems massively, desperately life-changing and demands an immediate answer.

Which means that Google and I might be having an affair. Don’t worry. Rick knows all about it, and is so unaffected he usually sleeps right through the action.

I’ve tried everything I know to avoid these all-night tête-à-tête sessions. I don’t drink caffeine after noon. I exercise, to make myself tired. I take melatonin. I meditate and pray at bedtime. I drink Sleepytime tea, take warm baths, and do all the other things Google and the sleep gurus say to do. Still, the questions come, causing me to be anxious and freaked out until I know the answers.

(Again. Stop judging me. Half of you reading this do the same thing, and you know it.)

But in my persistent search for sleep, I have found one thing that helps. When I remind myself that no matter what questions show up, no matter what issues I face, no matter what life events loom, I’m not in control. I’m not the one in charge. And it’s OK.

It’s OK because I know, deep in my soul, that the One who is in charge loves me. He cares about me, and He is always working for my good. So even if I don’t know how many calories are in a cherry (4.3, in case you were wondering), I can rest easy. Even if I don’t know where the fireflies go in the daytime (on the ground, hiding in the grass), I know the One who created those fireflies is caring for them with tender love. And I know that whatever questions I have, I can bring them to God. He may not give me Google answers. He may not give me any answers at all, or He may give me an answer I don’t want to hear.

But answers or not, He will give me peace. 

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly perfect children, and far-too-many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com