“If I continue walking in trusting reliance on You, at bedtime I discover that Joy and Peace have become my companions.”
– Jesus Listens, July 20
Many women I know go to bed feeling guilty. They will look back over the day, and realize how much they did not accomplish. The days seem to melt away, full of things that have to be done, but there always seems to be more that didn’t get done.
I knew one woman who would imagine what her daughter’s future conversations with her therapist would be like. Would the daughter be hurt and angry about her mother, telling the therapist all sorts of stories about her mother’s failings? Would the therapist be able to help? Would her daughter have life-long problems because of her mother’s lack of proper love and understanding, not knowing the right approach, or some other problem? Would her daughter ever forgive her? (I should add, that this woman was, in fact, a fantastic mother; but that doesn’t seem to stop this very common fear, that a mother is letting down her children.)
Maybe you fear you haven’t made the right choices in life. That you squandered opportunities, or didn’t grab hold of blessings you could have. That you missed out on what you might have had. It’s easy to forget that God never squanders anything, that we will never lose out on the blessings He will ultimately lavish on us. It’s much easier just to think about what might have been, how we got it wrong.
These are just some of the many ways in which it’s easy to end our days, thinking about our failings. The day ends in guilt.
Finish the day blessing God
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to end the day feeling content, and blessing God? To look forward to tomorrow, not in fear it will just be more of the same failing, but confident that God’s love will continue? To be able to accept that the day wasn’t perfect, but to be able to think, Today I was in Christ, and that’s enough? To hear the phrase, “Rejoice in the Lord always,” and not think How impossible, but Yes, I do?
It won’t be automatic. Part of our problem with godliness is that we expect it just to happen. But old habits take time to change, and that’s the same with habits of thought as much as habits of action. If we want our habitual thoughts and attitudes to change, we need to put new habits in place. That means deliberately giving our minds new thoughts. Deliberately turning our minds from the old ways of thinking into new ways of thinking. When the Bible speaks of meditating on God’s Word, that is exactly what it means. Not just reading it, but thinking about it deliberately. Going over it. Thinking about its truths. Making our minds dwell on them, not just when we are having a quiet time or Bible study, but at all other sorts of odd times: while sweeping the floor, making coffee, driving to work, on the bus, in the garden.
Especially when you are going to sleep.
Thoughts for the End of the Day
Here’s just two things to think about. Psalm 33 says, “Rejoice in the Lord,” and gives a lot of reasons for doing so. First [Psalm 33:4 NIV], “The word of the Lord is right and true.” We can always trust what He says. He does not manipulate, He does not “spin.” His Word is always true, and always reliable. Rejoice! That is a wonderful relief. There is something in this world that we can absolutely trust to be true.Secondly [Psalm 33:4 NIV], God is faithful in all He does. He not only tells the truth in His word, but He also keeps His word. When He promises something, He always does it. He never lets us down. He never says something without meaning it. He never makes promises with His fingers crossed. He absolutely means what He says, and He sticks to His word. When He makes a bargain, He keeps it. When He assures us something will happen, it will. We can absolutely trust Him.
Imagine if the world were like that, if we never needed courts because no one would ever break a promise or a contract, no one would ever fail to deliver, no one would ever deal unfaithfully. Imagine if we could trust every corporation, every business, and every person to keep their word and act honestly. We don’t find that in the world, but we do find it with God. He is wonderfully, thoroughly, faithful and honest. That is another great reason to rejoice.
Rejoice, and Sleep Well
Psychologists tell us to be thankful before going to sleep. Scripture gives us what to be thankful for. We can trust our God, and we can trust His word. That’s truly something to rejoice in
About The Author
Kirsten Birkett was formerly a seminary lecturer in ethics, philosophy, and pastoral counselling. She is now a theological writer based in the north of England. Her latest book, Living Without Fear: Using the Psalms to End your Worry and Anxiety is available at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0B7P8LS59, along with the accompanying workbook and journal.