What keeps you awake at night?

Earlier this week, our Yorkshire Terrier (which I usually call a Yorkshire “Terrorist”) started barking at 1:20 a.m. It was one of those persistent, “Hey, something’s going on here! Wake up, guys!” types of barks. My wife and I both got up and looked out the front window toward the garage. We could see one of our garbage cans tipped over with the lid off. Standing next to the can and making a meal of the contents of a large, white kitchen garbage bag was a big black bear. Darn. Our fault for leaving the trash can outside the garage. It was trash pickup day and no one had brought the can back inside, even when we dropped in another bag of garbage.

Something else that keeps me awake sometimes is what I call “vain regrets.” I lie there thinking about something I’ve said or done that hurt someone, made someone uncomfortable or embarrassed myself. Once again, the sleeplessness is my fault. It comes from me not yielding to God what seems so precious to me at times:  my reputation.  Over the years, the incidence of “vain-regret wakefulness” has decreased, though I still experience it from time to time.

What problems keep you awake at night? Are you responsible for creating those issues? Or do you embrace things that aren’t yours to own? It occurs to me that I can find peace (and sleep) by doing two things: 1. Avoid pitfalls that rob me of peace (i.e. bring in the trash cans). I can do what is in my power to prevent problems that bring on stress, worry and sleeplessness.  2. Release to God what He can manage much better than I – my reputation, my image… my personal “brand.”

What’s robbing you of sleep?

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1 Response to “What keeps you awake at night?”


  1. 1 Joel Rude September 23, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Well said, Gregg. I am teaching on integrity and simplicity this weekend to the ministry volunteers from one of our larger churches during their spiritual formation weekend at our camp. It happens to be a church of such positive reputation that I knew of it in my teens in Minnesota ( I am 52 and the church is in southern California). Yesterday I found myself with anxiety symptoms because I do not want to disappoint this highly esteemed church…as I teach on my favorite topics of integrity and simplicity. Sort of ironic; and human, to not practice consistently what I preach. Anyway, I am sleeping well but my awake hours are not peaceful because I feel responsible for their response. The Truth is the Lord’s. He was of no reputation; and I am to be formed into His image. Ahh…why must the clay resist so?


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