Have you ever been awakened during the night hours with a clear thought which you can’t remember when the waking time comes? I have. On occasion I have written down the clarity on a pad near the bed or gotten up to put it on the computer.

I have often wondered what these musings mean. I’m sure there are moments when the conscious mind allows the unconscious to think openly and reveal some truth. Perhaps there are moments when the tyranny of the urgent is reduced in our sleep so that the insight of the eternal can be opened. The Scripture says, “What is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV).

Insomnia is very difficult to explain. When we self-medicate with alcohol, sexual relations, or drugs we may sleep temporarily but those choices do not quiet the inner, insistent voice crying out from within. What are the causes of sleeplessness?

Some chemical imbalances immediately become culprits. A cup of coffee too late in the evening can cause restlessness and sleeplessness for some. Other stimulants work in similar fashion, but we need to locate the deeper, psychological reasons now.

First, unacknowledged guilt can be avoided in our waking hours but has a way of reaching out to haunt us in the relaxed hours of sleep. When this guilt is identified and confessed, sleep is more likely to be restored.

Another cause is unexpressed anger. Occasionally one will wake up, either screaming in anger or beating a pillow while dreaming of an inappropriate attack on a person to whom the anger is directed. The expression-identification of the anger often brings a temporary relief.

Anger may also rise from a sense of being “trapped” in circumstances or a relationship. That fear of loss of freedom can contribute to a rise in angry outbursts until the source is identified and acknowledged.

Theologians agree about some of these causes but describe them in different language. One word used in describing feeling anger is conviction. When one feels guilt about sin, anger toward God because of circumstances, or the failure to discover relief from the “penalty” of sinfulness, it might be described as “conviction.”

So, is there a cure for these maladies? Older theologians described their work in these realms as “the cure of souls.” In more contemporary languages, we might say therapy can help those willing to acknowledge a need. The process might be described as confession, remission or forgiveness. The result is the same: the person struggling with the deep angry feeling or distressed about a current relationship discovers release by acknowledging the reality of the thought process.

We might describe this process as A-B-C.

Admit would be to name the issue with which I struggle. I need help!

Believe involves trusting a therapist, a pastor, or God in acknowledging that I want help to overcome this condition. And,

Claim the joy of being forgiven, relieved by sharing the burden and discovering a new purpose in dealing with my issue.

Here’s a word Jesus spoke: “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

If you are tired of sleeplessness, try His invitation tonight!

Dr. James E. Kilgore retired as the president of the International Family Foundation Inc. and is a Canton resident.

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