From a collection of "100 Nighttime Devotions to Soothe Your Mind and Rest Your Spirit"
Posted in , Mar 4, 2022
Maybe it’s been a long time since anyone tucked you under the covers at night and blessed you with a gentle kiss. But you can revive such sweet bedtime moments with a new Guideposts devotional, Evenings with Jesus: 100 Nighttime Devotions to Soothe Your Mind and Rest Your Spirit. I was delighted to be among the writers who were asked to contribute to this collection that identifies and categorizes entries into seven elements that are integral to spiritual well being: Connection, Gratitude, Forgiveness, Positivity, Purpose, Rest, and Values. Here’s one of my contributions called “My Charging Station”:
MATTHEW 11:28 (NIV)
Throughout my adult life I’ve had trouble falling asleep at night. Sometimes I can attribute this problem to external circumstances. A neighbor’s barking dog. The pop and bang of fireworks. Or, when I’m traveling, unfamiliar beds, pillows, and heating or air-conditioning units throw off my ability to settle down to sleep. Sometimes, however, the source of my sleeplessness is internal. Maybe I’m anticipating an early morning flight or important appointment the next day. Or perhaps I’ve got leftover adrenaline after watching a late-night baseball game.
I’ve tried many things to improve my sleep habits. I’ve reduced my caffeine intake, added a cup of hot chamomile tea to my evening routine, and refrained from using my computer, or any screen for that matter, after dinner. Those may have had some impact, but one part of my going-to-bed routine has been much more beneficial.
I started my bedtime preparations one night in much the same way as I always did, walking to my nightstand and plugging in all my devices so they’d charge overnight. But, in that perfectly ordinary moment, I had an epiphany. Whether I’m in my own bedroom, a hotel room, or somewhere else, I connect my devices to the power source that will enable them to begin the next day fully recharged. But what I’d lost sight of is that my mind and heart require something similar every night. A connection. Not to electricity, but to something—or, rather, to Someone.
When Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NIV), He invites us to become His followers and to learn from Him. He continues: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30, NIV).
But what if that invitation applies also to those of us who have already become His followers? What if He’s extending a daily offer to us to keep us charged? What if I understood my personal connection with Jesus to be like a recharging station—a nightly habit that is indispensable if I want to get the rest I need?
I’ve long made Bible reading and prayer a regular part of my evening routine, but I must admit at times it’s been, well, routine. Yet I’ve come to understand that it’s not my effort that fosters rest; it’s the coming, the connection, the spark, the flow of mercy, love, and grace from Jesus to me that quiets my mind, calms my heart, and soothes my soul.
Since that realization, I do my best to make sure that, first and foremost, my evening routine includes connecting with Jesus. It may happen through singing a hymn or from a Gospel reading. It may spring from a tender poem or devotional essay. It’s sometimes unplanned and unexpected, but it never fails to bring rest, fulfilling the promise, “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint” (Jeremiah 31:25 NIV).
Jesus, night after night, You promise to release me from the weights and burdens of the day. Tonight, I come to You with gratitude, trusting that You recharge my heart, mind, and soul through this night, as I repose in Your embrace.
Similar in format and tone to Guideposts’ popular Mornings with Jesus devotionals, Evenings with Jesus is designed to send you to sleep, reposing and recharging in God’s embrace.