Have you ever read a passage or verse in the Bible and started to meditate on it, then have the Lord stop you short and give you a completely different message than what you first thought? That’s what happened to me this morning. I’ve just started the Old Testament book of Micah, and verse one of chapter two spoke to me:

“Woe to those who plan iniquity,
    to those who plot evil on their beds!
At morning’s light they carry it out
    because it is in their power to do it” (Micah 2:1, NIV).

I began to respond in my journal. I was thinking how easy it is to do the wrong thing when we have the power (or ability) to do it, whether it’s getting back at someone who has wronged us, stealing, lying and so much more. But just as I put pen to paper God spoke to my spirit.

You may not be planning evil, my child—coming up with wicked plots to hurt others. I know you want to please Me. But when you lay in your bed at night and allow worry, discouragement, or anger to fill your mind, that is what you will speak and act on in the light of day. When you say disparaging things about yourself, and beat yourself up instead of speaking promises from My Word, you wallow in self-defeat. And that depletes the confidence I want you to have in Me. Instead, memorize and repeat My truths of comfort, instruction, and encouragement that will energize you for the next day.

My heart did a double take!

I don’t know if you’re like me, and it takes your brain a while to settle before you can sink into blissful sleep. But my mind bounces all over the place—reviewing (analyzing) how I did that day, praying for those who need Jesus, or are struggling; the hurting, the confused, and the angry. In the dark, as exhaustion sets in, my focus is not always on how big God is to meet these needs, but how big these problems seem to be. And this diminishes my faith.

Through this one little verse, God challenged me to start a new bedtime ritual. Micah spoke these words to call God’s people to repentance; they really were plotting and planning evil! But for Jesus followers who truly want to live victoriously for Him, I’ve stated it in positive terms:

Blessed are those who plan to hope and trust in God,
    who strategize how to show His love to others as they lay on their beds!
At morning’s light they will begin to speak and act on those thoughts,
    because He will work through them by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is what I want to focus on as I drift off to sleep each night—hope, faithfulness, love, forgiveness, truth, victory, and a life of joy in Christ, even when circumstances feel dark and confusing.

Each of us prepare our minds for the day ahead by what we focus on as we drift off to sleep. What is your nighttime ritual? Is God calling you to make a change?