Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows


Do you ever have nights when you can’t get to sleep, no matter how hard you try?  I do.  After yawning my head off all evening, I’ll go up to bed, and close my eyes, expectant of sleep.  Only to have my mind suddenly wake up, rushing from one thought to another:  from planning household chores for the next day to going over past situations, to praying into future ministry opportunities, to pondering tasks on my work ‘to do’ list.  I toss and turn, get up and go to the bathroom, come back to bed and try to settle down, but nothing works.  I used to go downstairs for a cup of tea, which can work, except I would get buried in whichever book I was reading at the time and end up not going back to bed until three in the morning.  Not a great way to get a good night’s sleep!

Over the last couple of years, whenever I’ve been afflicted with a sleepless night, I’ve tried going through the alphabet to find a name or characteristic for God for each letter.  I try to find a different one each time, although that can be tricky depending on the letter.  ‘Q’ is a nightmare….  I always started at ‘A’ and worked my way to the end, and found by the middle of the alphabet I’d drifted off into the land of nod, feeling happy and peaceful inside because I’d been meditating on God.  Recently, I decided to start at the opposite end of the alphabet.  That was tough.  I couldn’t think of any attributes or names of God beginning with ‘Z’ or ‘X’.  I had to get creative.

The next time you can’t get off to sleep, can I recommend my alphabet game?  It works every time for me and I never get beyond the middle of the alphabet before I drop off to sleep.  Could it be that the great enemy of our souls hates us to meditate on our wonderful and glorious God?

And I challenge you to come up with your own names or attributes for God beginning with ‘Z’, ‘X’ and ‘Q’.  Let me know what you come up with, and I’ll share what I’ve thought of!

Image used courtesy of shutterstock images at


  1. Great idea, although I rarely have trouble sleeping – more the opposite. How about zealous for the Zs?

    • Mandy

      23/01/2013 at 11:44 am

      That’s a great one, Mariane! I used ‘Z for Zebedee’s God’! I prefer ‘zealous’.

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