Monday, May 5, 2008

A mini crocodile and a purple lizard

When I sleep, I dream...a lot! Good dreams, bad dreams, weird dreams. No matter what kind of dream, it is always vivid. Along with these dreams, I also have dreams from the Lord. Usually it is really obvious which dream is from God and which dream is from my own crazy mind. The dream I had a couple of weeks ago wasn't so obvious.

The Dream

I was walking through a neighborhood headed for home. As I was about to cross the street I noticed there was a big puddle in the middle of the street. Splashing in the puddle there was a mini croc chasing its prey. It was running super fast in circles, snapping its jaws nonstop, trying to catch its victim. I didn't really think anything of it (because crocs in suburbia is normal?!) and decided just to walk around the puddle to continue on my way. As soon as I got close enough, the mini croc saw me and decided that I was much bigger and better than its current victim. Thus, it started chasing me, snapping with all of its might. I began to run, doing zig zag formations, jumping, anything to avoid being caught. After doing this for awhile, I turned around to look at this thing that had frightened me so much, only to discover that it had turned into a tiny purple lizard. It was still snapping its jaws at me, but now they were so small that even if it did catch me I probably wouldn't have felt a thing. I was relieved. Then I woke up.

Ok, not so obvious. This totally could have been just another crazy Sarah dream or some life changing message from the Lord. Because it wasn't obvious to me, I wasn't about to try and make something out of a possible nothing. So I went about my week.

Then along came a Saturday. A good day for the first hour or so...

Thoughts began to crowd my mind. Doubts. Uncertainty. Fears. The enemy began taking truths and twisting them just enough to fill me with turmoil. And he knew they would be hard to combat because the thoughts were based on facts. It came on so quickly I didn't even realize what had hit me. By the time I did, it was too late. My strength was sapped. Logic was overtaken by emotion. I was helpless. After I finished getting ready, I came downstairs and started crying, ruining the makeup I had just finished putting on. Matt became my listening ear. "I feel lonely. I feel rejected. How come everyone else seems to have that one or two really close friend/s that they do everything with and I don't? I know I have a lot of friends...and friends I can go to if I really need something, but no one that I'm super tight with. I feel like I'm the only one who doesn't have that. What's wrong with me? This is just like high school. I was everyones friend, but no ones close friend. Am I not good enough to be someones close friend? How come no one desires a friendship like that with me? I feel rejected." I know, it sounds sad and pathetic and totally out there, but emotions were in complete control, along with the enemies lies. My poor husband was trying to understand, but he honestly couldn't understand why I was feeling this way. After comforting me, his man-thinking skills kicked in to high gear. "Do you really need a friend or a friendship like that? You have friends that you can do stuff with and you have friends that you can be vulnerable with. Isn't what your asking for unrealistic?" Logic, logic, logic. I heard him, but I didn't really hear him. C'mon ladies, how many of you really listen to reason when your emotions are running high? I was grateful for his effort, but I didn't feel any better. After stewing with these emotions for awhile it started to turn into bitterness. Knowing that we were going to a BBQ (courtesy of the Moseleys) later that day (which I tried to get out of, but Matt wouldn't let me), I began to go into self-protection mode; I put on my social mask I hadn't worn in a few years thanks to the Lord's healing. But here I was again with this old familiar companion, my wall to keep others from rejecting me and hurting me. It was awkward. Those were 2 of the longest hours, ever. I didn't know how to act; I didn't know who to be. My foundational thought was once again, "Well, I'm obviously not good enough so I'll be who they want me to be." But I couldn't figure out who they wanted me to be or how they wanted me to act. Because I had been free of this foundational thought for a few years now, and had good practice at just being myself, I had lost the ability to mold into what I thought people wanted. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to be rid of this so-called ability, but at the time it just caused more anxiety.

So when we got home from the BBQ, I was filled with so much anxiety, bitterness, and rejection that I headed straight for the gym to work it out. They were closed. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I came home even more frustrated. I felt like something was on me and I just wanted it gone. Matt says, "Just pray and rebuke it." Duh, right? I was so beaten down that I didn't even want to pray. I asked him to. I fought to even close my eyes, but then I did.

As he was praying the Lord reminded me of my dream. He began to interpret it. Me going home meant that I am on my way to becoming the complete person He made me to be; to be completely whole in Him. Of course, I won't be there until I die, but I'm on my journey nonetheless. The mini crocodile chasing it's prey is something that has been attacking our church body. For whatever reason he thought I would be a more satisfying catch and started after me. At this point, the Lord began speaking to Matt about forgiveness, grace, and mercy; that we should always show these to our friends and to our enemies. That no matter if what we are perceiving really is true or not, if we show these things the enemy cannot get a foothold, in our minds and in our relationships. The Lord showed me that my maneuvers to get away from the crocodile was what made it shrink into a tiny purple lizard with no power in its bite. These maneuvers were forgiveness, grace, and mercy. The Lord spoke to us both simultaneously, that this wasn't something to be rebuked, but our actions give it nothing to hold onto and therefore shrinks into nothing and leaves.

Wow, so whether what I'm perceiving about everyone else's friendships are true or not, and whether people really are rejecting me or not, I still must show forgiveness, grace, and mercy (even if there is nothing to forgive because it's about my heart, not theirs). It wasn't instant emotional relief, but I was back to myself (the more-like-Christ version of myself) in no time. Except this time I was truly free from my past. I was feeling strong and empowered. I couldn't believe that God had used me to rid our body of something like this (and I just mean this specific little creature; I know these thoughts and attacks will always come at us).

I couldn't wait to start sharing this with others. So I did. The response was surprising (which I'm not sure why!) . First of all, people's perception of me was radically different from my own. Secondly, I couldn't believe how many others were struggling with the same thing. The enemy was trying to keep us from each other; to keep us isolated; to keep us feeling alone, unwanted and unloved. He was telling us that we are the only ones, because...look...everyone else has their close one needs you. I'm done! I will listen to this lie no more. I am loved. I am wanted. No one is rejecting me. I am good enough. I do have something to offer. And when the real issues arise, let's be honest with each other; let's talk about it openly where God's light will shine on the situation. If we keep it in the dark then the enemy will come in and hide and we won't see it until it's blown out of proportion. We all have a place here. We are all wanted. We are all needed. We are all loved!

So that's latest life changing, God experience. Please know that I didn't write this because I need affirmation. I'm confident. God has given me that. I just hope that this experience of mine will encourage you in whatever way needed. We are a family. I know this in my head, but I'm ready to start feeling it in my heart!

After this experience, I was reading in Romans and BAM...there it was...scripture to back it up. I'll put it down below if you want to read it.

P.S. I apologize to all of you that were at the BBQ that day. If I seemed weird, awkward, closed off, or cold, now you know had nothing to do with you!

Romans 12

1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
“I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,” says the Lord.
20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”
21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.


Becky Moseley said...

Sarah, I have to say that was one of the best conversations I've had in a long time. Thank you for sharing your dream with me a couple weeks ago, as it's really changed my thought process in a couple different areas. You are so wise, and I value each "Sarah fix" I'm fortunate enough to have. So from one "popular" girl to another, I freakin' love you.

Amy said...

You are an amazing writer. This blog made me smile. I'm not the only one who has high school like insecurities when it comes to friends. I will be calling you.

Rosetta Borgic said...

Keep it coming, sister. You change this dark world, one woman and one lie at a time.
I love you.

Rachael Reuther said...

Reading this ment so much to me I really stuggled this weekend with lies I let Satan hold over me, and reading your story really hit home thank lyou so much for sharing it with all of us and blessing us with it, I wish I was as good with words as you are to put my feelings on paper to explain how I felt reading this but please know how much I appriciated this dream.