I do not over-spiritualize my dreams. I’ve always had an overactive imagination, lending to vivid dreams ever since I was a kid. Most of them are pure nonsense.
I don’t try to interpret them. I don’t scour them looking for symbols. If they amuse me, sometimes I’ll write them down. But sometimes, I have really sweet dreams that just remind me–I’m okay.
Yesterday afternoon, I struggled. I felt shame and guilt and I thought, “What on earth is so good about me?” I told God, “I need to know I’m not messing everything up, because I feel like I am.”
Before I went to bed last night, I journaled. I wrote:
It seems selfish to look at your love for the world and ask, “But what about me?” But is it not more selfish to look at your love and say you love everyone in the world but me?
Is it so wrong to ask you to show me the way you love me?
Show me your love.
And I closed my journal and went to sleep.
I wish I could say the dream was perfect, like a heavenly vision clearly laid out. But there was some weirdness and randomness in there. There are parts I don’t remember well. They are hazy and vague. Somehow I ended up driving on the wrong side of the highway trying to find the right on-ramp when I just decided to cut across the grass and get on the proper side. All the dream interpreters can probably have a heyday with that one.
But there was a small part. It’s a little hazy, but there are details I remember clearly.
I’m standing in front of this vast array of woods. There’s a man standing beside me. He’s young, good looking, and he’s wearing a necklace with a cross on it. (LOL). We’re looking at these woods together when he tells me to run.
“Why?” I asked him.
He nods towards the woods. “Just run. As fast as you can. Just run through the woods.”
“Well, where am I going?”
“What am I supposed to do once I start running?”
I’m getting more and more frustrated. The whole thing seems crazy. I feel anxiety–feel it in the pit of my stomach where I feel everything else. I’m staring at the woods. I cannot even bear the thought of me just simply running through these woods. How embarrassing would that be? To just run. I need a purpose, I need a plan, I need a destination.
It’s clear, just running through woods is something Lauren does not do. It seems so foreign to me, the concept of it elusive. I realize: this just isn’t me. This isn’t something I do. This is embarrassing and uncomfortable.
I look at the guy. “But what if I get lost?”
He smiled. “I will find you.”
Apparently, that seemed stupid to me because I asked him again. “But what if I get lost?”
“I’ll find you. Don’t worry about that. I know these woods. If you get lost, just stay where you are and I’ll find you. Stop thinking so much and just run.”
So I start speed-walking. I’m grumbling. I feel embarrassed. This whole thing feels stupid. I am not enjoying it. But then I realize that I have nothing left to lose and I just start running.
Hard and fast, guided only by intuition. If I felt like turning right, I turned right. Since I didn’t have a specific destination, I didn’t worry. I didn’t worry about getting lost, either, because I knew the guy would find me if I did. I just ran. I went as fast as I could. Running, running, running. Through the woods, past waterfalls. Running.
There was only word to describe what it felt like: freedom.
I woke up with peace with one thought on my mind: I am made for freedom.
I wrote in my journal: Your love makes me free.
So does God show up in dreams, dressed up in flannel shirts and a cross necklace? Maybe.
I realize–I grieve my mistakes only because they put me farther from God’s mercy.
But what if God isn’t a destination–what if he is the woods?
What if I am not running to get to him, but I’m just running in him? How would that change my perspective of my mistakes (which I do make–a lot)?
In the Bible, Paul talks about running the race with endurance. What might it look like if we realized that we run the race in God and not to God?
I think there is only one word to describe what that would be like:
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
Slavery says, “You’ll never get this right.”
Slavery says, “You are going to mess this up.”
Slavery says, “Watch it. You’ll get lost.”
Slavery says, “Work, work, work.”
Freedom says, “Run.”
Freedom says, “I know where you are.”
Freedom says, “Just be.”
I get to learn from mistakes. I get to watch God work in them. But I do not have to worry about them pushing me away from him. Because I’m not trying to get to God. I’m in him. I can’t mess this up. He loves me. And I am free.