Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In Our Dreams

This is a completely random blog post. But just hang on for the ride and please feel free to incorporate your thoughts into the comments section, as I’m very interested in what you think!

I’ve been having lots of dreams lately. Well, I’ll caveat that by saying that I’ve been remembering a lot of my dreams lately, at least for the few minutes immediately after I wake up. They have been very vivid, almost to the point of me waking up a little freaked out. Not because they are “bad” but because they are so vivid, that when I wake up, I have to familiarize myself with my surroundings and snap back into reality.

All I know from these dreams, is that I wake up wondering if any element of them are truth. As I type this blog, I don’t remember details of my dreams, but I know the general idea of them. They are dreams of hope, of wishes coming true, of things almost too good to believe, of unanswered prayers being answered. So here is the million dollar question:

Is the devil in our dreams? Can he get in there and control them?

I am serious about this inquiry. Part of me believes that the devil, Satan, the prince of power, whatever he might be called, is not allowed in our subconscious. It wouldn’t make sense, since he really tempts us by enabling us to make conscious choices. He knows us better than we know ourselves and can work with and against our minds for his good. It’s almost like being in our dreams would do no good because we don’t really make decisions in our dreams. I’d like to think that this is true. That only God is allowed in our dreams. That any message or feeling that comes about from our dreams is of God. Wouldn’t we have a great level of comfort knowing that?

The problem is, a big part of me thinks that the devil can get anywhere he wants. I know that God is omnipresent and sovereign. He is everywhere at all times and controls all things. But the devil gives Him a run for His money. The devil is right there, waiting for us to make conscious choices against the temptations that he throws at us. He tosses them at us all the time.

So, all of this has come up because I have been remembering my dreams lately. When I wake up, I’ve been faced with feelings that I thought I was done with. I thought I was past them. Or relationships that are over, but something in my dreams makes me wake up feeling something that I wasn’t expecting; perhaps hopeful, perhaps relief. Or I get a glimpse of the future: is it something to look forward to or something that I just humanly want?

Then there is the question of whether our dreams are controlled at all. Are they? Or do they just come about because of things that we have been experiencing lately? But didn’t God create our minds; conscious and subconscious? Does God (or the devil) use our dreams for or against us, or are they an untouchable little portion of our existence that nobody messes with but ourselves?

I haven’t done any “research” or Googled anything about this. It just makes me stop and think. What do you think? Is the devil in our dreams?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Slice of Humble Pie

I was stopped dead in my tracks the other day. I had been contemplating a huge decision in my life for weeks, and more specifically the days surrounding this big decision. I had created the “pros and cons” list of each option (as we are taught to do from a young age), had talked it through with several people to gain different perspectives and insight, prayed about it continuously, and most certainly over-analyzed the situation. But you really can’t fault me for doing all of this. It was a life-changing decision after all.

And then as I was cruising along minding my own business and thinking that I’ve done everything humanly possible to come to the right decision, the arms of the railroad crossing came slamming down and stopped me dead in my tracks. No joke.

I had done everything humanly possible to make this decision. But I needed to forget the human element and listen to God. “Ok God, you’ve got my attention. What’s up?”

He served me a slice of humble pie, and I didn’t even know I was hungry. You see, I’m a smart woman, I’m well-educated, I have a good job, I’ve done well for myself, and I count the people in my life as absolute treasures. But I didn’t get to this place on my own. I am blessed, and I know that. And I know that He has showered me with these blessings.

As I’m thinking about all of these things, and the impending decision to be made, my slice of humble pie looked something like this:

“Lisa, you might own a house, you might own a car, you might have a good salary, you might have the ability to travel the world, and you might be able to indulge that shoe habit of yours (and the necessary pedicures to show off the toes!), but in the end, none of those things matter. No matter what you are doing, no matter where you are going, no matter what opportunities are afforded you, you are to glorify Me. And if you glorify Me, then none of that other stuff matters. In all things, first glorify Me.”

Ok, so I’m now eating my slice of humble pie. And believe it or not, it’s quite tasty. And guess what? That huge decision that I needed to make? It became a lot less stressful, a lot less important, a lot less life-changing. Sure, it means that my life will look different day-to-day. I’ll have new opportunities and I’ll meet new people in my life. But one thing won’t change: God’s faithfulness to me, and my faithfulness to Him.

I’ve been thinking a lot about humility lately. In my profession, I’m surrounded by a lot of people who make a lot of money. Most of them drive fancy cars, have fancy houses, dress in fancy clothes, and my personal observation is that most of them derive a lot of their self worth from those things and that status. I’ve always aimed to NOT become one of those people. I don’t talk about my salary with anyone and I don’t discuss bonuses. I keep those things to myself. I live modestly (albeit with a few indulgences). It’s nobody else’s business, and it does not define who I am. It does not make me better, or worse, than the person beside me.

The Bible talks a lot about humility, about being humble before God. It’s a nice reminder of how we are supposed to live our lives (all NIV):

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. – 1 Peter 5:5-6

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way. – Psalm 25:9

Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up. – James 4:10

And I don’t want to restrict this slice of humble pie to this big decision that I have made. It applies in so many aspects of my life, and in yours. It’s so easy to get caught up in the things in life that we deal with on a continual basis – material things, petty things. The types of things that we look back on years later once we’ve “grown up” and become wiser, and wonder what the heck we were thinking.

When I really take a step back and look at my life, I am truly humbled. I will continue to first glorify my God, and then I know that everything else will fall into place. Maybe not how I imagined, but it’ll be there. Right where it was meant to me. And I’ll be in a better place in my life, and on occasion, God will likely serve me up another slice of humble pie as a friendly reminder. And I’ll happily gobble up every last morsel.