How am I holding up? The question came in a friend’s Facebook post.
Some days are harder than others, which is evident from the difficulty I have had writing this latest post for my blog. I have started it, and reworked it, and restarted it again. And again.
I miss being with my family and friends; I miss hugging them. There is unrest and uncertainty. People are divided (sometimes vehemently) over wearing masks and safe distancing and the severity of the virus. Many wish we could just go back to normal. I thought I was handling it OK because I have my faith in Jesus, and He provides the measure of peace I find in this storm.
About a week ago I had a dream that showed I was more stressed and less settled than I tried to convince myself.
In the dream I found myself in the lobby of a bar of a hotel. There were a lot of people there with me, and we were all on top of the bar and tables. White wolves leapt up and snapped at people, and nobody (including me) was doing anything except recoiling in fear, wincing or crying. I realized I had to act. I found a knife on the table and when a wolf jumped up, I jammed the knife into it and twisted until it stopped moving. I kicked it to the ground. I started fighting the wolves and they fled down a hallway and out a door. I pushed the door open and stepped out into a dark, cold, and barren landscape. I could see the wolves fleeing over a hill, so I pursued. By the time I reached the top of the hill the wolves were nowhere to be seen. I stopped and slowly scanned all directions. Nothing. I turned and walked back toward the doorway I had recently come through. It struck me that I had been drawn away. Even in the dream, I knew I was dreaming and wondered what it meant. When I awoke, I asked the Lord to reveal the dream’s meaning.
Over the next couple of days, as I thought and prayed, some things unfolded. The danger had been real. Though I was scared, I had eventually stood against, fought, and chased off the wolves; I had pursued them, but then lost them. The Lord revealed that although I had protected people, I then kept my focus on the enemy instead of standing with people, caring for them, and pointing them to safety – the safety and hope of Jesus.
While writing this piece, God revealed something more: the frightened people also represented a part of me. Is that what I’m doing, Lord? I asked. Am I drawing back in fear of doing or saying the wrong things and failing to act?! The thought hit me like a punch in the gut. Guilt rose like bile in my throat.
Is that what Jesus died for? So that I could live a life of complacency?!
But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Exodus 9:16
I swallowed hard and hit my knees. My earnest plea from deep inside: No, Lord, do not let me take for granted the life You gave! If normal is a place of complacency, I do not want to go back there. Show me the place inside willing to stand for doing what is right, rather than hiding in a comfortable faith and life, to serve others first, to choose God over me, and to focus on Him. In Him lies my strength, my peace, and my hope. Jesus is my rest and certainty on all days; He is the firm foundation on which I rise and take my stand.