"I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast towards you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you, you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Hey family (; I know this post is on the longer side, but I really encourage you to read through it (and I promise it won't be boring!).
Early this morning (I wrote this on the 10th), as I was having my devotion, I started to pray. I had been praying for maybe fifteenish minutes when my back started hurting, and so I lay down and continued to pray. Yea…I don't recommend doing this. My bed felt especially comfy today and before I knew it, I was sound asleep…
But as I was sleeping, I had this dream:
Me and two of my friends are inside my church, minding our own business and that stuff when suddenly someone comes running to us, yelling at me to hide because a mob was coming to get me specifically. Frantic, we race into a lil corner that was somewhat sealed off from the hallway, where they are coming. My heart's racing fast as I hear the yells and the footsteps coming closer.
"What do we do, what to we do?" I ask my two friends.
"Here, take this straw and cup - " orders the older of my friends. "And dig into that wall right there. We'll crawl in and be safe."
And so, my other friend takes the cup and the straw and starts digging into the wall with it (don't laugh, please xD). And it's working. The hole starts getting bigger, and bigger. But then suddenly he drops the cup and the straw, and when he picks it up, he can't find the hole he just made, which had been only large enough for maybe half my head to fit in. I whisper at him frantically, trying to push him to keep trying, but the hole is gone and the wall is no longer breakable. I'm sweating now, and we're all frantic and scared. The mob is racing around and around where our little corner is, and it's a miracle they haven't seen us yet!
I can't completely remember what happens next, but my two friends are crazzyyyy scared and clawing at the wall, and I'm kinda scared too, but at the same time, I'm kind of like whaa? This mob can't do anything to us. But the danger is very real. I'm trying to think of how we get out of this alive and what kind of strategy we can use when the mob finally spots us.
I think I ran away at some point, and found a safe spot, but my two friends were still in the corner. But by the time I'm safe, my friends are not. The mob has found them. There's like maybe fifty of them - and this isn't a big hallway - it's small.
And then I decide to look at the mob so I can see what I'm facing. I have to save my friends, somehow. I peek around the corner, and I gasp.
It's kids. It's all of my young friends from various places. I know these people, and they know me! Surprised, I run over, smiling, as they rush at me. Before they can do anything to me, though, I say,
"Hey, guys! What's up? I know youu!"
It's so cool to see how quickly recognition falls over their faces. They stop "attacking" my two friends and soon we're all laughing and playing together - friends and on the same side.
When I woke up from my lil nap, my first thought was, "Ughhh I fell asleep again!" But my second thought was, "Heyy…wait a second, I can use this dream! Thank you, God!" I don't know, maybe God speaks to me through dreams!
This dream deeply reminded me of conflict, and how I - we - tend to fight it. In my dream, it starts off with me and my friends being warned of something dangerous coming, something that we should avoid. Without checking, we run and set up our defense.
Oftentimes in life, we are quick to assume stuff about other people. We assume that they hate us, are against us, and are out to get us. We assume that they don't care about us anymore and don't want to be friends. We assume lots of things!! And most of the time, we assume without double-checking. We assume, and then we believe. And as a response, we run away from that so-called conflict (and yes, sometimes they are real, too!) and start defending ourselves, thinking that we're now enemies.
Secondly, in the dream, my friend told my other friend to start clawing at the wall with a plastic cup and a straw (like the kind that you get at Starbucks that you throw away after) Have you ever tried that? I mean, I know some dudes at Alcatraz like escaped with just spoons. But we ain't no talented con artist or anything, we just kids! And I hate to break it to you, but realistically… a cup and a straw will probably never be able to dig a hole in a sturdy church wall. But we believed that this was a legitimate weapon, and so we used it. And it worked - until it didn't. When it stopped working, I ran and found a safer spot, leaving my friends behind.
It's kind of a natural human response to put up a defense as soon as trouble comes at us. And oftentimes, the things we defend ourselves with can be kind of silly. The this-doesn't-make-sense-to-use kind. But somehow, it works - for a little while, but ultimately, this defense is breakable. This defense will fail at one point. Remember, too, that the defenses and the walls that people may have put up against you aren't unbreakable. They're not too far gone, so don't give up on them!
And when the defense stops working, we run, thinking only of ourselves. For me, this is my big default. If there's a problem, I run. I try to convince myself that it's nothing. I try to make up excuses, distract myself with other thoughts, cover it up with something. This is what I so often do - especially when it's actually a problem problem. Instead of facing it, I cover it up and I runnn.
Let me just tell you this - running from a problem will never solve anything. A few years ago, my sister and I were listening to some stress relief songs late at night, hoping it would help us fall asleep. "Stress-relief" - haha. There was this one song, I think it had like rain sounds and also a lot of stringed instruments, and it was reaaallyyyy creepy at night. My sister and I start low-key screaming, and my heart is beating loudly. All these images are coming into my head and I'm like aaaahhh help me!! And so, instinctively, I cover my ears and shut my eyes. Now I can only hear the music very faintly, and it's not as scary - but that doesn't mean the problem is now gone. That doesn't mean the music stopped just because I covered my ears and closed my eyes. At some point, I'm going to have to face the creepy stress-creating music because I can't cover my ears forever!!
Similarly, if you don't face a problem but merely turn away from it, cover your ears and pretend it's not there, it'll come up again. You're going to have to face it at some point, and running from it won't fix it. It's still there. And eventually, I did face the music - by racing down the bunk-bed ladder screaming, trying to drown out the sound, and man did I shut that thing off hard and fast! I don't think we ever listened to music again while trying to fall asleep xDD.
And lastly, we forget that we are all on the same side. When I finally peeked around the corner, I discovered that these people were my friends - they just got a lil carried away. Once we got that cleared up and remembered that we were fighting on the same side, everything changed. Our perspectives toward each other were realigned and adjusted. And we were able to resolve. But in the thick of an argument, in the thick of your emotions and opinions, in the thick of your fear, we forget. All we can see is an enemy who is threatening something we treasure. And I'm not saying that that person is perfect and that they think perfectly about you. But we all get carried off sometimes, and need a lil reminding. Ephesians 6:12 says,
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic power over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."
Our true enemy is Satan. And he is extremely cunning - be on the lookout and stand firm.
And to clarify - I'm not saying that your problems are all fake and that you're just imagining this all. Some are very real! But some are based on assumptions and imagined and aren't worthy of your time. Face the problem in the face, face the true facts, evaluate, dig deeper - don’t let your initial thoughts kill your friendship or relationship! Don't run - and remember, we're all in this together. We're all on the same side.
"I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart;
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"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."