Small fact about my life… I love dreams. I love experiencing them, I love remembering them and being shocked at what just happened. I love retelling them to friends when they make guest appearances. My dreams tend to be epic: drastic rescues, sweeping story lines and secret-agent-style moves. They rock. And since I can count the number of nightmares I’ve had on one hand, I think of dreams fondly.
Except lately. For a few nights this last week, my dreams were awful. Not while I was asleep- while I was in dreamland, I was having a grand ol’ time, oblivious. But then… I have never experienced such a funk upon waking. One day I was stuck in a damp emotional cloud for about 6 hours. And I hated it.
Something about the dreams, different as they were (and as random as the storylines can be), all triggered something that made me 1) feel as if I had been denied something, 2) remember past failures, insecurities and doubts, and 3) experience a shadow of impossibility crossing over some of my hopes and dreams, making them seem unlikely at best.
I definitely need to know about and recognize and work out the underlying problem behind why those dreams made me feel that way with Jesus, because there are some lies and some questions they bring up that I shouldn’t ignore. It’s worth hashing out for the sake of fighting against anything that could be a barrier between me and a true, clear picture of Jesus. What freedom and truth could I be experiencing, but am passing up because I let these things fester in corners? What ideas about God’s character are falsely cluttering up my idea of how great my God truly is?
But the thing that made me really annoyed was the fact that the trigger wasn’t even real. It wasn’t part of my actual life. These things that I experienced in dreamland do not have power or control or even a foothold in reality, until I allow them to. They are not my actual situation, they are not my true reality.
Lately, I had a chance to study a little bit about joy. And I was blown away by what I found… and specifically, there was one quote in particular that I can’t seem to get out of my mind.
“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to realize how good things really are” – Marianne Williams
Now, I’m not making a statement about Marianne. I know very little about her, other than that other quote of hers that was read aloud by a little girl in a movie about a spelling bee. But I randomly found this sentence, and it’s so dang good, because of Jesus.
Joy comes from reality. From realizing reality.
What is my reality?
– Redeemed. Loved. Rescued. Delighted in. Restored. Liked.
– FOREVER SECURE. Headed for eternity. Moving at breakneck speed towards the day that all sad things coming untrue.
– Destined to be presented complete before my Lord, no longer lacking anything or feeling the effects of sin.
My reality is that I am loved ferociously by a mighty God who cares infinitely about me while I am breathing on this earth, and then will welcome me into mind-blowing bliss once I stop.
My reality is not my failures, or my shortcomings, or my mistakes. Because of Christ, reality is not monotony or hopelessness or abandonment – EVER. And that is joy invincible– not that everything at this moment is easy or comfortable or arranged according to my own “brilliant” plans, but that what is really real for me is untouchable and frickin awesome. Regardless of the finite crap around me, in this moment and every moment to come, I have it really, really good.
I’m still a baby in this – in letting infinite reality win over hard finites.
How good things really are: I was dead, and He made me alive. I was lost, now I’m found. I had no hope, now I have hope for even my greatest fears. I was tangled in sin without any way out, He cut the cords.
How good things really are just comes back to a fact that is often tossed around flippantly and sounds simple and small but has enough power behind it to shatter the earth: Jesus loves me.
So, things are pretty dang good. And realizing more and more how good it is is a torrent of joy that triumphs over anything that threatens me.
Grateful for the cross, for the epic display of His love with which he proved my worth to Him.
Grateful that He conquers- even over my dreams and the sucky emotions they bring. They are not my reality – my celebrated adoption into His family is my reality.
Grateful that “how good things really are” is actually “how epically, tremendously and overwhelmingly incredible things are”.