About a week ago I had a vivid dream. I was driving down the Bothell hwy, toward Kenmore, where the highway passes Ballinger way and begins turning around the north side of the Lake Washington. The landscape was dismal because, in my dream there had been a flood a few days prior and although the road was clear, much of the pavement was washed out, and only its outline could be seen. I remember it being bleak, and the sky was overcast, and I kept wondering why no one was following the general line of the road, but driving more haphazardly close to the edge of the lake. Instead of following the road I just followed everyone else, and I remember being really unhappy about it.
I must have been traveling to a dinner party because my dream flashed from the road to a meeting in someone’s home. Specifically, I was being introduced to three people, two of which I have no memories, but the other was a tall younger man, with long hair pulled into a ponytail and he had an earthy appearance. He looked straight at me and the first thing he said, “You don’t fear God,” to which I shocked and offended, replied, “Yes I do, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” In my dream our introduction really bothered me and I began wondering if, indeed I did not fear God.
Again, the dream flashed to a different scene, and I was sitting in the same house with friends and the new people I'd met, eating dinner. The earthy young man and a girl and another guy where arguing about what Colossians 3:1 says. They argued for about 20 minutes each trying to recite the verse, competing to be right. By the time the earthy guy was convinced he’d won the argument, I was infuriated. All of a sudden, I grabbed my plate and flung it like a Frisbee toward the small arguing group; it hit the wall and sent food sliding down to the carpet. Then, red in the face and shaking, I screamed, “I am so fucking mad at you! It’s not you It’s me, I am so mmmmaaaaddddddddd!”, and then I ran out, crying – upset at my own actions, for not being able to control myself and upset at the three people, especially the earthy guy, for not even attempting to look up the scripture.
From there, I ran to a park and cried, the sun had come out and by all accounts it looked like Spring outside. My brother-in-law Chris, came to me first and listened to me as I cried and expressed my sadness, shame and hurt over the situation and my actions. He listened to me and was kind. And then Jon, my husband’s good friend, who has also dealt with anger, approached me with tears in his eyes and gave me a big hug and told me it was okay, that sometimes it is hard to control your emotions. I was okay, forgiven and accepted despite my poor actions.
That was my dream.
What is real though, is that recently I’ve been having problems controlling my anger. I can go from zero to one hundred, emotionally, in an instant and its scary to know that my sinful nature can be so intense and hurtful. In those times I’ve felt helpless and unlovable. I’ve felt that perhaps it would be better if God didn’t love me, that perhaps what people say about just trying to survive is really the only way.
But those are lies, they aren’t true.
I finally did look up Colossians 3:1. This is what it says:
"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God."
See, over the last six months I’ve been challenged, by some amazing women, to believe in God’s sovereignty and trust in his plan for my life, but I’ve been really struggling as I single-handedly try controlling my circumstances and the future of me and my husband. I’ve believed the lie that if my life is this way, or that way (like following the other people traveling near the edge of the Lake), my life will be filled with joy.
The truth is, I’ve been holding onto some deep seated desires that while not wrong, are becoming an idol, not allowing God to work as the awesome, amazing God he is. I’ve tried to throw him in at the last minute like trying to salt meat after it has been cooked. If you add salt before you cook meat it brings out the natural flavor and juices, but adding salt once meat is cooked just makes it taste salty.
It seems that my fear of God has been locked in a closet, and left to linger in my heart room are all my worries, anxieties and fears. These were controlling me, and I was not able to control my anger, a direct product of not “seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right had of God.” In Colossians three, verse five through ten, Paul directly writes about idolatry:
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
While the earthy guy in my dream wasn't perfect. He reminded me of what I'm like, trying to understand God's sovereignty when, truthfully, I've been so unwilling to look into his precious word. Perhaps when I screamed about being angry and said, "Its not you, its me," the holy spirit was calling me, chastising me to come to God through the scriptures.
And then of course, the conclusion of my dream where Chris and Jon were so kind and forgiving to me, is also echoed in Colossians 3: 11-14
Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Yet, my story isn't completed. This weekend I had a deep and wonderful, real life experience where I was able to experience what Colossians 3:16-17 says:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Last Friday I was spontaneously invited by my friend Kate to attend a women's retreat in Suncadia, a resort in the Cascade mountain range. Not only was I invited, but my boss allowed me to leave early from work and someone else paid a scholarship for me.
Like the serene snow covered forests and mountains that surrounded the lodge, my heart was met by the Holy Spirit and through his love that flows in so many of the women that attend Mars Hill. I was challenged again, to seek God in his word, and to live and trust in his sovereignty. Words cannot describe my gratitude toward God for leading me to that place and giving me that great gift of spending time "singing Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" and being blessed by "teaching and admonishing" by Christian sisters.
So, the weekend is over and the dream has passed. Yet I can feel God calling me, and I remain humbled and grateful for God's perfect timing, my gratitude, awe and fear of the one God is being filled and charged. I am laying down my pride and picking up his word. And, as I read Col 3 again, I am back again, in a love affair with God.
I guess, Colossians 3 is dreamy.