August 7, 2012

What to do with bad dreams

Sometimes I remember dreams, at least until breakfast. Normally they are not remembered, but most of those recalled are outlandishly funny. Sometimes I wake myself up because I am laughing aloud. 
However, one dream repeats itself every few months, with variations, and it bothers me because it does not fit with who I am when I am awake. I had this dream last night and woke up asking God to speak to me about it. How do I deal with what seems to be out of my control? The dream isn’t overtly sinful, but my bad attitude in the dream makes me feel as if I am doing something wrong. These verses from today’s devotional reading speak to my heart.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Hebrews 12:1–4)
The answer to every problem, every question about spiritual life and even the meaning of troubling dreams is always Jesus. I can see that part of my dream is about my deepest desire to know Him better. That is a good thing. I can also see that my bad attitude in the dream is to be laid aside. Instead of dwelling on it, I’m to get back into the race with my eyes on the finish line — on Jesus who is the Perfecter of my faith. He faced far worse than I will ever need to endure, and set the example by keeping His focus on the joy of victory, not on the frustration of His struggle against sin. 

Phillips Brooks writes this: “Think… of anything that you are doing that is wrong, of any habit of your life, of your self-indulgence, or of that great, pervasive habit of your life which makes you a creature of the present instead of the eternities, a creature of the material earth instead of the glorious skies. Ask yourself of any habit that belongs to your own personal life, and bring it face to face with Jesus Christ.” 

He is right. No matter what is bugging me, dreams or otherwise, some glad morning I will wake to face my Savior and everything in this life will fade to nothing. For the joy set before me, I press on!

Jesus, do I confess bad dreams? Or am I not responsible for them because my awake mind cannot make them happen nor change their content? I can confess that some of the attitudes in my dreams may be lurking in me while I am awake. I can also confess a good thing, that I am eager to see Your face. Until I do, draw me near and keep my eyes focused on You.

No comments: