Running in circles and set on a rock

After almost a week of slogging through life as though partially immersed in a quagmire, this picture went through my mind when I lay in bed reflecting on the day.  I was running on a small, oval dirt track set in small, slightly unkempt grassy field.  Directly across from and facing each other on opposite long sides of the oval stood my Grandmother and my Mom; my racing feet were carving the elliptical pathway as I frantically sped round and round from one to the other.  Along with that image came interpretation.  I was surprised to find I was still living life trying to please them, torn by each one’s demand for loyalty, their extreme dislike of each other and the fear of losing either if I did not conform to their needs.  It was clear I would never reach my goals while continuing my hopeless circular journey.  I needed to break away from the gravitational pull that kept me in their orbit; then I would fly on a straight trajectory toward the dreams of my choice.

That visual then morphed into a slightly different take on the same theme.  The track changed to an old fashioned firefighter’s life net with my grandmother and mom holding either side.  As I sat in the middle, they jerked the rigid oval frame up and down making the inside canvas behave like a trampoline.  There I flopped and bounced at their whim, completely under their influence; the only thing I could do was feel nauseated, disoriented and miserable.  Again, understanding came.  At alternate times in my young life I experienced each as my safety net.  This was essential for me when they separately functioned as my care givers, but I no longer needed them in that capacity.  Now God is my safety net.  After this realization, I saw God reach for me and lift me from my unhealthy status and draw me to Himself.  Holding me close in an upright position, my feet and legs dangling, He hugged me and as though assimilated through osmosis, His power calmed me.  Gently and slowly He set my feet on the rock on which He stood.  My weak legs wanted to collapse, so He supported me, but I was sure the longer I stayed the stronger I would become.

I was reminded of Psalm 40:1-2:

“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”

I have long considered these my life verses (except for the waiting patiently part; that I have not done well).  Time and again I have experienced God lifting me “out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire”; always I assumed I was placed on the Rock.  I may have been.  But, I have never before been given a clear indication that it actually happened.  Now I know; it is done.  I am on the Rock.  And, I will learn how to stand.

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Taking it

The last couple of weeks have been a mish-mash of dreams, images, thoughts and feelings.  But, there is an underlying theme throughout which leads me to conclude God wants to free me from the need to be controlled by other people.  Here is a summary:

Within the last two weeks I have recorded 10 dreams; five of them seem to apply.  Here they are in very condensed versions: smearing my own poop on myself because someone else is defecating, agreeing to continue to work for a cause even though I perceived it as doomed, letting my escape plans be foiled by another’s ego, submitting to my grandmother and mother’s desires at the expense of my own and dragging my dad at my side trying to make him part of my fairly healthy life. 

After I awoke one morning following those dream filled nights, this image materialized in my mind’s eye.  A thick, shiny metal rod, similar to the hook on a padlock, was hanging around my neck.  To it was attached a large, rectangular steel plate covering my torso.  The plate’s back was embedded in my body; the front was exposed to the world.  People hit it, kicked it and beat on it.  With head bowed, I took it.  I stood stiffly as my body absorbed the blows.  (This is particularly interesting because I have been extremely tense the last few days.)

An event I attended has aroused reactions that are akin to the image and dreams. Although I am still processing the information I received (some of it was good) and my reactions to it, I have felt beaten, oppressed, depressed and discouraged.  My immediate, instinctive response was to surrender my new found goals and dreams and conform to that which I was told…or another interpretation could be what I perceived I was told.  And, it has been a battle to resist. 

Certain words leapt out of the page as I read these Bible verses:  “For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ.  Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate.  Can’t you see the central issue in all this?  It is not what you and I do – submit to circumcision, reject circumcision.  It is what God is doing, and He is creating something totally new, a free life!” (Galatians 6:14-15, The Message)  (This was written to the church in Galatia as they struggled with conforming to people who wanted them to embrace Jewish laws and customs as additional requirements to having a relationship with God…thus the circumcision reference.)  Can you guess to which part I responded?  If you thought “…set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate….It is what God is doing, and He is creating something totally new, a free life!” then you are correct.  And, I believe that is exactly what He is working in my life right now.