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Christ Loves

 

Changing One's ways by Prayer
and Analysing One's Dreams

 

As a background, I'd like to reveal some less than appealing information about myself. My great great grandfather was some mad tyrannical albino genius who terrorized his family and brought his wife to early death by his behaviour. I've learned that this tyrannical streak continued down the generations, with various fathers in my lineage abusing their children and spouse. I myself grew up tyranising my mother and sister, since for a long while I was the only male in the house. Anyway, at some point I came to Christ, and since then I have made a concerted effort to control my behaviour, especially to women. But I am consumed by feelings of rage on a daily basis. I might be walking pleasantly down the street, when a thought appears in my head that angers me, and within seconds overwhelming thoughts fill my head of brutally beating some male, teaching them justice, so to speak. But this certainly is not the way of Christ, who commands that we offer the other cheek when slapped, or give our coat when our scarf is taken. Well, I have often wondered how I would react in such a situation and cannot imagine reacting as I should. I pray regularly to quell the feelings of rage which constantly surface within me, or the ability to let go when someone steals my possession.

The bible says that God hovers over us at night and tests us through our dreams. Based on most of the dreams I have, I certainly feel I am being tested, and acknowledge I am failing miserably. But lately I have started dwelling on my failures in dreams and have actually managed some progress. The feeling is so real in my dreams, and my instant reaction understandable, but if I can change my instant reaction in my dreams, which is based on my own instinct and nature, I feel I should be able to apply this in real life when confronted with it. One is not aware they are dreaming when confronted with such scenarios, so one can analyse their reaction and behaviour as a true reflection of their nature.

I have worked on my dreams in other ways in the past. I used to have a recurring dream of a big bear pawing after me. I'd crawl up a tree, then crawl out on a limb, or the edge of a cliff, and each time the bear would inch its way towards me, pawing at me, until I either fell off the cliff and woke up, or the thinning end of the tree branch broke, I began to fall, and then woke up. One day this angered me enough that I decided next time I will stand up against that bear and not back away from fear. I did that, it worked, and the bear never bothered me again. Actually, it got to the point that the bear would come back, but it would be more like a friend.

I also overcame my fear of falling, and now I fly regularly in my dreams. Several times I was even aware I was dreaming, yet managed to let go of my fears to continue flying. It was a resolution of the mind. Many times I'd be flying, but fear would grip me, and slowly I'd be descending towards the surface of the earth, where there would be crowds of people, arms raised in the air, so they could grab me, pull me down, and who knows what would happen next. As I descended towards them, I would flap my wings more frantically, but my frantic fear would only increase the rate of my descent. Until I learned to let go of that fear, focus instead on my own confidence, and from now on, just by focusing on my confidence and a peace of mind, I would continue to fly.

Now I'm not sure how overcoming this will effect my real life, but I can imagine it has helped me in my confidence, and to overcome fears in social situations.

But lately, after being resolute in my mind, I've been pleasantly surprised that my reactions were not inappropriate like they used to be concerning more violent scenarios. For example, last night I had a dream that a very strong male was hassling a woman. There were many of us in the room, I felt fear, but I became resolved to do what was right, so I stood up, gently grabbed the male's wrist, and tried to defend the woman in some ideal way. I believe I accepted a punch in the jaw, without getting angry, and then I woke up. Over the past few months I've been having similar dreams where I was being provoked, but I managed to contain my anger and subsequent reactions as I would want them to be.

We might tell ourselves how we would want to behave in certain situations, but when those situations do arise, we can often find ourselves frozen in fear and behaving entirely different. Like when Peter disowned Jesus three times, hurling curses at him before he was hauled off to the cross. In the face of crowds and potential prosecution, our instinct for self preservation might kick in and we behave in a manner we are ashamed of later. Fortunately, such incidents do not occur in my daily life, but I feel that overcoming them in my dreams is like practice, and I am more confident that I will behave better if they ever do occur to me in real life. When they happen to me in dreams, they feel so real, but if I learn to respond better in my dreams, I feel this could have an affect on how I would respond instinctively or automatically when confronted by similar situations in real life (although I'd rather not be put in such situations).

Anyway, there are many ways we can change our behaviour. If we want to dedicate more of our time to charity, this is a methodical decision and what one can simply change with a little bit of willpower. But how we react when confronted in times of danger we cannot necessarily control, because we do not have experience with it. We are gripped with fear, and the body and mind can often go into instinctive/self preservation mode. In the least, if these dream exercises will not help my behaviour if I'll ever be confronted with such predicaments in real life, I can feel assured that I am better passing God's tests, and only hope that they will stay as dreams. But I feel that they are helping. That God is testing my nature, testing my words, prayers and desires to behave better, and I feel that my nature is being worked on, for the better.

Perhaps an unbelievable analogy, but I love the game of squash. Because it is such a physically active sport, we'd play with such numbers and such number of courts so that one person could always sit out and rest every few games. I'd watch how the others play and I'd learn a lot: from their mistakes, or from how they played differently than I do. Something I cannot really notice so well when actually playing. I'd meditate on the better ways of playing, tell myself I will try to play that way, but once I'm on the court, instinct would kick in and I'd go back to my old bad habits. After all, squash is not like chess, and there simply is no time to think about things and strategise properly. But I found that, by coming to the courts at least half an hour earlier and practice certain routines and moves, I'd be ingraining the strategy into my instinct. By preparing a certain scenario for myself, responding to it according to my strategy, and practicing the same move over and over again until it became instinctive, THEN it truly would become more instinctive once I actually started playing.

And so I feel it is the same with these dreams. When we are confronted with such predicaments in real life, there really isnít time to think and ponder about the situation, and we are often taken over by fear and respond instinctively. Many times in my dreams I wake up the second after I responded wrongly. I don't believe it is because of some shock, or because I am no longer tired, but 100% because God woke me up and wanted to show me the failure in my nature. This may seem far fetched to you, but if you believe in God, in what is written in the bible, and actually analyse your dreams, you should be convinced enough to at least start experimenting with your dreams. Take them seriously and consider yourself being tested by God, and try working on your nature to please him. Although we live a relatively short life, chances are good that we will find ourselves, at one point or another, in such real life predicaments, so might as well practice and prepare for them in the "virtual world". After all, we are judged by what we have done. God can arrange for us to end up in such predicaments as surely as he can subject us to these crazy dreams.

With prayer, sincere desire, and practice, I hope I will overcome my bad instinct. And be better prepared when the real test comes. These are some of the things we are judged by, and it is good to meditate and work on them, to improve oneself.

Then again, another idea occurred to me the next morning after I wrote this. After all, I believe God puts ideas into my (our) head(s), and it is important to try and be fully honest with oneself when striving for the ideal.

One reason why I may be struggling with occasional feelings of anger is because I have not fully given myself over to Jesus, as is required, and hence have not benefited from the transformation accompanied by such a surrender of the soul and the subsequent showering/flooding of the Holy Spirit. I did feel the transformation when I first received Christ, but because I refused to profess the gospel as the Spirit within me yearned to do,

I fell from my first love and thus was not fully transformed. I fell from my first grace, like a dog returning to its

vomit. I cannot let go of all my possessions and personal ambitions, and hence remains within me that remnant of my pride which I cannot/refuse to let go. And as the good book, a little bit of sin (yeast) goes through the whole

body (dough), and hence I continue to struggle with this.

I have been pondering this issue for years, thinking that I just need to succeed something in business first, but this approach is not looked on with the greatest

enthusiasm.

Anyway, this still remains a goal of mine, and because of my sweat experience with the Spirit within me (although faded over the years), I will continue to strive towards this direction, and do what I can to serve God in ever greater measure.

At least by reading this the unbeliever will see that following Christ is not a simple and easy path. It is a daily struggle, and I pray I will be able to take the necessary steps to follow him fully, and have the strength to overcome all prosecution and suffering in the name of the gospel, which God might be preparing me for. I truly hope I will achieve the full ten yards on this.

 

 


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