Abbey Journal – “Bad Dreams & Good Cannoli”
Sunday, October 9, 2011 9:30am I got up early this morning to exercise. I felt like I needed to work off some of the butter & bread I had been consuming. Another gorgeous day. I was anxious to get back to my room though, as I had had one of those dreams where the evil one visits. The kind of dream where you feel you are totally awake, but when you do wake up you realize it was only a dream. A dream though that was life like leaving a lasting impression of the bad kind. An invisible being of some sort, like see through liquid fluid yet it was thick enough to see the outline of it, was sitting on me in my bed in my little room here at the retreat house, making me feel paralyzed. I was trying to say the name of Jesus, but I couldn’t speak. Finally, I was able to speak & rebuked it in the name of Jesus and the power of His resurrection within me and sent it to the abyss, which is interesting – never sent one to the abyss before. I felt the peace of God come over me, rolled over to one side and went right back to sleep.
This morning when I woke up, I realized that I really never was awake, but with a dream like that, I knew something was up. So after my workout, I sang a couple of Psalms (up to Psalm 9) and pulled out my “Steps to Freedom” booklet. It is a booklet based on the book Victory Over Darkness and is a 7 step confessional guide. After that dream, I felt maybe I had allowed satan in somewhere. The steps lead you to read scripture out loud and pray out loud rebuking satan forcing him to release any hold he may have on you.
I think this is the part of a retreat that people dread and fear the most. Not that you will have a nightmare, which was a first on a retreat for me. But, if I am quiet before the Lord long enough, what kind of things will He reveal to me that need to be dealt with. Forgiveness issues and other heart issues that He might want to address with us, but we are afraid to hear.
But this is where I challenge you, Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light. If we yoke or hook up with Him and His ways, the promise is rest. Satan wants us to believe we can’t let go, that holding on to bitterness or our weaknesses are good and comfortable. That it would be too painful for us to handle, if we took it out and looked at it. If those tactics don’t work then satan starts in with the condemnation feelings that eventually overwhelm us. Our tendency then is to run, be busy, serve others do anything, but be still before God and let Him work a few things out in us. When we fit this pattern, we have yoked ourselves to the Liar and Not the Healer.
As I sat in my rocker and allowed God to reveal to me this morning more areas I needed to confess that I had not realized on Friday, it cleared the way for a big one of which I was totally oblivious. A huge burden, I was obviously carrying unaware; a mammoth responsibility I had placed upon myself for someone else. This left unattended would certainly have left me paralyzed over time just like my dream had exposed.
The sin – I call it the savior complex. When I feel responsiblie for someone else beyond a healthy expectation, that I should have done more, said more, been there more, this type of thinking places me in the position of being someones else’s salvation. God sent His Son to do this. I am not Jesus. When I take this complex on, I carry a burden that was not intended for me to carry as well as elevate myself to God status. Unfortunately, this often accompanies being in ministry or just caring for people! I may be the hands and feet of Jesus, but I did not die on the cross for others to be saved. That was Jesus and Jesus alone.
This revelation of the heavy burden I was carrying opened the flood gates. There were deep sobs experienced as I tried to forgive myself, ask God to forgive me and somehow turn it over to Him. I wrote another entry onto the palm of His hand. A midst the sobs, the Spirit spoke to my heart again, “You try too hard.” More tears burst forth – of course, I could certainly see where that applied to this situation. Despite this pain, there was great release.
As I write this, I am still amazed at this burden I had placed on myself. If you had asked me, if I felt responsible for such and such Did I feel I could have done more, I would have said no. But God knows our inner most parts and He knew that I had been, little bit by little bit internalizing guilt for something I was not responsible for. Well, it took me a while to recover. Joyous was gracious to let me process with her. I know there is still healing there to be done, but as the song says, “This is where the healing begins, whoa, this is where the healing starts…”
9:00pm I did manage to pull myself together this morning and go with the other ladies to Boston for the afternoon. That was a shock to go from quiet solitude to – hello – hundreds of people at the Quincy Market. As my dad would have said, “you couldn’t have stirred them with a stick.” We managed to see some historical sites, Old North Church, Paul Revere’s home to name a few. We also went to one of the top 10 must see/experience in Boston – “Mike’s Pastry.” OH MY!!!!!! We each had a different cannoli. They were all mouthwatering yummy goodness. Linda & Joyous shopped at the market, while Sue and I shared some chips and salsa & talked. Neither one of us are shoppers. We finished with dinner at a highly recommended restaurant known for their seafood. Drove back to the Abbey and finished off the rest of the cannoli’s while Joyous led us in some time of sharing. I am exhausted. So thankful to have one more day.