Last night I had the most amazingly symbolic and profound dream, which gave me much perspective into my soul.
I was at wilderness park with a river and three large waterfalls. As I was trying to find a way to get closer I ran into John, a casual acquaintance, who I believe was a representation of Jesus. He lived close by but appeared as a backpacker, a traveler. So we traveled together. He tried to help me find a way to get closer to the waterfalls, pointing out a board walk that ran in front of them. I in turn pointed out the obstacles – piles of snow that prevented passage to the last fall and ice. Then I realized the pass was too narrow and too high. I turned to the man and said “I can’t make it, I’m afraid of heights”. So he helped me find another way. I sensed he understood but was disappointed I didn’t trust him with my fear.
We walked along together for a while, and then he stood at the edge of the large river looking across at the falls. I found myself distracted by three small steams. I thought if I could get around them I could see the falls better. So I wandered off on my own not telling John. The first stream was easy, the second was deeper than I thought and I fell in. John saw me and was furious but came to help me out asking with frustration “why didn’t you stay with me, I can’t be there for you if you’re going to keep wondering off distracted”.
I insisted on going crossing the third stream but I knew it was too deep now that I could see it more clearly. John was so aggravated with me for going into a dangerous situation alone; leaving him behind, as if I didn’t trust him. I explained I had been a wanderer all my life. I’ve never thought of those I left behind as I pushed forward on my quest. He wanted to leave me, he was so hurt, but I convinced him to stay with me.
He suggested a boat ride to get a closer look. We saw inlets along the side of the lake with many waterfalls in each. As we’d pass one inlet I’d try to get a glimpse of all the waterfalls we were hurried off to the next inlet with more waterfalls, always too busy to go into the inlet, passing each by quickly. We had to get to the destination, but no one knew what that was. When I asked the boat captain to slow down he just kept saying “busy, busy, busy, gotta move on to the next one”. John was getting agitated with my frustration – he knew this wasn’t the way. He sensed me pulling away from him in my business to get a glimpse of the waterfalls, only to capture the essence of the beauty, but never experience it.
There was a second part to the dream. It was as if there had been a commercial break in this strange movie.
An evil man saw John and me together. He wanted to destroy us because he knew we were travelers on a different path, not wanting to follow the way of the world. His goal was to make us conform. I saw the danger and ran to John’s to warn him. He had a friend over and they were fixing dinner. I warned John but he would not run. He only secured his house. It was more like a shack, or rundown summer cottage with none of the usual amenities. He didn’t want the burden of being owned by this world. He used candles and had a generator. John was reluctant to let me stay since I had a problem with trusting him. Maybe he thought I’d betray him. But his friend, a little Native American woman with a long grey braid, convinced him to let me stay. He was hurt and rightly so. It was a matter of trust and selfish pride. The man did show up at john’s cabin but that’s where the dream ended. Even though I sensed the danger I knew I was safe.
The waterfall was the goal, a thing of beauty, danger and adventure much like our God. Don’t get too close or his power will kill you, stay just close enough through Jesus and let the vapors of his power engulf you, transform and refresh you, heal you in and out. Too far away and you’ll always be grasping for life. Jesus was there to help me get close; to get that deep connection with God but the obstacle of fear kept me from trying. I couldn’t trust Jesus to protect me as I approached, he wouldn’t be able to protect me from the dangers. How small my Lord has become and how foolish I was.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18 (NIV)
Another obstacle is the attempt to go it alone, not taking others or Jesus on the journey; self reliance, independence and pride. The way may look safe but the dangers are hidden. If you go your own way, alone, you may die. Perhaps not physically but what good is a body if the heart is dead. In the end you still may not get you what you want – the waterfall. It may actually take you further away as the stream did in my dream. For me distraction, particularly the distraction of business, is what I fall back into when I feel safer trusting myself rather than Jesus or those he sends to help me.
Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 2 John 1:9 (NIV)
Finally, taking the easy way – the boat, it gets you close enough to see it but not close enough to experience it. All I have wanted from life is to watch it from a safe distance. To experience life from myself created comfort zone. It was safe to have God in my life but at a distance where I could be in control (or so I thought). Sometimes I choose the more dangerous road but it to only lead me away from God because I forgot to trust my companion, the Holy Spirit. So what do I use to keep myself from living life to the fullest? Busyness. Just like the boat captain, “busy, busy, busy, gotta move on to the next one”.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. Matthew 14:29 (NIV)
Fear, self-reliance and busyness have been my downfall – can’t let others in, can’t let them help. I need to be in control of my circumstances as well as fix them on my own. What do I hide all this junk under…busyness? As long as I’m constantly moving, doing, achieving I don’t have to dig too deep or get too close. There is safety in business but it leads to a life of boredom, a life less worth living.
I should have chosen the first route, the one with the apparent danger and gone with John. He was there to help and protect me but I didn’t trust him so I chose other paths. Jesus is there to help us connect with God. Helping us get close enough to experience his presence, his beauty, his essence, to commune with him. Jesus is prepared to go with us on our journey if we let him. For me I have to give up fear, self-reliance and busyness; I have to give up business. Whatever takes me away from God or prevents me from getting close enough to experience him.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)
The second part of the dream; running from those who would make me conform to ways other than God’s ways. John had gone away because I pushed him away. Danger was after us. We were on a journey and both wanting to go the way less traveled. This dangerous conforming man (the enemy or world systems) was after us to force us to conform. John didn’t run, he refused. He only locked up the house to keep the evil out and continued with conversation and dinner, never fearing, never giving him a second thought. I was finally ready to trust him; I finally felt safe. Let Jesus guard your heart and mind. We are safe as long as we keep listening to his voice.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.
Psalm 18:2 (NLT)