Joie de Vivre: John!

Who can understand the pitfalls of the dreamers, the visionaries, and the hearers except the dreamers, the visionaries, and the hearers? I’m convinced no one does (except God)… so convinced that I think it will make a fantastic premise for another book. (Yay! I love starting new things… oh dear. Let’s not talk about that.)

None of this I repeat to puff myself up. Why should I? I already know it, already lived it, and already know that faith is a gift from God (and the one I think He happened to give me)…

The things I am about to share, I share for your benefit, not mine… and I hope they encourage you along the way, dear saints.

Because of a dream I had before I was ever married, I knew my first child would be a girl. And so it was.

Because I knew the Lord had heard the desire of my heart, I knew that my second child would have red hair. And so she did. (Listen, her name could ONLY be a red-head’s name, and I had it picked out by month three of pregnancy…)

Because of a vision dropped into my heart immediately after having my second child, I knew that my third would be a boy. And so he was.

And all along the way, people would say to me, “Oh well, you know it’s a 50/50 chance…”

Of course it is.

Unless the Lord has already spoken; then it’s 100/100…

And therein is the rub of every dreamer, every visionary, every hearer-at-heart: We could, of course, be wrong. But did God say? What did you see? Did you hear Him?

Well, as noted before by me in other life lessons, YOU are responsible for what God tells YOU. No one else is responsible for that — not even other prophets. Don’t believe me? Read 1 Kings 13, the story of the two prophets, and weep…

Been that. Done there. (Putting more stock in other people’s thoughts about my life than what God said to me.) But I digress…

Why Did You Tell Me This?

For some time now, however, I have looked upon dreaming as an anathema. Often, in the midst of living between God told me this and Oh that really was God, I have spent too much time tormented by the question of Why did You tell me this?

Was it to torment me before my time, Lord?
It often feels that way.

Recently, I had a dream that I had a baby boy and named him John. I found this to be highly unusual because I would never pick the name John. It’s far too plain! LOL. Even in the dream, I later asked myself why I didn’t at least pick Jonathan — a far more romantic choice.

Today, however, I was made to understand why… as I read the book of John. The baby boy represented the fruit of what I was reading…

But it is only by faith that I can tell you that.

Do you believe me?

Dreamers like to be believed; we’re a sensitive, slightly insecure part of the Body…

I’ve sat in that chair. He’s thinking: If this is another dream, so help me God… / Inception, 2010

Because of a dream, I knew on the very first night of my honeymoon that I had made a grave error (in my first marriage). So much so knew that I considered annulment… but was too proud to follow through. And then, the dream faded. I suppressed it. Then, I forgot. But the end came all the same, just as I had been shown it.

(Another life lesson: If God says ‘No’, no manner of cover-up — not even a widely-approved marriage — will make it ‘Yes’. Yes, it falls outside of conventional wisdom. Put that in your pipe and smoke it… in this context, it’s good for you.)

Because of a vision, I knew whom my first husband would marry after me. But what sort of torment was that?! — I had this vision 2-3 years before the event would occur. And don’t think I didn’t suffer all manner of levels of feeling insane during that time! Why should I be shown such things? How could I even think them without being guilty of or accused of sin in my own heart?! It was not until it was happening before my waking eyes that I could finally make total peace with that vision, though I did accept it with joy when I first saw it.

But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.

John 16:6

The disciples too were told things they could not understand as joyous in the moment…

No one looks at their flesh on the cross and thinks, “Yay! Thanks, God! Appreciate ya!”

No, I’m often found among the disciples — bewildered and filled with sorrow in what He reveals by the Spirit because I cannot grasp or understand it now.

I am only just now, in my forties, learning to find joy in the even less than less than visible and shocking things He reveals. (And learning to find contentment in what He does not reveal, which can be equally challenging.)

And that brings me back to John.

I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.

John 14:29

Okay. I get that…

These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble.

John 16:1

Okay. Having trouble here. It feels like opposite world…

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

John 15:11

If by ‘joy’ You meant torment, then we’re on the same page, Lord…

I mean, how was that to make the disciples feel joyful? Jesus was foretelling them about His impending death and absence!

(Again, I say, Appreciate ya, God! That was even less than less than joyful, thankyouverymuch.)

Ah, well, it’s easy in hindsight, right?

All of those prior dreams and visions and knowings I shared, I can joyfully share because they are behind me now.

And we now look back upon Jesus’ words in the book of John and accept the comfort of them because we understand the work of the Cross and how, truly, it meant joy! His work on the Cross is our present joy though it was, for a moment, the disciples great sorrow.

Faith Over Fear Mantra

Even though I dislike anything catchy or universal, Faith Over Fear has become a sort of mantra for me. Having lived more of my life in the Fear category, I feel the necessity of it. And I’ve noticed that I only feel tormented by God when I have shunned faith and clung again to old fears. Hmm…

Did God really say?

What if I’m wrong?

How can this be?

Why show me now?

Now what am I supposed to do with that?

Why?

Why?

Why?

And let’s not even get into interpretations, which can splinter as badly as sixteen denominations hashing out the book of Hebrews. (I don’t need another headache, thanks.)

I’m sure we’d all sleep better at night if that bit about the mark of the beast hadn’t been included in the book of Revelation. Actually, why Revelation at all? Wouldn’t we all sleep more soundly without it?

Perhaps a sleeping Bride was not His goal, eh? Oy vey.

… so that you might believe…

… so that you will not stumble…

… so that your joy may be full…

Okay, God… whatever You say.

I mean that now. (I give up. He’s right.)

If these are the reasons He tells us things in advance, as His friends, then we must accept His words as the truth — no matter what it looks like in the moment while we are sitting amongst betrayers, being arrested, and breathing what appears to be our last breath.

Right?

The ‘Kick’

Maybe dreams and visions aren’t what you’ve been given. (We do all agree that these are spiritual gifts, right? Gifts not air pumps.) Maybe it is something else…

But everyone can relate with wrestling over what is or is not God’s working, God’s will, and God’s way for them in life. Everyone knows what it’s like to hold onto something no one else can see or believe or accept. Everyone knows the fright of deception too, whether they can admit it: Did God lead me here? Or was that my own wicked heart, my own spirit?

Every honest person will wrestle with these things. And many will wrestle them in unseen places, without full disclosure. (You need the Holy Spirit to parse any of it out! Because people, self included, rarely disclose everything! But many have been led astray, hurt, or ruined because they were counseled by someone who only observed what was visible. Remember that.)

In the movie, Inception (2010), everyone knowingly engaging in shared dreaming carried a ‘totem’ by which they could know whether they were still dreaming. Some dreams feel as real as life; one can get lost there, outside of time.

Our ‘totem’, if you will, is the Word of God.

If the dream becomes more important than what is certain in His words, then that soul is at risk of being lost in a world of their own making, their own desires, their own strength of will. In the movie, that meant never waking up. In real life, that may well mean the same…

Something about sleeping brides… or was it virgins?

(I know it was virgins. Come on, man. Give me some poetic license… lol)

In the movie, a ‘kick’ was necessary to wake the dreamers up. That is probably my favorite aspect of the tale because everyone can relate to the feeling of falling in a dream (the kick that wakes you).

Yeah. It’s no different in spiritual dream land. Fall down that rabbit hole and you’re sure to get a kick from the Word of God…

Just don’t miss it.

You can miss a kick.

You can stay asleep.

Or not.

Did you hear the sound of His voice calling in the garden?

Or did you choose to ignore it? To stay asleep?

Peter’s kick was denying Jesus…

The other disciples’ kick was in scattering…

Jesus made provision for them on the Cross before addressing their failures. Isn’t that lovely?! They abandoned Jesus at the height of His love for them. Then, He came back and restored them all to Himself…

Truly, friends, we live the greatest story ever told every day…

By faith in the Son of God.

By faith in the dream Giver… not faith in our dreams. One truly does bring joy; the other can bring unending torment. It’s wise to know the difference and act accordingly by God’s grace — that is, His power beyond your own weaknesses!

The disciples idea (dream) of Jesus overthrowing Rome and ruling as King RIGHT THEN AND THERE in the moment had overgrown their ability to hear His words and His meaning prior to death and departure…

The funny thing is that they weren’t wrong exactly; but they were out-of-sync with God’s timing. When God returns, He will overthrow the kingdoms of this world and that will be a happy day…

But, in the meantime, the disciples had to experience and walk out what was God’s best and God’s blessing for them at the intersection of But God Said and No Not Yet. It’s not a fun intersection; I’ve been there before. One often gets run over and side-swiped while standing in such places.

Is it worth the beating?

Oh, I don’t know… Are we happy about the Cross of Christ and the fact that the Apostles brought Faith to the whole world? …

Yeah. Yeah, I think we can live with that, right? =) “His ways are not our ways.”

Set the dreams and doubts down at His feet. And keep listening and obeying while it is called ‘Today’…

We may be responsible for what God has said, but we are not the Gardener nor the Giver. Only He can build the house. Trust that.

Shalom.

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