when i was little, i used to have a recurring nightmare. it was so traumatic and consistent, that i remember it to this day.
i remember getting ready for bed and trying so hard not to think about it. i knew that as soon as i got even one small scene into my head, i wouldn't be able to sleep. but as we all know...it's almost impossible to actively forget something.
anyway. my dream. it was very simple and very short...hard to understand why it would traumatize me so much. most nights i couldn't sleep until i crawled into my parents' bed...and that wasn't always acceptable. but it was either bugging my parents or crying myself to sleep.
it started pretty normally. my sister, my mom, my grandma, and I all start out in the car at a parking lot. my mom and grandma inform me and my sister that they'd be going to the restaurant across the parking lot. a restaurant with big windows so that you could see straight into it. me and my sister were to wait by the car until they were done. ok, fine.
so, off go my mom and grandma. me and my sister are hanging out around the car, when suddenly this man comes up. he starts talking to me and my sister about his really sharp knife. at the moment, we're scared...but not completely terrified. suddenly, he grabs an orange from a tree by the car, and in order to show us just how sharp his knife is, he cuts right through it. he then grabs my sister and cuts her. and that's the end of my nightmare. there is no conclusion, he never touches me...and my mom and grandma never see a thing.
right around that time, my dream would start over...and the picture of the man cutting the orange would plague my head for minutes and hours on end.
i remember praying to God and begging him to take the nightmare away. then i would just cry.
i don't know how old i was, or how long it lasted...but i would guess i was close to 7 or 8 or even 9 years old...and i'm sure that same nightmare recurred consistently for at least a couple of months. on and off, and some weeks worse than others.
there was a time when i felt completely defeated. i couldn't take it anymore, and i couldn't bear to even get close to my bed, because i knew it would start again.
then suddenly it went away. i'm not sure when or why. but i remember being done with it one night when i could recall the dream and not let it phase me. i could remember the orange and the man and not have to live through it over and over again.
i felt so free. like a chain had been released. like i could suddenly breath after being suffocated for so long. to this day i don't completely understand what i was going through. but i know it was intense. it was terrifying, and i felt absolutely helpless.
that's a life without God.
maybe during the day, you feel okay....maybe even most of the year, you're alright. maybe for now, you're doing fine. but at night it gets tough. you run to your parents...a temporary relief, and not always willing to help...but that nightmare keeps coming back. as much as you try to avoid it, you're stuck, you're bound and helpless. you're alone. you're terrified. maybe to others, you seem okay. but when people aren't looking, you're lost. you can survive like that for a long time. maybe even for a lifetime. but, man it sucks.
and God doesn't want it that way.
"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." -Galatians 5:1
but it doesn't end there.
"Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God."-1 Peter 2:16
i know. that was pretty intense. o well.