Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23).
I woke up the other day with a very vivid dream still fresh on my mind...
I was in a mansion, with high ceilings and beautiful furniture. There were tons of people roaming and hanging out throughout the entire house. It felt like an open house, sort of. Everyone was excited and having a great time.
As I was going up the winding staircase I saw an alligator crawling into a room. Immediately I knew that I had made the arrangements to have this alligator delivered to this house. I was nervous. I went into the room and saw that it went under the bed. I looked around. Everyone acted like they didn't see it go in there, so I stood in the room trying to think of how I could get the thing out. I was racking my brain trying to decide how I was going to apologize to the person who owned the house. I felt a huge sense of guilt. I was stuck. On the one hand, asking him to forgive me for something so ridiculous would be embarrassing. On the other hand, I knew there was no way I could get this alligator out of the house by myself, so I was going to have to say something.
As I approached the owner to tell him what I had done, a large truck pulled up to the curb outside of the house. A few strong men came out of the truck and got the alligator out of the house with no trouble at all, like they were used to doing this sort of thing. We were just one more stop on their route or stops. I was shocked. I watched as the owner of the house turned to a young person and made it clear that HE was the one who orchestrated the plan for the alligator being in the house and he would have to leave the house. Everyone seemed relieved to have that person leave the house, because in the owner's explanation we all learned that this person was actually plotting all along to ruin the party by bringing in these alligators.
In the dream, I knew it was true. I felt a huge sense of relief in knowing that the burden I was carrying was not mine to carry. It was not my fault and with that, I could go on having a great time with everyone in the house.
Then I woke up.
The problem, as I see it.
Strange, right? Random, stupid dream right? :) Or is it? I've been thinking a lot about sin lately... the consequences of sin, and how being tempted is part of being human...that kind of stuff. Sometimes we let our guard down and in our weakness we entertain a bad thought, or allow ourselves to sin. We carry the shame and the guilt from doing what we know is wrong. We determine we are defined by our sin, and we operate out of the mentality that we are no good and should be ashamed of ourselves. We make future compromises because we feel we are "less than" and we deserve to be "less than". We take on any blame for our actions. Over time it is hard for us to tell where Satan ends and we begin. We don't recognize who we are anymore. It's hard for us to know where to even start if we were going to ask for forgiveness. There's so much wrong.
Here's what I am thinking.
At any time the process can be halted, and corrected, and you can be made new. Take the blame off of yourself for a second. God is all-knowing. He sees your world and the spiritual realms that you can't see. He offers grace and forgiveness when you ask for it. He's aware of where you have fallen short of His glory. He knows where Satan brought you down, and He doesn't want you to stay stuck there. Your identity is NOT wrapped up in your sin. Your identity is found in how God sees you. He gently woes you back because He loves you and wants you back, and because He knows it is in your best interest. When you come to God, asking for forgiveness He immediately offers you forgiveness and then directs the attention away from you. "Satan, you're not welcome here. You must leave." FREEDOM! You can let down your baggage. There is no condemnation in Christ. He loves you and is in the business of protecting you and bringing you to a new way of living when you ask for it. He makes all things new.
Live your life worthy of your calling.
God has more for you. Stop taking blame for the alligator in the house. Has anyone ever tried to hold you to you to your past, and not let it go? You are NOT only as great as your worst sin. That is what Satan wants you to believe. Seek God, be made new, and enjoy the party. He has BIG things in store for you when you are willing to lay down your burdens at His feet. He loves you and you can trust Him with your everything. :)