Lifeis+ Day 12 (SO, SO LATE)
Once you read it, it’ll be worth the wait though. I promise.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Have you ever had a lucid dream? They’re defined broadly as the kinds of dreams you can control. You are in a world where you are in control of yourself. Your ideas are brought to life simply by thought and you can escape what comes to you without your knowledge. In these kinds of dreams, you are not forced to flee from the beast of the shadows that hunts you through the dark corridors. A former employer and I talked at length about it, he had gotten into the habit of Lucid Dreams when he was young, and he practiced it often. He told me he had entered into a nightmare and instead of staying there he floated from the nightmare and into another dream where things were nicer and easier.
After our first few conversations I wanted to try it so badly, so I followed his instructions and focused, for weeks when I laid down for bed it was on my terms and I did all the little things I needed to fall into a dreamscape I could harness some manner of control over. I regularly calmed myself, I tried many of the various techniques, and the only time I ever thought I was in a lucid dream, I couldn’t wake myself up. When I escaped that particular nightmare, I fell right into another one without realizing it. Each new “dream” I had begun had ended in horror.
After that night I abandoned the possibility of lucid dreaming and have since decided to refrain from attempting it more. I realized that last night that I’d rather not spend my nights escaping the horrors of my subconscious until the morning. I am content to have no control over what my dreams contain. Nightmares or not, that lack of control is a steady reminder to me.
I have no control over the things that happen to me. I can only control the things that I react to and how I react to them.
I was thinking about this, trying to figure out how to explain what I wanted to today. The method behind lucid dreaming allows us to harness some level of agency in our sleep state, but I don’t think we were meant to control our dreams any more than we were meant to control our day to day lives.
See, I spend a lot of time making plans and working to get to the next step. I want to be an author and a musician and a poet and etc. If you follow the blog you know all of this. To accomplish all of those things, I need to put in a great amount of work. Work that can be difficult and exhausting, to boot. I’ve been rejected for writing projects and I’ve thrown out more lyrics/poetry than I’d care to admit. I spend a lot of time listening to humans in regards to my path for life. Stephen King was one that I really respected when it came to writing. He had established a handful of rules for himself that would dictate what he wrote next. If he couldn’t finish X words in X time, he’d throw out the whole manuscript, supposedly. Whether it’s true or not I don’t have the answers for. But I paid heed to it all regardless.
I took those same practices into my music and poetry, as well as a few morsels of advice from other musicians and authors, trying desperately to blanket their advice into the other facets of my work. I make the comment that I plan to release books like most artists release music. To be honest I don’t exactly know what I mean by that, but it doesn’t matter because I forget something pretty important regarding all of my other pursuits.
I’ve long believed that I am supposed to be an author. That hasn’t been new to me, but everything else I do is a big side project. I make all these other plans because I have great ideas and I forget to consider what is likely the most important part of my plans.
Is it what God has in store for me?
Obviously I don’t know everything He wants, but I think it’s a pretty safe bet to admit that I don’t have control over God’s plan. He will do what He has set out to do, and I need to put my trust in Him that it will be good for me.
It’s hard to do that, you know? I have so many great ideas. Even in the world of writing, I have so many great books that I want to write, but if it isn’t part of my life, I will have to let it go. To some degree, that is terrifying, because how could I possibly let go of this thing that is such an integral part of who I am?
The answer: With the aid of my Creator.
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.
James is my absolute favorite book in the Bible, because it is filled with things that I can easily relate to and understand. When I read though James, I remember that God’s plan for me is greater than anything I can imagine and I can imagine a whole lot.
So that must mean it’s pretty worthwhile, right?
It can be difficult to listen to God. For example, earlier this year I was offered a job for a furnace cleaner. She overheard me talking about being tired of working in the serving industry and she suggested that I go visit her husband, as he was searching for an assistant.
I went and spoke with him, we got along great and I was offered the job, he told me he needed a call back soon and I went home. I called him a couple days later and after playing a bit of phone tag, I turned down the job with not so many words.
It’s still something I struggle with, because to those in my life I explained it away as him not calling me back. Which is only a half truth.
The other side of that story rests inside a black mark on my heart, because I did feel called to leave the restaurant then, I felt led to take that furnace job and get out when I could. He offered me much money and much work to go along with it. I prayed, and I heard God calling me to go there but I refused. I didn’t want to work that hard, even if the pay was better. I’d take a little less pay for a lot less work and that was the end of it.
I worked the next couple weeks feeling terribly guilty and frustrated, that frustration turned out at my job and in my personal life but I held on to it. I was afraid of admitting that I chose to run away. Now, not that I think I’m Jonah, or anything, but I am aware of what happens when we turn away from God’s Will…
We get eaten by fish.
Which is why this has weighed down my heart so much, and why I’m writing about it here. The fact is, I knew what I felt and what I thought was God’s calling to me at that time. In that moment, His calling wasn’t to keep writing and working in a restaurant, it was to start work as an extra for the Mary Poppins set. That was, at the time, what I considered the work to be.
After that job passed me by, I continued about my path and began work on a new novel, I continued staying up late wasting time and sleeping too much and I began to feel a growing uneasiness in the depths of my soul.
I wasn’t doing what I should be doing.
Our apartment was growing messier and messier, I was neglecting simple chores in favor of spending time with my friends and making more of a mess. I was diligently working on a new novel I was convinced would be my best work, and months passed. Months passed until this March, where I was offered another job. This one, I took without asking questions.
When I had finally gotten caught up from the whirlwind of an application process, I realized that at this job I’d be making less than I had at the restaurant and I began panicking that I wouldn’t be able to pay for what we needed to live. I panicked, and I was afraid and
-this is the important part-
I was so afraid, I didn’t pray.
I just kept moving forward and am still moving forward. Only praying about this decision for the first time as I write what you are reading right now.
“Shit, God. I need Your help. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m lost. I’m lost and I need You. Did I make a mistake? Was this a stupid decision?”
That is my prayer today.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Thinking back to that prior job has brought that darkness back up. I’m afraid of the future because I know that I should have just done what I was called to do then, because I don’t know if this was part of my purpose, but I just took it because I was desperate for more. When I accepted the job, I was under the impression that I’d be making more than I am at the restaurant, which is unfortunately not the case.
I was scared, when I realized that. I considered abandoning the job and fighting to get the shifts I had given up back at the restaurant, rather than working both jobs I wanted to focus on one, to make a lot of money and to use that money to keep my girlfriend safe.
Even still, after crunching the numbers, I discovered that I will be alright. I can still make it, it will be tight, but I can pay for everything we need myself.
It’s at about this time that I was reminded that God gave me my Sunflower for more than one reason. I crave being able to provide and care for people, and he aligned our lives for that reason, and so many more. Among the many reasons he allowed us to meet, he knew that I needed someone to help me. To calm me and guide me in my times of weakness. My times of weakness come frequently and without cease, and she has been there each time to hold my heart and carry me forward through that darkness. She stands beside me, just like Jesus does.
She took a second job to help pay the bills and to ease tension from me, because she wants me to continue writing and to be happy doing what I do.
I work hard to be a good spiritual leader for her. I try as often as I can to remember the teachings of Christ and to apply those teachings to my life, but I admit there are many times where I falter. Where my prayers fall into nothingness and I remain silent, believing that I can handle just one or two things. God is busy, and He has so many people to deal with. I assume that He doesn’t have time for my small worries when there are other people going through so much worse. Men and women who’ve just lost their children, countries in shambles, each grand problem that strikes the world that I don’t have an answer for, I take one thing off of God’s plate and say
“Here, let me handle it.”
For each thing I take into my own hands, it crumbles and fails, and I am always left returning to my Lord with the broken pieces of the thing I cherished, and I beg for help. Then he looks down at me and takes the mess I’ve made with the same love He always has and says the only thing I can imagine God saying…
“No, let Me.”
And I wonder why I felt so guilty fleeing from his calling months back.
It’s so easy to make God out to be this grand architect of the world who is too busy to handle our small grievances. It’s so easy to say, “I’ll handle this one.” When we are faced with struggle and challenge. For me, I swell up with pride when I’ve been doing what I should, and I take something small, like a job offer, and tell God I’ll take care of it, only to come back months later after hiding it in my bedroom ashamed that I couldn’t take care of something so simple. Every time I emerge from my bedroom with a new broken problem in my hands, He greets me with the same love. It’s easy to start thinking that God doesn’t care about the little things, but He does. He cares so much that He wants to repair all the things I’ve broken for Him.
I’ve thought about God’s plan a lot over the course of my life. I think that He calls us to specific things. There are certain moments He wants us to be there for, but I also think that he opens up many doors for us. Many choices at once, and the outcome of our decision is the path that we take. He knew I wouldn’t accept that job out of fear and complacency. He knew, but He offered it to me regardless and still cared for me even after I walked away from it… If that isn’t a sign of love, I don’t know what is.
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
I am scared for where I will go next, because I don’t have any control. I’m reminded by moments like these that I don’t need to control my dreams, or my life. I can only react with love, prayer + humility for the God who is big enough to take care of everything I will ever need.
I’m glad for that, because if I was in control, we’d all get eaten by fish.
I know I’ve posted a lot today! I hope it didn’t overload you too much, I just wanted to make sure I got everything out that I needed to get. I’ll have a couple more for you either over the weekend or by the end of the weekend. ❤
Categories: Umbral Dawning