In the haunted houses of our minds, the scariest monsters are usually ourselves

I’ve had a lot of dreams about old houses or old hotels – mansions with many rooms. This post isn’t about the dreams, though, it’s more about what these dreams represent. As is mentioned in the book of Job, God speaks to us while we sleep. He does send us dreams, some of which can be vivid in detail. It’s those details you need to pay attention to, because sometimes those dreams are answers to specific prayers you brought to the Lord in the name of Jesus Christ. The Lord answers those prayers in different ways and it’s up to us to examine it and see what it really means.

So, as I said above, I’ve had a lot of haunted house dreams, especially since I found my way to Jesus a few years ago. In the past, when I’d hear about someone accepting Jesus into their life, I’d marvel at how they seemed to transform their lives overnight. They’re all about Jesus, sitting in the front row during church, getting out there in the streets to preach and jumping on every opportunity to witness to others about the Gospel. When this epiphany didn’t immediately happen to me, I couldn’t help but feel like I’d missed some critical detail. How did they “get it” when I couldn’t?

Looking back, I realize that my expectations of what it means to truly seek the face of God, to pick up my cross and follow Jesus were a lot different than the reality. There’s a lot more to it than just saying that you accept Jesus. That’s a big step – a huge step – but it’s not the only one you need to take.

After I called out for Jesus in December of 2012, I did feel His presence for a time. But was I instantly transformed? No. I was still sneaking alcohol into the house and drinking on the sly, still partying and still researching the occult. While there were some things that Jesus stopped instantly (the “high strangeness” I was going through at the time), I was nowhere near where I thought I was supposed to be. I thought that the moment Jesus took up residence in my heart, mind and soul that I’d be instantly “fixed.” But as it turned out, that was only the beginning,

Instead of handing me the keys to a freshly swept mansion of joy, Jesus walked me back to the deepest, darkest room in the haunted house of my mind, opened a door and there I saw a steaming pile of iniquity as high as Mount Everest. Then Jesus essentially handed me a shovel and told me to get to work, time was wasting. I had to dig into it and clean it up. He would help me, of course, but I had to learn the right way to dig – and even that took a couple of years.

In the meantime, I prayed to the Lord (and when I say “Lord” I refer to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit), saying to Him, please help me get rid of all of it, Lord. Show me what to do. It was when I began to sit and listen to the Word, and pay attention to my dreams that I learned to dissect these things and identify what I had to repent for and never take up again. Some things were easy to give up – the alcohol, the partying, arguing with family members. Those were a snap in comparison to other things, like giving up control over my life. Control over my own life had been the one thing I thought I had at least some grasp of, but the Lord showed me that I never had it at all.

The fear of death and the fear of allowing myself to be vulnerable to others were the biggest things to deal with. You have no idea how much I hate breaking down in tears in front of other people. For me, allowing people to see me in that state was unthinkable. There are people in the world who see those weaknesses and take advantage of them. They know you want to be loved, to be cared-for and they play on that.

My ex husband was a psychopath (I say “was” because I’m not sure he’s even alive anymore, as last I heard, he’d gone to prison) and he would pull little mind-games on me to get me to let down my guard. Once I did, he’d come in, kick me and try to break me. He would cry, knowing I can’t watch other people cry without crying myself. For a long time, after he finally found some other woman to grab onto and torment, seeing a man cry would inexplicably anger me. I saw it as manipulation. For a while, my heart had grown stone-cold. I shut everyone out, built this thick wall around myself and let no one in. Not even my blood kin. I hated my ex and anyone like him, not because of the physical pain I was put through, but because he took what was good in me and shattered it, grinding the pieces into dust.

And yes, I finally forgave him.

The only One to ever get through the wall I built and help me put these bits of dust back together is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Father God and the Holy Spirit. Jesus walked right through my defenses like they weren’t even there. (And they really weren’t there, I just pretended they were). I’ve been cleaning house. That’s what the dreams of “freshly painted houses” relate to. I’m finally making some headway with that Mount Everest-sized pile of rotten iniquity. There’s still a lot of work to do, but the more I dig, the more I find. You might not understand this, but that’s how the process has been for me.

” 14For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. 15  In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; 16 Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction…” – Job 33:14-16

Sometimes dreams are clues about things God wants me to work on.

Yes, I know – I use personal pronouns too much. Me, me, me. Aspies tend to do that. I can’t speak for you, though, can I? I can only speak from my own experience. But, just to give you a break from “me” for a moment, I’ll switch to the word “you.”

Cleaning your own house.

When you try to clean up the dirty things that you find in the dark recesses of the haunted house of your mind, you start finding things that have lived there quite comfortably for a very long time. And they don’t want to go. Still, you force the issue and you evict these “bad tenants” as you find them. Eventually the house is almost completely clear.  Almost.

There’s just one monster left. It hides in those parts of your mind you tend to avoid – the bad memories, the things you thought were long buried. You have to dig those up, too and as hard as it is, you have to examine them, look at the trouble they caused you and then give them over to God. But there’s always that last one, the last monster-ghost-thing you have to face: Yourself.

This is the thing that you were on the day that Jesus found you. It couldn’t stand the light, so it ran off to the darkest crevice it could find in the haunted house of your mind and it locked itself in. Then it nailed the door shut.

Eventually you work up the courage to pry those nails out, kick open that door and look this “thing” dead in the eye. You do this and keep on doing it, no matter what kind of horrible memories it flings at you. These are things you did when you thought no one was looking, or things that were done to you while others pretended not to see. Some of these things were so bad that your mind had to forget them or else you’d go stark raving mad. These are the things that made you cold, made you dead inside and why you came to loathe humanity.

But Jesus said that we are to forgive these things, love our enemies. How can someone do that, you wonder. But still, you know that this monster is there. It’s not going away on its own, and it’s not going to let you kick it out as easy as you did the others. It will fight you tooth and nail keep what it considers to be its house.  It can fight you simply because it IS you.

At this point, you need to fully rely on God. Rely on the Lord Jesus, as well as the comfort and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. You’re not going to fight this thing alone. God in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is with you and always has been. All you had to do was ask.  And you might as well, because God already knows all about you, anyway.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13

Now, get in there and fight. Pack a lunch, because it’s probably going to take a while.

I’ve watched people who supposedly changed their lives overnight after accepting Jesus soon slip away, back into the stench of the flesh and iniquity that once ruled over them. This happened because they weren’t willing to get in there and dig. They weren’t willing to face that last monster. I suppose some of you gamers out there could think of it as the final “boss” you have to defeat in order to complete the game. But it’s not easy. Nothing worth having is ever easy to come by.

I still haven’t conquered my own monster completely. But I go back again and do battle with it daily. It’s finally beginning to wear down, to get tired.  You know how I know this? Because I rarely experience nightmares at all anymore. Once in a blue moon I’ll get one, and when I do, I go over it with a fine-toothed comb and see what part of me it came from. I go seek it out and crush it like the cockroach that it is. With the Lord Jesus, you can do the same. You’d better hurry up, though. The clock’s ticking.

“Seek the Lord while He made be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:6

Until Later,
Jillian

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Image created by Norvs Austria / xetobyte

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