Life with Jesus

Repost: Sitting Naked Around a Table

(originally posted November 24, 2010)

I’ve been having recurring dreams for the last few weeks. It’s not recurring like falling dreams or being chased by a mobster dream.  My recent visions all have the same theme, if you will. Lately, dream Beth has been dropped into a social situation, missing an important part of clothing. Think- meeting the president while not wearing any pants. He doesn’t seem to notice, but his wife sure does. Or sitting around a table with friends, chopping vegetables…. bare-breasted. Inwardly (in my dream), I am screaming with embarassment but when I finally step away to find a replacement for the garment I’m missing, I either can’t find one that I like (I would even wear something that showed my armpit hair if I really didn’t have a shirt on) or my body won’t move fast enough to put the pants or shirt on before people notice that I’m partially nude.

I’m no dream interpreter. I did buy a book once about dream interpretation but it was more of the “You will die on Tuesday” stuff than the “You are stressed out” stuff. Since I have no real way of telling why these dreams have come about, I will make up an interpretation.

I haven’t been transparent lately so my subconscious is choosing to be transparent for me (hopefully, only in my dreams- if I show up to your house wearing only a shirt, you’ll know I’ve totally lost it). Spritually, I should be as transparent as those pictures on that darn TSA machine at the airports (ba-dum ching!).

So here goes. 

At the beginning of this month, Alex and I were CONVINCED that God wanted us to move to Seattle. All the signs pointed to yes. After weeks of thinking and meditating on how cool it would be to move there and telling all our friends that we were probably most-definitely moving there, the door got slammed shut in our faces. Alex was disappointed. I was angry.

You see, ever since I made the choice to let God lead my life, really give Him the reins, I haven’t had a good, solid life plan. After I broke off a long term relationship in college, I said, “Alright, Big Buddy. You’ve got control over everything” and then I was engaged within 3 months and married within the year. God gave me a passion for the people in the Middle East but Alex got a job in Dallas and every plan that we’ve tried to make to escape from here has fallen through (i.e. Peace Corps, applying for international jobs, saving for language school). We are in this contant, nebulous state where we have no idea which end is up and if you haven’t talked to me in 3 weeks, then you probably don’t know the new plan. I’m surprised I still have friends whose heads aren’t left spinning with our revolving door of future proposals.  

So, with that being said, having a door to a really amazing place that would mean things were moving and we were going places slammed rudely in my face was the last straw. I’m so sick of not knowing what happens next (as in next month) that I just got angry at God. Think of it as the equivalent to a spiritual hissy fit. My thought process went a little something like this:

“I’m so sick of not knowing what’s going to happen. We’re trying to do what YOU want us to do but you don’t ever seem to let us in on what the plan is. This was actually a really cool opportunity and YOU MESSED IT UP, God. You aren’t doing what I want you to do. I wish you would just let ME take care of things for once. Me me me. Mo mo mo.”

Are you cringing yet? I am. I mean, I’m all for telling God how you really feel. David in the Bible complained and grumbled. There is evidence of people pleading and beggin with Him to change His mind. BUT past a certain point, you have to get a little introspective. How selfish and stupid of me to think that I know what’s best. Me-thinks He might be stringing me along so that I can trust Him. If I knew what I was going to be doing in the next 3, 12, 27 years, then why would I need to depend on Him? 

[Lightning bolt: The sermon at our church this week was about the story in Exodus where God tells the grumbling people that He’ll send them manna from heaven. The only catch is that they have to gather it everyday. They can’t gather a bunch and keep a store of it for the week. The pastor made the point that God probably did this so that the people had to depend on Him daily, instead of trusting in their closet of manna for the week and only having to depend on Him on Sundays. I thought, “That’s nice.”

Whoa. God isn’t giving me all my manna at once and I threw a tantrum. I’m more like those Israelites than I thought.]

So my new goal is to trust Him, even when I’m not necessarily down with the way His plan is coming to fruition. Alex and I will have ample opportunity to trust Him going forward as Alex graduates from UTD in less than a month and is applying frantically for jobs. I’m just going to have to take baby steps (like curbing my excessive checking of craigslist for awesome, affordable housing) and take some comfort from verses like this:

My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten  happiness.
So I say, “My strength has perished, And so has my hope from the LORD.”
Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness.
Surely my soul remembers And is bowed down within me.
This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
The LORD’S lovingkindnesses  indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.

Lamentations 3:17-25

How’s that for spiritual bare-breastedness?

I hope this will cure my subconscious’ affinity for putting me in public places wearing clothing that might only be appropriate in tribal Africa.

PS- I have much to be thankful for. I hope that you take a second to remember your blessings too.

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