Recently, I’ve been having a recurring dream that I am going back to Asbury University as a graduate student. In the dreams, I am always rooming with one of two friends from my real Asbury days–incidentally both are named Sarah–in the regular undergrad dorms even though we are working on our master’s degrees. The weirdest aspect of the dreams is that though I am still married to Charles, for some reason (job-related, I think), Charles cannot move to Wilmore to be near me, and I spend the dream trying to reconcile deeply missing him with my desire to pursue further education. Another consistent and unnerving aspect is that a considerable amount of each dream entails unpacking, setting up the room, trying to fit everything into tiny closets, adjusting to college life, realizing I don’t have enough supplies, worrying about finances (those courses are expensive!) and feeling generally unsettled. After the most recent iteration of the dream, I woke up feeling confused about my whereabouts and about reality.
I don’t think my recurring dreams are really about getting a master’s degree at all. Nor are they–lest you worry–implying that there are any problems between Charles and me (he is the best husband ever!). They are also not reflecting any bad experiences from my past at Asbury as I had a generally incredible college experience. I think the dreams are more about feeling unsettled about life and unsure of what my future holds. Since stopping work, I have enjoyed my down time, and I have benefitted from much lower stress levels. I believe I am healing. But I’ve also been going through a very difficult process of transition, of trying to find the “new normal,” of figuring out who I am sans a full-time job.
Recently, I’ve been reading in the Bible about the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. It’s not a new story to me, nor is what I’m about to write something novel. Still, I cannot help but notice how much the Israelites grumble as they look forward and how they resist the transition through which God is taking them. Not long after God has miraculously led them out of bondage and slavery in Egypt, they are complaining that they want to go back because life “was better then.” A favorite song of mine by singer Sara Groves says it this way in the chorus:
“I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt, leaving out what it lacked. The future feels so hard, and I want to go back. But the places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I’ve learned, and these roads were closed off to me while my back was turned.”
It’s so easy to look back and paint pictures of the past that are not realistic. It’s also easy to be afraid of the future and of following God down a new path. My prayer for today is that God will help me trust Him as He leads me on the path to the Promised Land. The Israelites just had to give up control and follow the Lord’s leading and instructions. When they strayed from His way, they were lost in the desert. When they followed, He led them to the Promised Land. I’m not expecting a land flowing with milk and honey, per se, but I am expecting that God has blessings for my life and the best plan possible–yes, even better than what I could plan on my own.
Would you pray with me as I seek to give control to God? Would you pray that God will continue to heal my wounds as I trust Him for healing?