"You're in recovery, and recovery takes a while."
"It can take up to a year for gluten to completely leave your system and the auto-immune inflammatory cycle to slow down or cease."
Opening myself up.
Walking in balance.
These are the thoughts, words, comments that are rolling around in my head. I was going to write this post about dreaming only - leaving off my health/recovery process for a bit (after all, that can definitely feel a bit heavy at times!). BUT, as I sat down to write I realized that it's all related, as things often are when God is at work.
The healthier I become the more in balance I am (physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually). The more in balance I am the more I am able to open myself up to new possibilities, to dreams.
Here's how the process has looked for me this time around:
Several weeks ago - about the same time I decided to test a gluten-free diet to see if it helped stop my passing-out episodes - I started to dream again. It was a really strange process, actually. I didn't actively or intentionally engage it. Thoughts and ideas - things I later recognized as dreams - just started moving to the forefront of my conscious thinking space.
The strange part - and this is going to be hard to put into words - is that this dreaming process has been unlike any other I've ever experienced. It is a new thing, happening from and within a new space.
In the old space - the less mature, more childish space - I would "dream" all the time. So much so that I eventually decided my tendency to daydream was a bit of an idol. I was never satisfied with what I had, where I was. I was always thinking about how things could be better, how I wanted more.
Somewhere in my mid-twenties I recognized how miserable this made me (not to mention how much it dishonored God, the giver of all good gifts), so I made a decision to actively repent. Every time I would have a daydream thought - like, "oh, I wish my apartment were bigger...how would I remodel this place if I could?" - I would choose to counteract it with a thankful thought. For example, I would say to myself: "no, stop it. Instead, let's go here - 'thank you, Lord, that I have a wonderful place to live; thank you for ______' and then I would begin to methodically list everything in my apartment, whether I loved it or not, as an act of worship, acknowledging that God had given me many gifts. I would list even the most seemingly insignificant things - "thank you for my forks" - because, well, I needed those forks, and I was honestly grateful to have them.
The more I did this, the less time I spent cutting off daydreaming/ungrateful thoughts. The more I chose thanksgiving, the more my mind changed.
"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." (Romans 12:2, NLV)
Ironically enough, during this same season in my life - and I'm just putting this together as I write - my life's purpose and heart's desires started to come into clarity. This was my "L.A. time". I lived in L.A. alone, having moved there to find myself (effectively), knowing no one, wanting an adventure. During this nearly two year period I practiced the discipline of thanksgiving, as I've described, and I also started to realize who I am. Silly things like, what's my favorite color? Do I care about clothes or not? How do I want to spend my time? In short, I explored myself and, through the process, I came into focus.
Words the Lord had spoken years before began to make sense. His spoken will for my life and my own desire, buried deep beneath a lot of "should's" and desires to people-please, were far more in line than I had ever realized. And things were much less complicated than I thought. I didn't have to walk through this melodramatic "what am I made for?" process. Really, I just needed to let go of a bunch of things and get quiet. What I was looking for had been there all along.
So, how does this relate to the dreaming that's been happening over the last several months? Well, I think I had sort of stopped dreaming. I think I had become bogged down in wife and mommy-hood, living in the daily grind, forgetting to dream. And, I think I thought that God had already shown me my dreams (to be a wife, mommy, and writer), and, since I was actively pursuing them, there wasn't really anything else to seek, to listen for, to dream about. Now is the time to walk them out.
I wasn't yearning as desperately as I had in my twenties when I felt so utterly lost. The desperation for God's revelation wasn't - isn't - as fierce.
In many ways, I'm grateful for that. I don't think that's a bad thing at all. I mean, it's good to be desperate for God, but I was angsty about it. My younger desperation was not coming from a place of peace. Now I feel a lot of peace. I feel very settled. So, not as desperate but not complacent either (just to clarify).
Having been able to live out my dream of being a stay-at-home mommy, starting last September, I was fully committed to focusing on the now. But after these last two months, I can tell you, I know God wants me to keep dreaming, for He has more to show me. He deposited more in me when He knit me together in my mother's womb, and the time seems to be right for some of those deposits to be unearthed, discovered, and mined.
The process has been different because I'm definitely not leading it. I'm not pounding on God's door asking for Him to let me in and show me what's up. I'm walking through my life - fairly satisfied and content - focusing on what He has for me now. Yet He showed up and started whispering - reminding me of things I had forgotten, laid down, let go of.
The more He whispered, the less I could ignore the growing longing in my own heart. Not all-consuming this time. Not so intense I feel like it will burn me up. Much more gentle, like coals glowing after a bonfire has died out. What is left will burn much longer than the impressive-looking flames. And even after the coals turn to ash, they will continue giving life, feeding the soil around them.
So I have these new dreams that are actually old. Longings I had dismissed in my teens, actually, as silly, too lofty, etc. Now I find myself looking at my husband and saying, "why not? why should we automatically say 'we could never do that'?" For maybe, just maybe, that's exactly where He'll lead us next.
Linking up with Jen at Soli Deo Gloria today. Be sure to stop by some of the other posters' sites - there's always lots of encouragement to go around!