When the bee stings

I’ve been known to have really odd dreams. I remember being a kid and it being the same way, Anyway, this morning I woke up from a dream that left me feeling unsettled. I was in a field. Open, green, and full of people. The day was warm and bright and the sky was blue and then..the sky was full of bees. Me and three other people were farther back than the rest of a large crowd and I could see people getting stung over and over. And then everyone was running. Even though we got a good start because we were farther back I got stung by a few. At one point I was with someone. A girl I think. It was just the two of us and we ran until we reached a town. Everyone looked at us kind of strangely because we were swollen in spots from the bee stings. I went the pharmacy and told them to give some kind of shot to my friend first, then me. I was more concerned about the girl I was with than myself. I think her stings were worse. After I got my shot I pulled up my pant leg to look at one swollen spot as it started to disappear. Another bee landed, crawled around a bit on my skin, arched it’s back, and stung me. Then I woke up.

I’m not a dream interpreter but there are times when I have dreams where I feel like it could mean something more than just my crazy imagination. I don’t spend an awful lot of time thinking about it but I also know the Bible discusses dreams as well. Two quick examples is in Genesis 41 when Pharaoh’s dream was interpreted and then when the angel appeared to Joseph when Mary was pregnant with Jesus in Matthew 1. With that in mind I wanted to see if there was anything I could find in the Bible about my dream.

There wasn’t a ton about bees. Actually there was more about the product of bees which is honey. Since there wasn’t honey in my dream I didn’t want to focus on that. With that in mind the two verses that seemed possible for me to apply to my dream were Deuteronomy 1 and Psalm 118. In Deuteronomy it discusses the Amorites who “swarmed all over like a hive of bees”. I’m not a Bible expert so I reminded myself about the story. The Amorites were large warriors and something to be feared. So when God said their land was intended for the Israelites it’s kind of clear why they would be nervous approaching their territory. In Verse 6 (MSG) God says “You’ve stayed long enough at this mountain. On your way now. Get moving.” He has prepared this land before them and yet they were still in doubt. Moses goes on to say: “29-33 I tried to relieve your fears: “Don’t be terrified of them. God, your God, is leading the way; he’s fighting for you. You saw with your own eyes what he did for you in Egypt; you saw what he did in the wilderness, how God, your God, carried you as a father carries his child, carried you the whole way until you arrived here. But now that you’re here, you won’t trust God, your God—this same God who goes ahead of you in your travels to scout out a place to pitch camp, a fire by night and a cloud by day to show you the way to go.””

And then in Psalm 118:12 (NIV) “They swarmed around me like bees, but they died out as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them off.”

Looking at those two verses I could interpret my dream at face value as my enemies: i.e. Satan, feelings of inadequacy, past mistakes, goals that have yet to come to fruition, etc as worries or thoughts that swarm like bees around me, but because of God’s promises and through the power of his Word they can be cut off and removed knowing the land that waits before me is good and will be delivered to me.

I found one Christian “Dream Interpreter” via Google and she had an online reference for keywords:

http://www.unlockingyourdreams.org:

Bee/hornet – painful; strong demonic attack

Running – faith; perseverance; working out one’s salvation; moving forward with purpose

If I look at her interpretation the bees are a painful and strong demonic attack and the crowd I was with was running away from those attacks could be other Christians. Many people were defeated by those attacks but myself and another girl ended up in a town where we found a pharmacy and were healed.

I also stumbled upon another Christian “Dream Interpreter” who I’ve seen once on tv, John Paul Jackon. It actually shocked me because I was originally just looking to see if he has any dream dictionary or reference information I could quickly pull up. And that’s when I saw it “GETTING RID OF BEES”. He wrote about BEES.

http://www.streamsministries.com/resources/dreams-visions/getting-rid-of-bees

Knowing I was facing imminent death, I took a deep breath and blew with everything I had. To my shock, a huge number of bees lifted off the house and disappeared! Full of courage, I did it again. Three breaths later, I could see that the house was completely clean.

The angel looked at me and said, “Never allow the enemy to do that to you again! The Spirit of the Living God will stop it if you will let Him come forth from you. Never stop the breath of God!”

I don’t know about you but I was really impressed. Jackson also had dreams about bees. They were everywhere in a swarm and ready to attack. However the attacks/stings stopped through the breath of God, through the Word of God, and in His power. If I look back at the dream there was a crowd. A large crowd. And many of them were being stung more severely than those of us on the outskirts. It reminded me of 1 Peter (NIV): “8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings”. In essence all of us were being stung, but to varying degrees. Maybe we knew what to expect and therefore were ready to flee when the swarms of bees showed up in the middle of a beautiful warm day. Maybe we were used to it? At any rate we were ready to run and anxious to be relieved from the pain.

I think in this season of my own life and for many of my other friends struggling with anxiety, fear, monetary lack, sickness, and other hardships it’s difficult to always understand the physical and emotional pain you are going through. I mean geez even Dream Jess is being chased and stung by bees! However it’s good to remember that no weapon formed against us will prosper..even if we do continue to get stung. Nothing is wasted and nothing is deliberate pain or torture inflicted by God. And like the Israelites we have all “stayed too long on this mountain”. Everyone’s mountain is different but God wants us to leave it behind, abandon all fear, and run towards the blessings and provision that He has waiting.

Psalm 118

28 You are my God, and I will praise you;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.

29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

The Drought Ends

It’s a new work week and instead of feeling well rested after the weekend I actually feel totally depleted. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I had horrible bouts of insomnia. No matter what I did I could not stay asleep. Friday I woke up out of a deep sleep and remained up from 1 am – 4 am. Saturday I could not fall asleep and when I did I slept for about 4 hours. And last night..well last night you would think out of sheer exhaustion it would have been easy to drift off to sleep but I went to bed and woke up an hour later.

 

I prayed out loud that Jesus does not give me a spirit of fear, that I do not have to be awake or anxious because Jesus has won this fight I am going through and therefore a sound mind and heart are mine to claim. However, while it settled me to a degree I feel like the storm raged on–less intense but still enough to remain in a state of unrest. The one last night actually resulted in bodily tremors almost like I was freezing even though I wasn’t all that cold. And yet during that time I found some verses that were kind of incredible despite everything I was going through:

“You pulled me from the brink of death, my feet from the cliff-edge of doom. Now I stroll at leisure with God in the sunlit fields of life” – Psalm 56:13

“…under God’s mighty hand he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” – 1 Peter 5:6

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters you will not go down…I paid a huge price for you…that’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.” – Isaiah 43:1-6

“I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand” – Isaiah 51:16

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and he got our hopes up, he has his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone” – Ephesians 1:11-12

“You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights,  Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book” – Psalm 56:8

“The minute I said “I’m slipping, I’m falling” your love God took hold and held me fast. When i was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up” – Psalm 94:16-19

It’s hard because I honestly feel horrible the majority of the time. I’ve lost weight over the course of Summer-Fall 2013, I’m quick to get sick which never used to happen, I’m overly stressed mentally, my body has daily aches and pains, I’m not resting properly when it’s time to decompress and relax for sleep and yet I’m clinging to what I know to be true. Jesus is my defender and my deliverer and nothing will destroy the good he has for me. I know the plans he has for me are all positive. My faith has overcome the world and because I am a child of God I will overcome my present circumstances (1 John 5:4). And yet it is still challenging to walk in the knowledge that this is a temporary struggle when it feels like in every way you’ve reached your limit and there is no end in sight.

I came into the office this morning with a note from a friend about a message she heard at her church yesterday:

I pretty much was in tears throughout the service especially when the pastor said what do you do when you are doing all you know to do and nothing is happening. It’s like people are passing you in circles while you are standing still feeling like you are stuck. Then you hear the thoughts in your mind that this job is all you will ever have, nobody wants you, you aren’t good enough, you don’t have the qualifications and so on.

He came from the scripture 1 Kings 18:41-45 when there was a drought happening but Elijah believed the message he heard from God that it was going to rain. He sent Ahab to go look in the sea to see if it was filled and Ahab did it but didn’t see anything and it wasn’t until the 7th time that he went to look that it started to rain. He pretty much said this year is going to be a year where we can’t see things in a logical sense. He said God is preparing us and showing us things on a  deeper spiritual level and in order to be ready for the move of God we have to look past what we see. If all this turmoil is going on then you know God is up to something great because the title of that verse is the drought ends. We need to always have the word of God in us and ready to speak it in our circumstances so we can use it back to him because His word will not return to him void but accomplish what He pleases and prosper you.

 

And so in the midst of my exhaustion I will renew my mind with the promise of rain.

Because of Them

One of my favorite verses is Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” I think the word “them” applies to a lot of different situations for people: money, health issues, memories of abuse, a journey of recovery from addiction, etc. All of us have a looming “them” that fills us with fear even though we may know we are not going through these things alone. For me here and now in this season of my life that applies to any time I feel anxiety setting in. Ever since the summer I have struggled with panic attacks. I know everyone deals with stress differently and even though I’ve had a handful in my life this was happening multiple times a week and sometimes even twice in a day. My workload in the office was insurmountable this year with the highlight being in the summer and it still hasn’t teetered out. The verbal abuse any time I requested help or problems came up was excruciating and it was difficult for me to not feel badly about myself because of it. Sundays were hard for me because I knew I was going to work the next day and it’s like my body was bracing itself for impact. Sometimes I would be nervous staying in the city late for weekly events because I felt alone and if something were to happen to me because of my panic attacks I would be too far from home to be picked up. People would see me falling apart. People would know I was nuts or something.

Most days I would be sitting on the bus to or from work and I would pull up this verse and read it over and over to myself in my head. Sometimes I would take a deep breath or hold my breath in between words “(inhale) Be strong and courageous (exhale). (Inhale and hold breath) Do not be afraid or terrified because of them (your anxious thoughts, your indigestion, your racing thoughts, your bubbling nausea) (exhale) For the Lord your God goes with you. (inhale) He will never leave you (exhale) or forsake you (repeat). As silly as that sounds it gave me something to focus on. I carry around ginger candy or cough drops too sometimes as a means of calming my tight throat down. To settle the nausea that I often get when I start to rev up. I keep my iPod handy to drown out my own thoughts when my mind desperately tries to churn over thoughts and worries until I actually feel like I could black out from worry and exhaustion.

I wanted to write this today because even though I still struggle with anxiety and even though it is something I’ve never dealt with before– I am seeing myself improve. I don’t have anxiety attacks for as long in duration as I once did for one. I’m learning to use different tools to combat it and I try to use scripture to settle myself down when I see the signs of anxiety start to set in:

           2 Corinthians 10:5

The Message (MSG)

3-6 The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

In other words I try to take every thought captive. In the office I’ve noticed towards the end of 2013 and still into this year that people have also come to me to vent about how poorly their health is and that they are struggling with anxiety-related health issues i.e. heartburn, acid-reflux, panic attacks, ulcers, and more. And if anything as dire as it seems, if I’m honest, to be just another wounded person in this office I also know that I’m set apart because I at least know who my Healer is. I’m at the very least able to renew my mind and body through His promises and Word. Do you ever think about that? Some days I literally say to myself if I wasn’t a Christian I would have lost it by now. 100% The things in my current life/past and most people’s are incredibly dark. It’s easy to spiral. Some days I think how badly I feel or how painful this trial is for me personally and I even feel like a poor example of a Christian sometimes. Like shouldn’t I be better at finding joy? Why am I letting this eat away at me? And yet even at my absolute worst I still know that I am on the right track. I’m on a treatment plan if you will but the people around me are still sick.

It’s hard for me to know why I am here in this often toxic environment and although I have one Christian co-worker even she is falling apart. I came into the office with a private email from her saying that once again she’s at her breaking point. She wants to quit. She almost did yesterday after I left for the day. It’s not easy when everyone’s falling down like Dominoes around you. And yet I know His promises for me are for good and not evil. He promises to give me hope and a future. He knows me and my co-worker and everyone in my office for that matter intimately and longs to bring us into the fullness of what he has prepared in advance for us.

Exodus 23: 20-24 “Now get yourselves ready. I’m sending my Angel ahead of you to guard you in your travels, to lead you to the place that I’ve prepared. Pay close attention to him. Obey him. Don’t go against him. He won’t put up with your rebellions because he’s acting on my authority. But if you obey him and do everything I tell you, I’ll be an enemy to your enemies, I’ll fight those who fight you….25-26 “But you—you serve your God and he’ll bless your food and your water. I’ll get rid of the sickness among you… I’ll make sure you live full and complete lives.