I had a dream just before I woke up this morning. It seemed like it lasted forever, although I know that’s never true with dreams. Somehow they capture in moments what, in “real life”, would take hours or even days to occur. A little glimpse of the magic of eternity. Timeless.
But this dream was not heaven-like. I won’t go into details because it’s morbid and uber disturbing and I am still reeling from the emotion of it all. I woke up incredibly grief-stricken and unbelievably exhausted from the experience. In the dream, I was trying to yell but had no voice. I was trying to help, but everything happening was beyond my control. I was desperately grasping for ways to fix or change the situation and I couldn’t. There were people looking at me with blank eyes that I couldn’t reach because my screaming voice would only come out as a whisper.
The effects of this dream still linger. I know that in it lies pictures of the real life wrestling matches that go on in my mind. Things I grapple with. Things beyond my control.
Frustrated will. I had a conversation about this topic this past week. Frustrated will is a term I became familiar with years ago in Phoenix, during my “cave” experience there.
Frustrated will is when everything in you wants to change something from the past, fix something beyond your reach or eliminate something that you have no control over. It’s a powerful feeling of helplessness.
Regret falls deeply into the well of frustrated will. We long to change something that happened in the past, whether it’s something we did or didn’t do, or something that was done to or not done for us. An intense desire to make all things right.
The problem with frustrated will and regret is that they will always just be what they are – frustrated will and regret. Both live in the past, a place where none of us can return to even if we wanted to. But for some reason, our eyes shift from time to time to looking back over our shoulder, back through time, and wishing there was something we could do to make it better.
The thing is, our eyes were put on the front of our heads for a reason. God’s intention for us is to look forward, to look up, to look around. The path we’re meant to walk on is in front of us, not behind us. Healing and forgiveness and new direction lie in the place where we live right now – the present. They are the steps in the journey that lead us into the bright future that awaits.
God’s will is never frustrated. It is always directionally forward facing. He sees the future and longs to bring us with Him into it. Safe in His arms. Content in His wisdom. Thankful in His presence. Changed by His grace. And as we let Him turn our heads upward into His face and forward into His future, the past dims in significance. Its grip loosens. And our feet are freed to follow Jesus.
My disturbing and heartbreaking dream was just that. And it is done. As is my frustrated will. As I go on with my day moving forward, the sting of my night terror will ease and be replaced by the joy of the present and the hope of the future. And the very real presence of the God who is for me and with me every step of the way.
Romans 8:28 & 31 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose…What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Philippians 3:13 – No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,
Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Philippians 1:6 – And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.