I’ve always been quite the imaginative dreamer. And the odd thing is, I usually remember a large portion of it. Like the other day, Finn was attacking a bird, which then became a hawk that carried him off into the wind only to drop him in a pond and injure his lung. Or there was the time I was about to compete with Derek Hough, and yet we never got to the dance portion because we were too busy sitting on the couch eating fro-yo becoming besties. Sometimes, like these, my dreams are super entertaining and quite mind-boggling. But then other times, they are a lot darker and I wake up in a fright. Unfortunately that’s the kind of dream that shook me this week. I’m not going to get into it, partly because it was a dark place that I would rather not return, but mainly because I want to focus on the words that came out of this dream.
Typically, when I have a nightmare I wake up with a scream as if I am clawing my way out. Then, as quickly as I’ve woken, I scoot my body as close to Chris as I can possibly get and shake him awake. With a click, he turns on the light and I attempt to lock the darkness in the dream that it came from. I lay there for about fifteen to twenty minutes, think happy thoughts and eventually get the courage to attempt sleep yet again. But this time it was different. Wide-awake, cuddled next to Chris with the light on, I could not shake the darkness. Feeling so so heavy, and wrought with fear, my cat jumped up on the bed (which is not atypical) causing me to throw myself even closer to Chris as a gaspy, frightened sob escaped from my mouth. That’s when I knew this wasn’t my average nightmare.
We live in a world where as Jesus says, “there will be trouble… “ So, no matter what we do, no matter how much light we surround ourselves with, as long as we are on this earth we will have to fight against evil. I know this; I know that as a follower of Christ, I am in a battle against the evil one. But lying in bed that night, clinging to Chris like a terrified child, I felt wholly inadequate to fight.
Trying to change my focus, I desperately texted my sister for support. Praise God she happened to be awake, getting ready (at 4 am!?!?) for her earliest day at school and she gave me a mental image. She said, “Min, picture your room full of angels bearing their swords to destroy the evil one.” With my head on Chris' shoulder, I couldn’t help but fear that I was leaving my back unprotected. Quickly, I focused on the visualization my sister gave me as I imagined our king bed full of warriors, armor clanging together as they packed in tightly to protect me. But then I thought, you know what’s even cooler then a room full of angels fighting for me?! Not only do I have the entire Army of God on my side, I have Jesus Christ himself fighting for me. Him, the one who destroyed the power of death through the cross, who conquered evil in the world, is fighting for me as I struggle with fear. He’s exposing the darkness behind me and before me because He is for me and He is with me. That is powerful ya’ll.
Romans 8:31 says, “What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Seriously! Amen!! But I can’t stop there, Romans 8:34-35 continues, “Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died- more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” I'm going to go ahead and continue that question saying, “should gossip, or insecurities, or bullies, or bad dreams separate us from the love of Christ?" Praise God, the answer is a valiant No!!! In fact, verse 39 says, “…neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is crazy - crazy awesome. And extremely encouraging.
Going back to the darkness of my bedroom that night, I knew in my head and in my heart that I had nothing to be afraid of because I know that Jesus has won the victory and nothing can separate me from Him. However, the heaviness was so thick and my brain was so weak in power that this thought alone could not clear the fog. Knowing that God doesn’t just fight for us, but He gives us to the tools we need to fight, I knew that the only way I could get rid of the ickiness I felt was by using the weapon He gave me through His word. Praise God for iPhones where the world is at our fingertips– I quickly pulled up Romans 8, and read the words aloud. With each word that came out of my mouth, I felt more and more like Ironman – completely protected, no tiny bit of flesh exposed, being 100% safe from whatever elements existed on the outside. Feeling the heaviness begin to subside and the darkness begin to lift, I was humbly reminded how incredibly true Ephesians 6:17 is when it says that the Word of the Lord is the “sword of the spirit.” Reading these words out loud, it was as if I was slicing into the darkness, obliterating the evil with the light.
With the fear finally dissipating, what really got me thinking was that in my fear and weakness, I could not pull up enough of the Word of the Lord into my mind to make myself feel protected. I could remember bits and pieces of His truth, but I couldn’t quite form the words like those in Romans 8, that I knew were required to win this fight. Here’s the thing - the only way to dispel lies is with truth. The only way to get rid of darkness is with light. And the only way to fully get rid of the evil one is with the power of Jesus. If I want to be all over here like Ironman, in my suit and ready for battle – then I need to cover myself in His word. Like a tattoo, I need to have scripture written on my heart so deeply that no matter the elements, no matter the fears, anxieties, or sadness, I am ready and able to use it to bring the Light.
As followers of Christ, these battles against the darkness, nights of fitful sleep and spiritual warfare are our reality. I know that might sound a little scary, but please don’t be discouraged. Instead, be empowered by the fact that you play a crucial role as a warrior with Christ fighting off the darkness and building up the army against the evil one. Romans 8:37 says, “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Do you hear that? We are not just fighters in the fight, we are more than conquerors. That is the truth we need to cling to and proclaim when we are overcome with fear.
If you’re afraid, can I challenge you to do one thing? Say the name of Jesus out loud. I know it might feel a little weird at first, but it’s not. There is power in the name of Jesus and it is yours to use. Whether you believe it or not, you are in a battle between dark and light. So claim the everlasting light that's brighter than the LED headlights that make you go blind on the road, and shatter the power of the darkness by simply speaking His name.
Let’s suit up together, cover ourselves in His word and get out there and fight.
-- image and print by Jenny Highsmith--
Jenny is an amazing artist, and she is the lovely lady who designed my new logo that I am so excited to reveal to you!! In fact, stay tuned - by the end of this week (fingers crossed) you will see a whole new lovemin! I can't wait to share it with you.