I want to share with you something that happened to me that blew my mind open when it came to the structure of reality.
I used to be a Presbyterian minister. I was a country pastor for five years following my ordination. I was then invited to plant a church in another province. I took up the challenge with great hopes that I would finally be able to build the kind of church I envisioned from scratch. Within two years it had fallen into the same, boring, soul-killing rut I thought I had escaped from.
The sadness I felt one night was beyond compare. I felt completely hopeless and full of despair. I could not see my way out or forward. We tucked our young children into bed. When Lisa and I finally went to bed later, my head was enveloped in an thick darkness that I couldn't see through. I was at the end of my rope with not even enough left to hang myself. I was totally trapped. The worst feeling in the world. I fell asleep.
Then, I had a dream. In the dream, I heard the words,"It's time!" That was it. When I woke up, around 6am, I started laughing. Out loud! I was laughing because, somehow, the dream had punctured my illusion of being trapped. I realized I wasn't trapped at all. I was free! It dawned on me, in a flash, that I only felt trapped because I was afraid of acting free. I was afraid of the consequences of acting on the freedom that was already mine. The consequences were not having a job, losing my income, and figuring out how to take care of my family. It was daunting, yes, but it wasn't impossible. The dream made me realize that I was free, free, free!
I was laughing so hard that I woke up Lisa. I was laughing so hard that I woke up the kids. All three came running in and jumped on the bed and all five of us were laughing together. They didn't know why they were laughing. They were just laughing with me. It took me a while to find the breath to explain to Lisa what happened."Honey! I'm free. We're free! We can do whatever we want!"
The joy was measureless!
Within two weeks I had resigned, we sold almost all our possessions, packed the rest in our minivan, and drove into the sunset. We embarked on one of the most exciting and adventurous periods of our lives. We will never forget it.
The huge lesson I learned?: If I think I'm trapped, I am.
I saw, and experientially felt, a significant spiritual truth: my mind shapes my reality.
Feeling trapped? In your church? In your theology? In your marriage? In your job? Being a part of a supportive community can provide just the help you might need to think and feel free. Join us at The Lasting Supper