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Monday, August 21, 2006

Sleep deprivation, Psychosis and my dreams. Part One.




I had another dream last night. I haven't told you about the other dreams because frankly, I was afraid. I know, I know. You don't peg me as one to be afraid. True. I'm not...usually.

I knew this pastor; he was a very talented and gifted teacher. Our families became close friends and we enjoyed each other's company. Or so I thought. Now I'm not so sure if he was just pretending to like us because that's what he thought a pastor was supposed to do. I thought he was genuine, but I can't be sure about that now.

I remember my dreams. A lot of them. A couple years ago (I know the date but I won't bore you with those details) I had a very vivid dream about Jesus. It was refreshing considering I normally have nightmares. I keep a journal and I wrote down the dream before my eyes were even fully open. A couple months later, I was in prayer and that dream came and that pastor came to mind. I sent him a copy of the dream. He didn't respond other than say, "I got the email. I'm sorry I haven't had time to respond."

YEARS later, this pastor accused me behind my back of having some kind of affinity for the mystical. As if I was trying to use my dreams as prophesy or something strange like that. This was while I thought our friendship was real. I still, to this day, don't understand why a friend, a pastor, wouldn't come directly to me if he had something to say. No one's perfect, I understand. But this man constantly talked about confronting issues head on. He had no trouble "knocking on doors." He made the visits to the members who were going astray.

Then there was Phil and me. This friend said he trusted us more than anyone else. And he couldn't come to us to tell me he wasn't clear on where I stood? His accusations and lies cut me to the core. I couldn't fathom that someone who said several times to us, "I prayed for you guys and God brought you to me," could now be spreading lies.

We tried to ask him to meet with us to resolve the issue. He refused. The betrayal of a friend and a teacher was a lot for my soul to carry. I gave my pain to the Only One who is capable of healing. What this friend and teacher did made me question my ability to discern the things of God. I fell into a depression that I hadn't seen in quite some time. Fourteen years, to be exact.

(And I JUST realized something as I typed that. It was fourteen years TO THE MONTH, EXACTLY, that I had been that depressed. I'll have to write about that.)

When a trusted friend lies and allows people to believe lies, it hurts. There is no other way to explain it. The betrayal of a loved friend, a respected teacher, and a brother in Christ carries the ability to drive the knife the deepest. I questioned myself and my relationship with God because of this. I wondered if I was dabbling with things of the past. The dark past I've mentioned before. Maybe I lying to myself. Maybe I really didn't belong to God? Did I have these dreams because I belonged to the enemy? Was I allowing myself to be used by the enemy? People seemed to be afraid to talk about dreams. Why? I just didn't understand.

I was reading in Job chapter thirty-three one morning and happened upon these verses: (15) He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in bed. (16)He whispers in their ear and terrifies them with his warning. (17)He causes them to change their minds; he keeps them from pride.

Tomorrow, I'll indroduce you to studies that have been done on sleep deprivation and psychosis, some of my thoughts, and more of the story.










Note: Curm are you reading this? Remember this? Joshua 5:10 says that while the Israelites were camped at Gilgal--healing--they kept the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth (day of the month) Does this fourteenth year signify a new beginning for me? I can barely get the words out. In the Beth Moore Study, "Believing God" she teaches on this very passage in Joshua. She explains that being uncircumcised was a way of wearing their reproach, their disgrace. "At Gilgal, God cut away the sign of their unbelief. They wore the mark of their new beginning." She goes on to say, "Often a wounding precedes our full reception of God's promises, but healing always follows." She also uses an analogy of pregnancy. (I'm paraphrasing and taking her example a bit further) The first 14 days of a woman's cycle are in total preparation for conception. A surge in a particular hormone on about the 14th day of the cycle triggers ovulation. A mature egg is released where it is then in a position to be fertilized. Now there is a new creation, a new beginning. I don't really care if it sounds ludicrous!! I find it totally fascinating!!

3 comments:

Heather said...

I am so sorry you have had to deal with this. Painful.
I do not consider myself a mystic, but I would like to hope that I am open to however God chooses to work, and I believe that differs to a degree in different cultures. For example, I have several friends ministering in Muslim contexts. All have affirmed that they have never seen a Muslim come to Christ without a dream or vision.
I also have vivid dreams, and most often nightmares. Most of them, I chalk up to an over-active imagination. Some go on my list of book ideas. But I also think that some help me work through emotions. Maybe it is God working. Maybe it is just my personality.

Shannon said...

Oooh, this IS fascinating! And we'll be starting the Believing God study in a couple of weeks ... I can't wait!!!

Michelle Pendergrass said...

Heather--I find it simply ironic that you mention that (about Muslims and dreams) I know I have heard that from people I have met who have ministered to Muslims. Wow. I think I might have to look into that a bit more.

I do believe that God works through my dreams. I don't know how many days I'll be at this, but I'll get to that part in a day or two.



Shannon--are you guys doing Believing God as a group or online? OH you are in for a LIFE CHANGE. I would not do a Beth Moore study because I'm not a "bandwagon" kind of person and I thought that's all there was to her. Uhm yeah. God is up there laughing at me (again!) When you've finished the study, I'd like to send you the miracle that happened during the study. Make a little note in the back of your book with my email address so you don't forget!