Dreams are exciting. They can be wonderful-exciting but they can also be scary-exciting–at least until you wake up from them.
How can you tell if you’re dreaming? Sometimes you can’t until you wake up. You need something to compare and contrast with your dream. Once you’re awake you can do a reality check. “That was so weird. Thank God that was only a dream.”
The way you understand the world is constantly changing. As a child, what you experience early on becomes your best understanding of what the world is all about. If that experience was horrible or even neutral, you’ll form that kind of worldview and self-image. From there your understanding will continue to roll downhill unless something happens to point you in a new direction.
Thank God that He has redeemed us. He is calling us out of darkness, as if we were waking up from a bad dream.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.1 Peter 2:9-10 NIV
Having mercy and never having received mercy are two very different places to be.
What you experience becomes truth to you until something more true takes its place. Something totally wrong can seem obviously true. When God gives you a new heart and exposes you to the light, only then can you see the contrast. This experience can be so shocking, it’s hard to discern what is true and what is false. A psychological term for this is cognitive dissonance.
Cognitive dissonance is good for you. When you struggle to make sense of life, you are experiencing an opportunity to grow–to move further into the light. You should be experiencing this emergence all the time. Here are some examples:
- Do you remember the first time you realized that Santa Clause wasn’t real?
- Have you developed your own worldview, or are you still running off of your parent’s worldview?
- How does your view of the opposite sex compare to when you were 10 years old?
- If you’re married, do you remember what you thought marriage was before you got married?
- What was your life like before you became a Christian? How do you see God differently now?
How have you changed in the past year? What has God been doing to “wake you up” from your false beliefs? Take a moment to thank God for His light. Ask Him to shine it upon you so you can see more clearly.
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.Numbers 6:24-26 NIV