Wake Up to Life
For one whose only sense of existence comes from shutting out the world and resting in the arms of sleep, waking up can be a painful process. If there is no reason to wake up, the experience can be absolutely devastating. When I first heard the gentle call to wake up to the world where dreams become reality, I did not want to listen.
But the One who called does not lose patience or give up hope. His voice grew stronger though I didn’t have the ears to hear it. All I knew was that my dream world no longer satisfied my deepest longings. I didn’t know what, but I wanted more.
I tried to force the dream to change, but in the process I began to wake up. Then something unusual happened. Usually, a sleeping person does not remember much of what happened while he or she was asleep. But I have been given a special gift.
As I began to wake, I began to write. Through the haze of darkness, my pencil floated over page after page of loose-leaf paper describing things that I did not understand. I did not know that I was about to wake up, but I did know this hazy process was something I would want to remember someday.
Perhaps I could have awakened earlier, but for the first 20 years of my life I was comfortable being asleep and did not realize there was a life to wake up to. Even though one could say I felt a gentle shaking, I never roused myself beyond the point of wondering what it was. It took a lively splash of water to force me out of the dream world and show me something of the life I would some day live.
As my eyes became accustomed to the light that shone around me, I began to see objects that reflected the dream world I was leaving. Or, perhaps the objects in the dream world had been reflections of what I was now beginning to see. I was no longer home in either world.
Seeing neither the reality I knew while asleep nor the world around me as it would soon appear, I wandered about as if sleepwalking. Drifting through a year of broken dreams and deconstructed reality, I attempted to understand what had changed. I knew that I had been woken up, but I could not figure out why.
Then one day my dismal reverie was shattered by a flash of lightning. For a moment, I glimpsed the reality of a world in which light produces clarity. When the darkness is gone, the shadows reveal their true nature. The things I had known in my religious sleep became real as I woke up to the relationship that I wanted so desperately to live.
For a moment, the fairy tale world of the Kingdom of God crashed into my life. In the same moment it was gone. It left behind a burning desire to discover its truth and a whisper of promise that one day I would.
Impatiently, I waited and tried to force the remnants of my dream world to merge with my new surroundings. But I could not figure out how to live in the real world apart from the lifestyle I had brought from my sleep.
I did not know how to create something new, though I tried very hard. Frustrated in my attempts to create a moral lifestyle from the faith I was coming to understand, I slowly began to realize that I could not live a Christian life.
My failure led to questions of whether the faith I now had was real. Had I simply waked into a dream within a dream? Had I simply adopted a new list of existential principles that I would use as the foundation for my life?
My heart had come alive, but I could not bring myself to live as if this were true. I had once believed my dream world to be real. How would I ever know that the world I had come to know as real was actually real?
Underneath all of the questions, the spark of hope I had received continued to grow until it became a burning desire for love. However, when I began to pursue love, I failed.
I did not realize that the evidence of faith would reveal itself in the fruit of my life as I pursued the One that faith was meant to reveal. If I pursued the results, I would find only frustration and doubt. Ending the search for the reason why I was now bewildered and awake, I began to search for the One who had awakened me. Perhaps He would have an answer to my questions.
We already had a relationship, but it needed to grow. An intimate relationship requires intimate knowledge of the other person. This knowledge comes through interaction and communication: especially listening.
As I began to listen for God, my life began to change in ways I did not expect. As I began to experience His love, I began to feel love and its accompanying heart break. As I began to experience emotion, I began to feel joy and its accompanying sorrow. As I began to experience suffering, I began to feel even more peace.
I had been awakened to love – to life. The questions that I once had did not receive answers. “Life is not about the right answers but the right relationship” – Molly Reich.
When I pursued the relationship, the questions became irrelevant. When I began to see the light, the shadows of darkness vanished. I knew that I had finally found something real.
In joy, I began to serve the One who had given me this gift. Like most of my relationships, I defined its value based on what I could do for God. I was a servant, but I was happy.
It seemed, however, that God was not content to let me enjoy this new relationship that I had begun to appreciate and attempt to live out. He knew that I would never be satisfied with my service. I would never be able to do enough. There was one more step I needed to take before that burning desire for love became a blazing sun by which I would view my life.
In a life-altering trip to Colorado bolstered by what I had already discovered about God, I came to understand one of the most valuable lessons of Christianity: The relationship of the servant is based on the action of the one who works. The relationship of a son is one that is unchanged by reason of the Father’s choice. I knew that I had been adopted into the family of God. I was on the Road to Royalty!
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