I’m running through a large dark house. I’m terrified, wanting so badly to leave. But for some reason I am driven by an invisible force, roaming from empty room to empty room, looking for paper notes from God.
The notes are supposed to help, give me peace and answers. But instead they are making everything worse. I am crying and dreading going into each room, but I go into the darkened room and search around with a flashlight until I find a pink paper heart with writing on it.
“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” I recognize it from James 4:8. I stumble sobbing to the next room and find the next note, it reads “Seek ye the lord while he may be found” , from Isaiah 55:6. I’m so frustrated. I am seeking! Why can’t he see that?
In the next room I find a pink heart with the words “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It’s from Romans 9:15, the section on predestination that basically says that God only loves some people, and hates others, based only on his whims.
My heart sinks. God still doesn’t want me. Why does he keep playing this game of pretending that if I just search harder, ask more questions, that I will find him, or feel his presence. When in reality I’m just not one of the people that he loves. I never have been.
I find a bedroom that looks like mine and run into the bed to wake up my husband. Please pray with me! I plead, there is a dark presence in this house and it’s oppressing me, hell is sucking me in. He laughs at me.
I wake up in my bed, heart racing. I can’t stop the panic attack, God is out to get me. I try to relax enough to breath, and pray silently until I regain movement in my limbs. Then I wake my husband and ask him to pray with me. Of course, he does; and slowly I relax in his arms. And slowly, I start to fall back asleep.
It’s frustrating. No matter how far I’ve come, God is still terrifying to me. I don’t hear the voices anymore. But once in awhile, I still have nightmares. They almost always involve either my parents telling me how wrong I am, me being the mother I don’t want to be and hurting my kids somehow, or nightmares about God.
My dreams about God are never reassuring. It doesn’t matter if I am currently feeling close to God or far from him. The dreams always feel the same somehow. God hating me, God laughing at me, God condemning me. Looking at this dream written out, it seems ridiculous that it could have been so scary while actually dreaming it, but it was. It feels silly that this would scare me, I mean seriously, who else has nightmares about God? Is it just because I’ve read to much of the bible in my lifetime or what?
In waking life, I don’t really care anymore if I get sent to hell. If God hates me that much, why would I want to spend eternity with him anyways? But in my dreams, I am always transported back to wanting so badly to be good enough for an angry God.
It bothers me that my instinctive reaction to bad dreams is still prayer. Why pray to a God I have nightmares about? A God that seems to be uninterested in me. I know that prayer for me in those moments is largely an attempt to discipline my mind and regain peace. But the oxymoron of praying to a God that was just taunting me in my dream, seems kind of dumb to me.
Why can’t I ever have a peaceful happy dream about God’s love?