I had an interesting dream in December, one full of symbols and a meaning I knew I needed to understand. God was trying to talk to me, but what was He saying?
I was climbing up one of those attic staircases, the rickety kind that fold up into the ceiling when you are not using it. I climbed up into the attic of my church. It looked like a storage room for a museum, containing priceless treasures from all over the world.
One of my pastors met me at the top of the stairs. She had a smile on her face as she offered me a beautiful silver necklace. It looked like it had belonged to royalty. It had many large, silver bangles hanging from it, each one inlaid with a light blue rectangle with a dark blue circle in the center. I hardly noticed the necklace, so it is a wonder that I can remember what it looked like at all.
I politely told my pastor, “No thank you.” I really didn’t even consider accepting such a gift. I was never one to wear large pieces of jewelry, and I just didn’t think it would suite me. Plus I had my eye on something I thought was much more important and exciting. Down the hall was an Egyptian Mummy. As I child I had been fascinated with mummies, getting every book that the library had about the topic and pouring over the pages again and again. I used to dream of becoming an archeologist and traveling to far-away places and uncovering untold treasures.
This mummy was encased in a very plain, clay sarcophagus. It was apparent that I had already spent many painstaking hours chipping away at the clay to reveal the mummy underneath. I was excited about the significant discovery I was going to make, uncovering pieces of history that had not yet been revealed. So far I had only uncovered the feet and the lower portion of the legs, dark and shriveled with age. I was eager to return to my work.
Unfortunately I had left the sarcophagus in the walkway of the attic, and other people were coming and going. I knew I had made a horrible mistake as some people brushed up against the mummy’s legs and feet. I watched in horror as the fragile legs simply disintegrated into dust and blew away. I felt devastated.
I pondered this dream for the next few days and here is what I think it means. The mummy symbolizes human significance, the approval of men, the history books written here on earth. Ever since childhood I have been intrigued by the work of men that can endure long enough for future generations to marvel and wonder. Even now it is a deep need of mine to live a life that makes an impact and leaves a mark on the people of this earth. However, if my focus is on achieving significance that is recognized by men, it will be like working carefully and diligently to reveal a mummy. Anything can destroy that mummy. It will not endure.
I immediately thought of my work to become a writer. I long to be a writer. I tell myself that my writing is mostly for myself, to document all the amazing things that God has done in my life. Every time I type out a story, God’s goodness becomes more real to me. Every time I read over something I had written years ago, I am overcome with the Goodness of God that I had forgotten but now remember again because I took the time to write it down! I tell myself and others that my writing is mostly for my children, to give them a written history of what God has done in our family. These things that I tell myself and others are very true.
Yet, my Big Dream (my Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is that my writing will go all over the world, impacting lives. I want to be like the writers whose words have become a part of me and who have shaped the person that I am. Many of them have died, yet their words live on, still rippling through time, shaping the generations.
I also want to be a writer who makes money from my writing. It seems to me that the only way a writer can really make money and influence lots of people is to become known by the masses, to write a best seller, to have her name mentioned in households everywhere, or to have a blog article go viral. I can’t imagine how this would happen to me, but it is still a dream. I feel like every time I sit down and write something, however small and insignificant it may seem, I am that much closer to achieving that goal. But is my work like chipping away at a mummy?
I think God is trying to keep me on track. When I connect my dreams with the image of that mummy, I shudder with a cold chill. That is not what I want! I do not want to spend my life working for something cold and lifeless that most certainly will be blown away by any small wind of criticism, changing times, or fickle public opinion. If this is my focus, I will most certainly fail. I can only write something of significance if it comes from my relationship with God and is written to please Him.
Next my thoughts turn back to the necklace that I had so flippantly passed by. That must be the treasure that God has for me, the goal of my life. What exactly is that necklace supposed to represent? Silver with light blue and deep blue. A necklace fit for a queen.
I am certain that the necklace represents the presence of God. How could I pass up such a beautiful gift in favor of a mummy? I have begun to evaluate my days with this test – am I going after the necklace or the mummy today?
Many times I think that His presence is my goal, but I get so distracted by getting things done. Many times I think that all I need is His approval but find myself straining to gain the approval of others. Many times I feel so discouraged by how little progress I make on anything measurable during the course of my day. But it is the immeasurable things that really matter in this life. I am determined not to miss those things! This takes exercising my faith and spiritual eyes, because those things are invisible and so easy to pass by. But in the light of eternity, they will grace me with the identity that will last forever…the Bride of the King.
In the months following this dream, I have had several encounters with God. He began to slowly and gently reveal more about His presence and the treasure of this necklace…more about that in my coming articles; Encounters with God Part 2 and 3.