I woke up at 5:30 this morning from a bad dream. Or at least for me it was. I always hate when they happen during the morning, because then you can’t decide whether to go back to sleep or stay up and ponder it. I decided to sleep, but it was still in the back of my mind. So I tried to come up with some nice images in my head, because the last thing you think about before you go unconscious is most likely the thing you’ll dream about. I thought of the beach, heaven, tacos. I fell out immediately. Then I woke up about 2 hours later and started my day. The dream was still getting to me, but I pushed the thoughts away. I made myself the new salad I fell in love with last week and turned on the t.v. to the news channels. Riots. Protests. Shootings. I flinched and changed the channel. It’s hard for me to hear about so much bad in one sitting; how the world is in such pain and turmoil. My mood started to take a damper turn as I thought about all the lives that were lost and the offended people. All the hatred and confusion. But then I had another thought, actually it was a song. It’s one of those “pick-me-upper” old hymnals you would hear in church in the ’70’s. I started singing that for awhile and doing some spontaneous worship, and that very minute, I felt loads better. None of the circumstances had changed but something inside me did. It’s a kind of indescribable joy when you start thanking God. If people had been watching me, they probably would have thought I was strange. I should be freaking out like everyone else, right? Why would I praise God for no reason at all?
That’s when I realized something, I guess I already knew it, but it’s much different when you actually live it out. It might not be apparent to anyone else but you that God is good, but that doesn’t mean He isn’t still good. When you take the time to forget everything that’s going on with the world and give Him your time, it’s good for you spiritually and emotionally. Everyday, I find myself bombarded with thoughts of hatred thrown at me. Thoughts of hatred thrown by an enemy I can’t even see. I’m worried about my family, my relationships with my friends, my church, my future, my health…my dog! It can all be so overwhelming. Sometimes it’s just too much to take on all at once so I just stopping thinking. But instead of doing that, I should be spending more time in praise & worship. More quality time where I really focus on receiving joy instead of dwelling on how everything will work out. God doesn’t always care that you get through things, He cares about how you get through it. I know it’s different when you’re in the middle of the situation. When you’re the one stuck in city traffic because there’re protestors marching. Or when you can’t see your uncle because he’s in a foreign country and immigration is sticky now. Or even when you’re walking down the street just being you and someone looks at you sideways because you’re part of a race that’s giving their race trouble. It’s hard to be comfortable and it’s hard to keep smiling. But I would encourage you, especially right now, keep on smiling. Keep loving. You’re not doing it for them, you’re doing it for God. Just like you woke up from a nightmare, you can take a few seconds if you’re at work or at home with your kids. Go to the bathroom or quiet room, close your eyes and picture yourself in a far away place. Once you see yourself there, picture that it’s just you and God there together, and that He’s holding your handing; that He’s walking through every step of this day. Believe it because He is. He’s even in control of this crazy world.
It may seem like God has left us all to our own devices for too long and doesn’t care about us anymore, but I believe in a God who’ll eventually step in and set things right again. I realized all that within just a couple of minutes of acknowledging God. It’s funny, because when I imagine those places I wanna go, like Ireland, Spain, Italy, France, and England, there always seems to be something missing. It’s never enough to just dream of those places without the real source of happiness there, too. So be happy, be healthy, and go out and spread it across a world that needs it.
P.S., here’s some pictures of the place I’m dying to go:
And many more after that…