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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Failure and Dreams

I had a dream last night. One of those colorful, too real, cannot forget it when you wake up dreams.  I have them now and then. Usually when I  need to pay attention to something about myself. I've had them when I needed to change my attitude about a situation, or when I needed to recognize that situation was good, and right, or bad and wrong!

This dream was terrifying. Beyond terrifying. It was nightmarish. I woke in a sweat. I began praying immediately on waking, asking for clarity. I had nine babies, at the same time. NINE.

I was at home, there were several people around to help, the babies were growing rapidly from snuggly newborns to loud, running, challenging toddlers. The people that were helping with the babies, though, were dropping them, or not paying attention to them. They were showing up, they wanted to help me, but they weren't exactly helpful.

When I decided to write the dream down, I remembered that my partner in the dream, my husband, was comforting, supportive, and sweet with me. He stepped in every time I turned to him. He not only held my hand, but he held me. Even with all of these energetic, growing babies running around. I also noted that the 'people' that were trying to care for the babies were all me. Yep.

I'm no dream interpreter, but I've learned a couple of things about my dreams over the years. Someone that I have trusted in Spiritual matters has studied dream symbols through a biblical view.
I was taught that generally speaking, my husband in my dreams is a symbol for God.

I've also learned that babies in dreams usually signify good things like new beginnings. They can also signify innocence and vulnerability.  What happens with the babies can make a difference, too. It was harder to find information about having multiple babies running around.

I finally found something. *sigh* The indication was that my inability to care for all of those babies is reflective of my feeling inadequate to handle the many changes in my life.

I thought I was dealing with things pretty well. I haven't been spinning out of control. At least, not totally.

I put my kids into school instead of Homeschooling them in anticipation of finding a job. I was hired at a job within two weeks of school beginning. I started a writing course. I put my daughter in A.M. drivers ed (which means we're out the door before 5:30, Yikes!). I gave a commitment to another activity for myself, I signed two of my kids up for baseball (those schedules are wonky!). My husband's workplace is transitioning from one corporate owner, to another.

I've been dealing with anxiety, feelings of failure, and have been physically ill with different viruses and bacterial infections for months.

I believe that I am not performing optimally in any of the areas that I am responsible for. I believe that I am letting people down. I am letting myself down.

I know that "All things work together for the good of those that serve Him", and that I can "Cast all of my cares on Him for He cares for me". These are truths that I cling to. I haven't forgotten them. In fact, I rely on those truths. I cling to them.

I also believe that my emotions, my feelings are real, and should be acknowledged, because sometimes they are telling me that something needs to change, whether it is external or internal, or both.  I read a phrase recently, written by Lisa Tyrkurst (I'm sure I misspelled her name) that "My emotions should have a voice, but they shouldn't be my only voice.)

I've never believed that my emotions had much value. I've been told as much many times, buy as many people. It's best just to trust and forge ahead. This works until it doesn't. Until the moment when I find myself realizing that I cannot stand still for too many seconds in a row, else I'll be a mess of tears and will likely find myself face first on the floor, unable to get back up again.  Failure, though I've been taught through my growing up, isn't an option, it seems to be the thing that I'm the very best at. I know have failed countless times, at numerous things. I know how to confess to may failures, I know how to apologize for them. I know how to learn from failures, and I know very well how to feel guilty and beaten down by them. I know how to pile them up on shoulders and strengthen other parts of my self so that I appear to be walking around just fine, without a load on my back. I thought.

It turns out that it's hard to live that way. It catches up with you. It gives you weird dreams about having nine babies all at once, unable to care for them all.

It seems like the point, for me, is that I am not strong enough by myself. I need God to guide me through. I might drop some of my "babies", (it sounds like such an awful way to speak about the symbolism of babies this way, but it was a dream, so we're all in the same page I hope) but I can turn to God every time I mess up, and He'll help me with it.

I would love to say that He'll help me fix it, or get through it, or make it right and be all smiles. But I have to trust that anyone reading this knows that life on Earth doesn't always go that way. Sometimes our thoughts, dreams, and new beginnings suffer hardship and strain. Sometimes they just die. They weren't the right thing, or we didn't nurture them well.  Sometimes they grow into something unmanageable.

I don't know if I'll have to drop something out, or if I just need to re-evaluate my time and methods. Probably that. Time and Methods. Ugh. I'm always teaching my kids about time management, but I'm terrible at it in my personal life. I can get tasks done, but beyond that, I want to do what's fun! Or maybe not do what isn't.

So many mornings and evenings, I put my head in my hands and think about the ways that I failed in the previous 24 hours, determined not to fail the same way again. Not only does my mind find new ways to fail, it's memory is going, and likes to repeat some of the already tried ways, too.

Being flesh inherently means that I am going to fail, repeatedly. I hope and pray that these are learning experiences, and that I grow through at least some of them!  I hope that tonight, or tomorrow morning, when my head and my hands meet, that when I pour out the grief of my failures, I will come back up to face some of my successes. Remember some of my wins. Remind myself that there is hope that my failure will somehow have some positive outcome somewhere for someone.

I hope that you will share your struggles with the people around you, too. If we always appear as strong and in control, then how can we ever share the hope and change of the Gospel?

I know there's a way to be strong and vulnerable in the right places and the right ways. Tell me if you've learned it. I'm still in the trenches!

~ The ZooMama

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