God showed me a rather strange dream last night, and it's been stuck in my brain, wandering about for the day, so I thought I'd write it down here. You can think whatever you like about it, but what it is remains what it is.
In my vision, I saw a figure. Misfigured, made up of layer upon layer of fat, covered in smoker's stains, abused, beaten, tainted, dirty, unwanted. It was so hideous and ugly that I could barely make out the gender of it. Yet I knew that the thing was me - it was me "in my sin".
I carried the burdens of a thousand years of guilt, yet as I looked upon this figure of myself, I was sorrowful. And I realized that I was sitting at the foot of the cross. And my soul longed to be rid of who I was, of this body that I felt did not belong to me.
Suddenly I began to shed. The layers of skin and fat and grime and dirt and bruises fell off of me. Everything fell off of me until there I was. I was me - only better. I was the most perfect version of myself I'd ever seen. And I was naked and beautiful and dancing while laughing and smiling in the glory of the cross. I felt as if this was perhaps what my soul looked like when I first fully accepted Christ and delighted in him completely.
And then Jesus looked on me and smiled. He held me in his arms and I felt as if he desired me. He wanted me to be united to him completely. I felt as if this was the kind of desire a husband would have for his wife on his wedding night, only it was God's desire for me.
But I was scared. I didn't think I was worthy enough and I resisted. I ran away to someone else. I fled his glory for fear that I was unworthy of it, and in the darkness that followed being away from him, a new layer of my old skin fell on me.
As I looked upon this new self, I became disheartened and sad. I realized that while I was scared of returning to Jesus, that I felt completely unworthy of his love, that I equally knew that I didn't want this extra burden upon me - and that a part of me longed for the joy I felt in his arms. So I returned. Only this time, it took a bit longer to get off that extra layer. Jesus had to scrub me, and I had to scrub too.
He still loved me, he still desired me, he still was madly in love with me, but he was hurt that I had run away. But I felt as if he knew that I might well do it again at the same time.
And that's where the dream ended.
I think it might be a big metaphor for our lives, or if not for yours, then definitely for mine. I have a tendency to want to do everything myself. I often feel as if I need to earn someone's respect or friendship, even their love. And if I don't meet the expected conditions of the relationship, then they won't take me.
But God doesn't work that way. I've never really thought of God as a lover, as a husband who desires me, but maybe that might be on way he wants to reveal himself to me, to you, and particularly to women who continue to be misused, abused, and manipulated by the men around them. God loves us, desires us, wants us to be united to him, but we must be willing to accept him. In our unworthiness, he makes us perfect. In our weakness, he makes us strong. In our grief, he brings overflowing joy. And in our meekness and lost self-worth, he redeems us to beyond what we ever have been.
Don't run away. You'll only be carrying a burden that was never meant to be carried. And you'll have to scrub a little harder when you come back to make things right again.