Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Random Thought Generator

Ever had one of those nights when all you can do is think? I mean that literally- No sleep, no movement, no hunger... Nothing but thoughts running wild in your mind.

That recently happened to me.

According to medical science, our brains get confused at times of extreme sleep deprivation or sleep overload- It begins firing off on all cylinders, pumping out thought after thought a mile a minute. Fortunately, they say, most people do not consciously process all of these "brain sparks," and thus are able to function at near normal capacity. Most, they say, are even able to get to sleep while their brains do this weird bio-electrical spasm.

Lucky them.

I am one of the chosen few who gets to sit up at night and consciously process, and as such, find that I see my life flash before my eyes quite regularly. Even without the life threatening circumstances... Imagine that!

So, anyhow- A few nights ago, I'm laying in bed with my brain doing it's thing, trying to calm it down and get some sleep. I had to be at work for 7am, and it was approaching very quickly.

But the thought in my head just wouldn't leave me alone...

Who am I following? Where am I going?

If you find the above questions to be familiar, it's a paraphrase from the book "Prophet" by Frank Peretti. It is something I've thought a lot about recently. Who am I following? Well, naturally, I will say I'm following God. However, when I say that, immediately my spirit utters a weak, "Uh..." and I am left to ponder whether I am following Him with my full heart, mind and soul.

As I ponder this, the next wave comes. Riding the crest of that thought tsunami like crazed surfers are the verses, "Take every thought captive" and "take up your cross daily."

Sorting through all the history now flashing before me, I can see all the times when I've done what God has asked, but done it grudgingly... Or worse yet, half-heartedly. Parts of me still holding back, as it were. Am I stuck in some Christian form of D.I.D.?!

Suddenly, BAM! "There is now, therefore, no condemnation."
All these thoughts melt away from 3D nightmares into images from a children's book, and I find I am now looking at them as if they were a manual for life. What to do. What NOT to do. I may have a redeemed form of Dissociative Identity Disorder, but at least I know from whence my help comes, and in Whom I trust!

"The things I should do, I do not; And the things I should not do, I do..." The verse slams into me along with the memories of countless times of slipping, repenting, slipping, repenting, and slipping again.
The agony that accompanies such falls from Grace is unbearable, yet there just the same... I lay in tears and hope for some comfort, but it does not come. In fact, very quickly, comes the next wave of thoughts, memories and verses.

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right."
Again, I see the things I've done wrong flash before me, and again, the pain is unbearable... Blowing God off to look at porn; Speaking His Words without living the example; Causing condemnation as opposed to allowing for the conviction of the Holy Spirit...
The pain is intense, but I find that through it all, my Father is there, holding me in His arms.

"I chasten those I love, and I love those I chasten..."
The words spoken to me at my lowest time come back once again, ringing through just as clearly now as then. And now, as then, it brings tremendous comfort to me. Not because I know that He won't let bad things happen- He will, should my actions bring them about. Not because I think that He'll allow me to get off like Teflon- He won't.
No, it brings me comfort because I know that these things take place BECAUSE of His great love for us. We'd never know the stove was hot if we didn't get burned. We'd never know the knife was sharp if we didn't get cut.
Likewise, we'll never learn the value of obedience without disobedience.

Some may wish to argue this point with me, but hear me out.

It is not a sin to be tempted, nor is it a sin to err. Christ Himself suffered through temptation. Christ Himself erred...
Let me stop here, before the shouts of heresy start, and point to His stay in the Temple at 12. He did not realize it would cause worry, nor did He realize it was perhaps wrong. He was merely a young man itching to be a man. The Bible itself states that "...In this, He learned obedience."

An error does not make a sinner, it makes a man. It is in this moment that we see Christ as being truly God and truly Man at once- Thoroughly understanding His purpose, yet learning from His mistakes.

And so it was that I realized that God does not, nor has He EVER held any of my mistakes against me. My sins maybe... My transgressions, perhaps... My iniquity, sadly... But not my mistakes.
My sins will be held as long as it takes for me to learn. My transgressions held to allow for just punishment. My iniquity seen in the faces of my children and my children's children, (God forbid!!)
However, my mistakes are meant as learning tools. Perhaps not wished for, but certainly used to train me in the way I should go, so as I get older, I will not depart.

It was with this happy thought, the realization that God loves me even in punishment, that I drifted off to sleep finally, at 5am...

Perhaps, just maybe... Your insomnia is trying to teach YOU something.