I get these nightmares sometimes. More often than not, they’re not what you’d expect. Yes, I dream of hellish monsters and ghoulish demons, but rarely do those dreams stick with me because, lets be realistic here, most peoples’ worst fears are not of monsters and demons. Most people fear other people and what they might do.
I had a dream last night that somebody I used to know came into my home with all my family. This somebody, who betrayed me, lied to me, broke promises, put me down, talked about me behind my back – this somebody began to win over my family members, one-by-one. I remember, in the nightmare, feeling scared because I didn’t know what to do. I felt trapped. No one would listen to me. They just couldn’t believe that such a nice guy would do something like what I said.
Reflecting on this dream now, I’m reminded over another nightmare I had a few weeks ago where one of my close friends gave me the cold shoulder because of a falling-out I had with another close friend.
I think it’s easy to see what I fear the most. I’m afraid that I’ll be put back in a position where I must sit quietly, taking on the abuse of another as they tear me down. I’m afraid that my family will think I’m “only exaggerating” about the things that eat me alive at night. I’m afraid that I will never learn to stand up for myself. I’m afraid that all the pain I felt once will come back to me because I almost couldn’t bear it then. So how could I bear it now?
The thing about fear, though, is that so many people let it cripple them. So many people let their fears turn them into a victim. I will not be a victim, though. I refuse to be a victim. Fear is real. Anxiety is real. Depression is real. Hurt is real. Sadness is real. Shame is real. Regret is real. Pain is real.
And so many people live like that’s all there is to this life. But guess what?
Hope is real. Strength is real. Courage is real. Victory is real. Relief is real. Healing is real. Love is real. Transformation is real. Restoration is real. So, yes, pain is real, but hope is too. You choose what defines you.