Around 4am this Morning, I awoke breathless, after having one of those dreams that felt just a little too real.
The dream began with a tornado and ended with gun shots, amidst a church service.
I laid awake for another hour or so, contemplating the dream- wondering why it had used some of my very realistic fears- it was one of those dreams that really made me contemplate....was there a deeper meaning in it all?
One of the things I felt was this...reality check, ironically.
I tend to allow myself to be sheltered from the world around, because quite honestly, the things that are happening- aren't things I want to dwell on. I don't want to dwell on all of the massive amount of shootings- murders. The delusional terrorists who are taking innocent lives, bombs going off- new threats, daily.
I began to wonder....what could change all of those things? What could change the world in such a huge way that no-one had to live in a constant state of fear?
And the answer, which I've known all of the time, was this.
....changed hearts & transformed lives.
This may be the point where some of you scoff, shake your head, roll your eyes and click out. But, that's okay. Because while I had a moment mid-morning where I thought...."Is this point I'm trying to make as relevant as it was at 4am?-- I knew it was and it was something that needed to be said.
Not from some mega preacher on television, not from someone with thousands of followers on twitter or instagram.
But from me- a simple, normal kind of girl.
The thing is, if we're honest- truly honest with ourselves, I think the majority of people, even those who claim there is no God...have an idea of what they envision Christians to be. And most likely, those people who are genuine Believers- doing their best to live their lives for the Lord, have a similar idea.
Honest. Loving. Kind. Faithful. Hopeful. Filled with Grace.
....to name a few attributes.
Can we all agree on those?
If the Lord was able to take hold of every single person's heart- can you imagine....can you EVEN IMAGINE- what our World would look like? It would be filled with people who just....love each other. Who are all working towards one ultimate goal.
An eternal life in Heaven.
And getting there wouldn't include murdering innocent people. Bullying people. Being self-centered people, who think that as long as THEY are in charge of their happiness- nothing else matters.
Do you honestly believe that we're all just....here? That everything is really built around...YOLO? That there is nothing beyond the little time that we have on Earth?
I just can't fathom any of that.
The fact is, You (don't) Only Live Once. There's more, people. There's more.
Believing in God doesn't mean that you're tied down. It doesn't mean that you have to enjoy the brokenness of the world- all of the things that seem unfair amidst our free will-- it means that you have HOPE. It means that you have a genuine, true hunger to see lives transformed by the renewing of our hearts and minds.
Just take a couple of minutes to think about how wonderful the world could be...if we'd all stop being self centered, focused on our own happiness- and focused on living life on God's terms.
Grace. Hope. Renewal. Love.
Peace. Courage. Heaven.
Even those who don't claim to be Believers- tend to hope for their loved ones passing onto Heaven. And even those who scoff at Christians on the daily- tend to think that "sending prayers"- (to whom?)- will do the trick.
Deep down, we all have a sense that there's more.
And a lot of the time it comes down to some sort of fear that's stopping us.
Don't be afraid.
There's more for you than all of this.