Saturday, March 14, 2015

It’s All About Me



I dreamed that I was invited to a gala banquet honoring a famous philanthropist. I was dressed to kill and excited about making my grand entrance in the posh lobby of one of the most elegant downtown hotels where this ritzy affair was held. But to my dismay, as soon as I crossed the threshold, before the paparazzi could even snap my photo, a butler escorted me downstairs to the basement, to a small, dingy meeting room.

The room was already overcrowded with other guests who apparently also had not made the cut to be seated in the main ballroom. The chairs and benches along the narrow tables were already taken. There was also a sofa on one side of the table that could have easily seated four people, but a young woman was sprawled out there head to toe, occupying the entire couch.

The nerve! I thought angrily, then found that my thoughts had vocalized and I was berating the woman for taking up so much room. She ignored my tirade with an insolent sneer, so I managed to find a stool and barely squeezed it in by the corner of one of the tables and awkwardly sat down.

A waiter brought a tray of hors d’oeuvres, hardly deigning to acknowledge us as he hurried away to the more important guests in the main dining room. One of the guests seated at my table, who apparently fancied himself to be a gourmet chef and food critic, proceeded to take a bite of each of the different types of canapé, and attempted to impress us by announcing the spices and other ingredients used in each. Not that it did me any good – he sampled so many, leaving the bulk of each appetizer uneaten on his plate, that the tray was empty when it finally came my way.

A kitchen maid brought a vat of what was to be the main course. “Cheddar Welsh Rarebit,” the self-appointed food connoisseur pronounced. To me it looked and smelled like vomit. What a wasted evening, spending hours selecting the right ensemble and looking my best, only to be shuttled to this miserable room with these insufferable people, eating pig slop and straining my back sitting on this hard wooden stool.

Aha! I saw my chance as the rude young woman excused herself to go to the ladies’ room. I raced to her couch and promptly stretched out on it as she had done, even though several other guests huddled anxiously in the doorway looking for a place to sit.

As I awoke, I recalled the excellent sermon at our church the night before about the dangers of self. The three main enemies of the Christian are the world (Matthew 6:24; 16:26; Mark 4:19, 2 Corinthians 4:4; Galatians 6:14; 1 John 2:15-16); the devil (1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:9), and self (Genesis 49:6; Titus 1:7; 2 Peter 2:10). But as the pastor said, “We’re often our own worst enemy.”

In the dream, I was invited to a banquet honoring another, yet in all my preparation and even at the event, it was all about me, without a single thought for the guest of honor. As a born-again child of God who has placed her faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), I am blessed to know that I am invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9). In the meantime, I have the privilege of going to His house every week (Hebrews 10:25).

As I prepare for church, am I more concerned about how I look or about whether my heart is right to be in His presence? (Psalm 51:10; 139:24; James 1:23-25; 4:8) Am I participating in ministries there for my own self-justification, or to bless and edify others and glorify Him? (Matthew 6:1-4; Hebrews 3:12-14) Am I focused on the message, or is my mind wandering to what’s for lunch or how I will spend the afternoon? Even if I listen to the message, am I applying it to my own heart, or do I assume it’s meant for another?

It was fitting in the dream that I was seated in the worst location, as I had pridefully assumed I would be at the head table, and yet I had not a single thought during the dream about the person I was supposedly there to honor. Jesus warned us about taking the best seats at places of worship and wanting to be seen and admired as we pray, fast or tithe (Matthew 6:1-6; 16-18; 23:2-7; Mark 12:38-40). If we do that, our reward is from men and not from Him, for we have left Him out of the equation. But in the dream, instead of realizing I deserved my uncomfortable accommodations, I was filled with self-pity.

How quick I was to judge the young woman for her selfishness, thoughtlessness, and rudeness, only to act the same way when I had the opportunity. Even worse, I lashed out at her in angry words (James 1:26; 3:6). May we not pounce on the flaws of others while overlooking or excusing our own, often far worse, faults (Matthew 7:1-5).

God created and saved us to enjoy abundant life (John 10:10) in the here and now as well as eternal life with Him (John 3:16). He wants us to enjoy good things (Psalm 103:5; Proverbs 28:10; Matthew 7:11; Luke 1:53), including food, but like any other basic need or pleasure that is wholesome when used as God intended it, there is the danger that it can become a form of self-indulgence or even an idol (Matthew 6:25-33).

The food served in the dream was not to nourish or to delight but to impress. Instead of appreciating the host’s providing food for the guests, the food critic was more concerned about glorifying himself through his critique, and his selfishness spoiled the meal for the other guests. Not that I was any better – my selfishness in wanting to lie down on the couch kept other guests from being seated at all.

In the past month I have had several dreams about food, in strange combinations, in excessive amounts, or having to be discarded. I initially dismissed these as simply being hungry or having eaten too much before going to bed, until a variety of unusual symptoms made me realize that God was warning me to pay far closer attention to my diet. I had been self-indulgent in eating too much of the “king’s dainties,” (Proverbs 23:1-8; Psalm 141:4). Since eating simpler and more wholesome foods in smaller amounts, these symptoms are under much better control.

May we bear in mind that our self-righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), and that in our own selves, we can do nothing (John 14:6; 5:30). We are saved not by anything we could do or merit by ourselves, but by His righteousness and His grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). May we not look to elevate ourselves over others, but to have a servant’s heart (Matthew 23:12; Philippians 2:1-9). May we love God and love one another (Deuteronomy 6:5; 11:1,13; Luke 10:27; 1 John 4:7-8), dying daily (1 Corinthians 15:31) to the idol of self!

© 2015 Laurie Collett
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40 comments:

  1. I love when you share your dreams because there is so much to be learned from the events that you portray. God certainly used your dream to teach us all about self and the importance of setting on our eyes on Him and His kingdom rather than on ourselves. Thank you for these words. Blessings friend!

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    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment, which blesses my heart! I am so glad you enjoyed this post and that God used this dream to teach and encourage. May we keep our eyes on the Prize, and die daily to self.
      May you have a blessed week in Him,
      Laurie

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  2. Wow. What a dream. It was like you were living the Bible Study from the night before! You are blessed to have the interpretation as well as such a detailed dream!

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    1. Praise God that He reinforces His Word in so many ways to speak to our hearts! Thanks so much for your comment!
      Love in Christ,
      Laurie

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  3. Hi Laurie,
    nice post.
    Your dream also reminded me that quite often the place where the Lord leads us does not always suit the carnal nature's expectations. The lovely thing is that Jesus' example of being amongst the sinners is a wonderful encouragement to us, especially as I was one of those sinners when God called me to my Saviour. It is not about us, it is about those who do not know the Lord.
    God bless.

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    1. Thanks, Brenda! So true, that we have certain ideas of how God "should" act, but His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. Praise God that He loved while we were yet sinners, and gave us the Way to bridge the gap between our sin and His holiness. You are so right, it is not about us or about how we would do things, but about leading others to Him in whatever way He has appointed us.
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  4. Dear Laurie,
    That was some powerful dream you had there!
    By reading, I have wondered whether the butler was able to see your heart clearly the moment you walked through those doors. And unfortunately for you, he was not happy what he saw as you walked in.
    Often I may attend church for the wrong reason - for example, to see someone, or to settle an issue - rather than with the anticipation to worship God.
    It takes the Holy Spirit within us to take our minds off whatever the issue might be to focus on the Lord and pour all our adoration on him.
    A great post, God bless.

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    1. Dear Frank,
      That is an excellent point, that the butler may have represented the Holy Spirit Who knew my heart and was not fooled by the outward appearance. Whether headed for church or into the world, I find that more and more my prayer is "Create a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me,
      Thanks as always for sharing your insights and encouragement. God bless,
      Laurie

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  5. An interesting dream to apply to one of God's most important messages - the vanity of self. It is self that wants her place only to be sickened because she is deceived and misinformed. Her place is never appropriate until she moves over to the Lord. A yielded heart always finds peace. Neighboring you at the Sunday Still. Blessings. ~ Chris~

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    1. So true, Chris -- only when we are yielded to His Spirit can we find true peace. Self is a tyrant that is never satisfied and an idol that keeps us from worshiping our Lord and Savior.
      May you have a blessed week in Him,
      Laurie

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  6. Thanks for sharing your dream. What lessons in a dream, huh? Good for you for remembering it (we often forget even before we open our eyes) and sharing the lessons from it. :)

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Lux! It's true, so many times as I awaken I feel the dream slipping away as thoughts of the new day crowd in. But on those occasions when I do remember, God sometimes shows me lessons through the dream.
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  7. Oh, that I would pay attention to dreams as you have done here and looked for God's messages in them rather than slough them off as some weird "dream" and call it that and close the door.
    Thanks for this reminder and for visiting me today.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

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    1. Amen, Linda -- may we listen for God's still, small voice, primarily through His Word. but also through prayer, Godly counsel, nature and dreams. Thanks for your lovely comment!
      Love in Christ,
      Laurie

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  8. It is troubling how often what is passed off as being for the Lord is only an attempt to gain recognition for the person doing it. Many are far more concerned with how the music or message sounds or makes them feel than with whether it glorifies God or pleases him. Thanks for the reminder how easy it is to slip into that attitude.

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    1. So true, Donald -- it can be easy to feel righteous through "service" that is actually just self-glorification for the minister or musician or self-indulgence for the congregation with itching ears. Thanks as always for your insightful comment, & God bless!
      Laurie

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  9. Laurie, this post is amazing. I become very excited when I find bloggers who love God, consider biblical truths to be precious, and refuse to compromise on biblical accuracy and pointing to Christ. Thank you so much for inviting me and for linking up at Motivate and Rejuvenate Monday! I am definitely following. God bless,
    Letetia

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    1. Dear Letetia,
      I am so blessed by your comment and to find a kindred spirit, a sister in Christ who loves the Lord! Thank you so much for your encouraging words and for following Saved by Grace. Looking forward to your next linkup and inspirational post.
      Many blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  10. Hi Laurie, this is a revelation. I am glad you shared this. We are too concerned with ourselves and our on selfish gains. I love this post. It is a reminder and filled with Godly wisdom. Thank you for maintaining the standard and sharing the truth.
    God Bless.

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    1. Hi Ifeoma,
      I am so blessed by your uplifting comment and to hear that you found the post helpful. Thank you for being such an encourager, and may God bless you richly for all you do to spread His Word.
      Love in Christ,
      Laurie

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  11. I love to read about a person's dreams and then how God interprets those dreams for them. This spoke to me as I have been struggling with this very thing lately, "God was warning me to pay far closer attention to my diet. I had been self-indulgent in eating too much of the “king’s dainties,” ~visiting from Testimony Tuesday

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    1. Hi Carmen,
      This seems to be a concern for many in this day and age, where our society has gone so far from natural foods grown safely on our own farm to heavily treated and preserved foods, refined sugars, trans fats, GMOs, use of pesticides and hormones, etc. May we heed God's call to treat our body as the temple of the Holy Spirit and not to pollute the temple. Thanks so much for your comment -- I appreciate your visit and insights!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  12. Isn't it true we are often our own worst enemy. Loved your thoughts and me too God has been speaking to me over and over recently about my diet and food. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Amen, Deborah -- we are often our own worst enemy! I am blessed to hear that you enjoyed this post. May God give us wisdom and restraint to nourish our bodies as He would have us do. Thanks so much for your comment, and may you have a blessed weekend!
      Laurie

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  13. Wow! What a powerful and impactful dream! So many lessons in there! I am always reminded that the Kingdom of God is an upside down Kingdom... the ladder of success works differently there... I'm gonna fight for the bottom to help push you up! If you're going to bless me, I'm going to bless you more! Oh if we would remember this and live it out with more consistency!

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    1. So true, Karrilee -- Jesus said that he who is first on earth is last in His kingdom, and that he who is last is first. We must lose our life to gain it, and die daily to self. May we have a servant's heart as He did! Thanks so much for sharing your insights, and God bless!
      Laurie

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  14. Wow! This dream sure held so much wisdom for all of us to take heed to. The Word says that we are to humble ourselves before God (and others who are in need) and He will lift us up!! (James 4:10; Phil. 2:4 ) Thanks for sharing this!
    Ann @ Christ in the Clouds

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    1. Hi Ann! Thanks so much for your lovely comment. May we humble ourselves before God and submit ourselves to others so that He will lift us up!
      Love in Christ,
      Laurie

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  15. We are often our own worst enemies, aren't we? That is a thought we need to keep in the forefront of our minds. Thanks for that reminder today. Blessings to you and yours.

    ~Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

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    1. So true, Heather, we are often our own worst enemies! Thanks for your visit and comment.
      May you have a blessed week in Him,
      Laurie

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  16. When we are not looking all at once from our "selfish" heart can come unkind or unwise words that later we wish we had not spoken. Your dream can teach us many things. It is not wrong to want to look nice, but that can be our focus on "ME" if we are not careful. Judging others before we know their story can be something we later repent of. I am attending a church where some ladies wear dresses and skirts, but many are wearing jeans and a clean shirt or blouse. My habit is to usually wear a nice dress to church, which I probably will continue to do, but the thought crossed my mind. "Would I fit in better if I wore my jeans and a shirt?" Thank you for sharing your wonderful dreams and thoughts with us here at Tell me a Story.

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    1. Great points, Hazel! Once we speak with haste from the heart, we can't take back those words. It is a fine line we must draw between dressing our best as is appropriate for God's house, yet not overdressing to impress or inadvertently making others feel uncomfortable. Thanks so much for your comment & for hosting, & God bless!
      Laurie

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  17. Thanks for this special blog and your openess about the dream! When our dreams are not fighting against what God says in the Bible: let cherish this dreams in our heart ( and on our blogs) as a message from God, and let us return to Him to renew our relationship with Him. Big hug from your Dutch sister in Christ

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    1. Dear Ariella,
      Thanks so much for your lovely comment and encouraging words! May we be open to share God's Word with others, whether in person or on our blogs.
      Love and hugs to you too!
      Laurie

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  18. Thanks for much for sharing your post on the Best of the Blogosphere Linky party. Come back this week!

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    1. Thanks, Deb, for your comment & for hosting! I'll look forward to linking up again!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  19. Thanks for sharing this lovely post. I'm glad you linked up with us at the Best in the Blogosphere link up this week. Would love to see you join us again! :)

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    1. Thanks for your words of encouragement and many blessings to you! I appreciate Best of the Blogosphere and will be back soon!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  20. Enjoyed reading this. Nothing like a dose of humility huh? I love the passages where Jesus let the Pharisees have it. But before we think, "Oh that isn't me," we might want to reconsider that yes, we can be prideful. More than we think sometimes.

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    1. Thanks, Debbie! Yes, God knows how to humble us when we get full of self.
      Have a blessed weekend!
      Laurie

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