In this dream I was trying to help a Native American woman escape from a commune. I had asked her to bring only her most important belongings when I came to get her, but I was shocked to find that she had a full-length, rigid “mummy” style sleeping bag and frame stuffed full of clothing, blankets, and other items she said she couldn’t live without.
Between the two of us, we could barely lift it, and I knew we would not be able to sneak away from the commune carrying it without being noticed and apprehended because we didn’t fit in.
In another scene in the dream I was in a large convention center, where I realized a reunion was taking place with school friends. I sat down at a table with one of my classmates, her daughter, and her daughter’s fiancé, who had already started eating.
They greeted me pleasantly but I felt as if I were intruding on their family gathering. High tea was being served, and plates of delectable-looking sandwiches and pastries were being passed over my head to the various guests. I didn’t know whether or not I had prepaid for the meal, so I excused myself.
When I got up from my seat, I realized to my dismay that I was wearing three blouses, one on top of the other, all in mismatched colors. Even worse, I was wearing one worn-out black sneaker and one elegant white high heel! And, as it turned out, I was supposed to give a talk at one of the breakout groups at the meeting!
As I half scurried, half limped down the hall, a woman confronted me. “Do you know your shoes don’t match?” she asked.
“Yes, I must have been in too much of a rush to get here, and now I have to give a presentation dressed like this,” I replied.
“Well, it should be entertaining, and maybe your talk will be as unconventional as your outfit,” she said. “Maybe I’ll come and listen.”
As I awoke, I wondered about the symbolism of the dream and was struck by the common theme of not fitting in, whether I was in a rural commune or a modern convention center. It reminded me that we should not get too caught up in the cares of this world, for we are just strangers passing through a foreign country (Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11) on the all-too-brief journey (James 4:14) before we reach Heaven.
I am thankful that I am saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6). His Word warns us to lay aside the burdens and weights (Hebrews 12:1) that would slow us down in the race He has set before us (1 Corinthians 9:24), just as the heavy, cumbersome sleeping bag full of worldly goods hindered escape from the commune and beginning on a new path.
The rigid “mummy” style of the sleeping bag was almost like a casket, reminding me that our weights can bury us alive, keeping us from the abundant, eternal life we have in Christ (John 3:16; 10:10). These weights are distinguished from sins, so they are not necessarily bad in and of themselves. But accumulation of excessive possessions, even if a few are needed for daily existence, can be a form of idolatry, just as the love of money (not money itself) is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10).
Jesus told His disciples not to carry extra clothes on their journey (Luke 9:3; 10:4; 22:35), in part because it would ease their journey, and in part to strengthen their faith in His unfailing, daily provision (Matthew 6:11; Luke 11:3).
In the convention center part of the dream, it appeared at first glance that I had totally disobeyed Jesus’s instruction, for I was wearing three different blouses at the same time! But thinking about it further, the three blouses may symbolize the three coverings born-again Christians should wear: the garment of salvation (Isaiah 61:10), the cloak of His righteousness (Job 29:14), and the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-18).
In the dream I didn’t fit in, either in a fashion sense or in the family gathering of my old friend. But God has commanded us to be set apart from the world (Psalm 4:3; Romans 1:1), holy (1 Peter 1:15-16), and decently different, not conforming to the world but being transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2) as it is washed in the Word (Ephesians 5:26).
At the school reunion, I had joined others without being invited and ended up regretting it. Jesus warned His followers not to take the best seats at gatherings, but to sit in the most lowly seat to avoid embarrassment (Luke 14:8-10). Far better to be invited to move up to the head table than to be asked to return to the cheap seats!
In this part of the dream, I didn’t know if my meal had been prepaid, which reminds me that we are faced with uncertainty every day about what expenses we will face and what the world will or won’t offer us. But praise God, His Son Jesus Christ has prepaid my sin debt in full! (Hebrews 10:10) He was the perfect, holy sacrifice (2 Corinthians 5:21; John 1:29) and ransom (Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6) to purchase me from the slave market of sin (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23), freeing me to live in abundant, eternal life with Him!
The two different shoes in the dream may represent the two natures that every child of God must deal with daily. The “old man” (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9) or sin nature in our flesh, drags us down, but the “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15) yields to the indwelling Holy Spirit. Our walk differs depending on which of these we follow.
When we walk in the flesh, following our carnal nature, we will sin and fall out of fellowship with God. But when we walk in the Spirit, we please and obey God and cannot sin (Romans 8:1-14), for He has elevated us to heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3,2:6) and washed us white as snow (Psalm 51:7; Isaiah 1:18). The daily battle (1 Corinthians 15:31) between these two opposing natures can be much more of a struggle than trying to walk fast wearing two very different shoes!
All the mismatched apparel in the dream also brought to mind the Apostle Paul’s desire to be all things to all people, so that he might win some to Christ (1 Corinthians 9:20-22). We may not please the fashion police if we have on a variety of clothes, but each person who sees us might see something that draws them to us and makes them more likely to listen to our witness. In the dream, it was the oddity of my attire that piqued the other woman’s curiosity and made her want to hear what I had to say.
Without compromising His faith, beliefs, or Christian walk, Paul always sought common ground with those he witnessed to about the Gospel of grace (Acts 20:24). At Mars Hill, Paul told the superstitious Romans that He knew the true God Whom they unwittingly called “the unknown God” (Acts 17:22-23).
When Paul was invited to a meal, he did not question whether the food had been offered to idols (1 Corinthians 10:25-27), and yet he tried never to be a stumbling block to a brother or sister weaker in the faith, who might feel that they had to adhere to certain dietary laws (1 Corinthians 8).
Praise God that He has preserved a remnant of believers and called out His church to be set apart and consecrated to His service! I don’t mind feeling like a misfit in this old sinful world, for one day I shall see my Lord and Savior face to face! Then I shall be as He is, in glorious fellowship with Him and with brothers and sisters in Christ throughout all time!
© 2015 Laurie Collett