Flashing Lights

I am old enough to recognize normal dreams. Chasing “friends” with blurred faces. Beautiful forests rich with the pallet of autumn. Feral beasts with wings and blue scales. I can remember only a handful of dreams that were unordinary. I had such a dream last night.
Before I describe it, I need to be humbled. For many years I have struggled with an addiction to fantasy. I can listen to music and see full stories unravel in my mind. With a steady beat and haunting voice, I can delve into my imaginary world and create whatever realities I enjoy.
I’ll sit in a car, and with my earbuds humming in my ears, and disappear. It is serious daydreaming as I am often unaware of things occurring around me. I loved to imagine myself as a character usually in cartoons I watched on television. The reboot Cartoon Network series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was my favorite. It sounds like a harmless thing.
As strange as my addiction may sound, it is still an idol. I am tempted to do it even though it’s hurt me before. Even though it caused heart palpitations, vision damage, and euphoric overload of the senses resulting in a terrible headache, which left me shaking and crying, I still went back to it. No matter how much it hurt me, the most important thing is that I sinned against God.
People can become addicted to anything. We may joke about people being addicted to chocolate or drama or attention but sometimes this is actually true. I mean, food? An addiction to food? Who doesn’t love eating? It’s so easy to become unbalanced. It’s no wonder we’re all not addicts. And that makes me wonder if we all are…
Anyway, Peter has a few notes about these things.
“For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for ‘people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.’
“If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’ and, ‘A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.’” 2 Peter 2:18-22, referencing Proverbs 26:11
Sin feels good for a time. That’s why it lures us, and we lust for it. God knows we will sin, and He’s ready to forgive us when we confess our sins to Him (1 John 1:9). But we need to be humbled and confess our guilt. Repentance is turning away from the sin. If you keep pining after the same wicked behaviors, you’re worshipping another god.
And God said, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). Exodus 20:4-5 are specific that we must not make an image of anything on the earth or from anywhere else, and we must not bow down or worship these false idols. Pornography and masturbation can be an idol. Beauty can be an idol. Anger can be an idol. Inactivity and laziness can be idols.
Satan doesn’t discriminate; he scrutinizes our weaknesses and hunts us.
I will describe my dream now.
Daytime, sunny, blue sky, warm outside. I was driving my Ford Focus with the window down, and my arm out the window. I felt the temptation to imagine a story using a song that was playing loudly over the radio. I didn’t recognize the song first, but then it turned into “WOP” by J. Dash and Flo Rida. This is a dance-y song, upbeat and energetic. Unfortunately, these songs are the most toxic for me.
The Holy Spirit spoke to me while I was being tempted. It said don’t do this. I answered back, “I’ll only be a minute.” I imagined the ninja turtles and a cat woman-like character in a black suit. She had a tail and ears and rode a black hover board through a sewer tunnel. She flew through the tunnel and past the turtles thus beginning some kind of adventure they would all embark on.
Earlier, the cat woman character had spoken to the Shredder who is the evil nemesis of the turtles. Something interesting was going to happen. While she was flying on her hover board, there was music playing from a small radio on her belt or on her hover board. A lantern lit the way as she flew as it was dark in the sewer.
This hypnotic beat took me down. I “came back” from my daydream and was driving my dad’s truck via the passenger seat. I tried to pull in the front entrance of our home but couldn’t because the road is usually too busy. I kept driving to make a left turn into the neighborhood and take the back driveway. The brakes were hard to use. I turned left. In my rearview mirror, there was a car and then behind that car was a police officer. His lights flashed blue and red; I felt my body tense up. I put on my warning lights and pulled over beside the playground.
The officer got out of the car and walked up to my window. He told me to stay in the vehicle. He came to the driver’s side window and talked to me, but I couldn’t hear him because of the radio. I frantically pushed the buttons and explained that this was my dad’s car, and I didn’t know how to use all of it. As I pressed the buttons on the radio, the stations switched from the WOP song to a preacher.
The officer told me I drove through a cow and split open its stomach. I also drove over a sidewalk. He said some more, but I couldn’t hear him. He seemed shocked and disgusted. I was in disbelief that this was happening to me. I felt so afraid.
And then I woke up.
For a few years, I have feared that I would have one of these musical daydreams while driving. I zone out pretty bad, and the terrifying thought occurred to me that I could hurt myself or someone else if this ever happened while driving. I’ve expressed this fear to God over the years, but after that dream, I felt thoroughly cautioned by the Holy Spirit.
I’m reading a book called The Prayer that Changes Everything—The Hidden Power of Praising God by Stormie Omartian. In chapter six, Stormie mentions a dream she had fifteen years ago. It had felt so real. Stormie was vague, but she mentioned being tempted into immorality. She hadn’t given into the temptation yet, but she had made the decision that she would give in. She rejected the Holy Spirit by allowing herself to be tempted.
I feel the same sense of wariness about my own dream. It was abnormal. When I woke up, I was surprised to see I’d been dreaming. I thought I was really being pulled over, and that I had done something terrible while driving. What if I had hit someone? What if I endangered someone’s life or my own life?
Dreams are usually nonsensical cocktails of emotions, memories, and desires. God used dreams to communicate to people in the Bible like Samuel and Joseph. I believe God still communicates to us in dreams, but be cautioned that this must be a rare occurrence. After all, the Bible is our guide. God gave us all we needed through that. Everything else must be cross-checked to the Bible because there’s no reason to think that Satan couldn’t deceive people through dreams.
Now that I’m writing this, I question my dream. Satan very well could have used the dream only as a means to frighten me and deceive me that a tragedy like that would happen. I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety, and why wouldn’t he want to make me anxious over something else?
But I don’t know this for sure. I do know that I still struggle with my fantasy addiction, and I want to repent of it. Thank God I am forgiven for all the times I sinned in fantasy, and thank God I am no longer a slave to sin.
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45
“Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:34-36
“So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?” Galatians 4:7-9


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