The Bigger Picture Isn't Always Seen
Have you ever had a dream that was so incredibly realistic, that you wonder if you were 'somewhere else,' especially if you were interacting with a deceased loved one? I've been having quite a few lucid dreams lately. If you don't know what a lucid dream is---it's when you are in a dream, but you know that you are in a dream, or perhaps, in a different realm, able to control what you say and what you do. For example, most dreams demonstrate that they're mostly involuntary and uncontrollable. "I dreamt I was running down the street with no clothes on,"---and you know for a fact you would never do that...(or maybe some of you wouldn't.)
When my dad passed away, in the dream itself, we made sure that it was a real, authentic interaction.
"Dad, is that really you? Is this real?"
"Yes! C'mere, quick because I only have a little time!"
We would hug it out, and then he would always tell me some words of wisdom. Sometimes he'd tell me to stop remembering how he looked on his deathbed, and to remember all the good times, laughter, holidays, and all the family togetherness we had. He would also keep telling me, "Stop with dat' fear! It's gonna kill ya! You gotta stop fearing everything!" He knew I had awful anxiety, and this was his way of letting me know there's really nothing to fear. And within the 30 second mark, he had to pull back and leave the dream. I don't understand the reasoning for their short time in our dreams, but others who have experienced this said the same thing.
My mother and her sister (my aunt) came to me in a dream recently. It's been two years since I touched a drop of alcohol. They were sitting at a table, laughing hysterically. Immediately, I thought they were making fun of me (as they sometimes did when they were alive.)
When the laughter stopped, my Aunt Madeline said, "We can't believe it! Out of all people---you!"
Right away I felt like they were going to rip into me about something. So I asked, "What are you talking about?"
"You broke the generational curse our family had! By quitting drinking, you're able to reverse the curse our entire family and ancestors had on them! You! Out of all people!"
And even though they were laughing (a little too much)---the happiness and relief on their faces said it all.
I didn't take offense, because I always caught sneaking drinks since I was 12 years old. I was always a heavy drinker, especially in my teens up until my 30's. Then in my 40's, I simmered down, but I drank every single day to relax. Once I stopped, something strange happened---in a wonderful way. I started to heal without numbing myself. The numbing process only delayed the healing process. Another wonderful thing happened---I began to hear God more. I began to get more of these vivid dreams, even prophetic and intuitive dreams that go beyond my understanding.
The absence of alcohol brought me much closer to God. But there was still something that wasn't right. I still felt like there could be more of a connection. Then God kept pointing out through various sources about forgiveness. I also learned, that if you feel disconnected from God, that most times, it has to do with not being able to forgive. So I sat down, prayed, read my Bible and I also sat there to listen. I released any and all resentment or unforgiveness I had for anyone. I did this with a genuine heart---not just forgiving because it's the "right thing to do"---but even prayed for the people who hurt me. It clearly says in the Bible to pray for your enemies. It's easy to pray for people you love. But how easy is it to pray for the people who intentionally hurt you? Sometimes we hold these resentments in for years. I bet you can remember someone saying the most hurtful words to you---verbatim---the type of words that still echo in your mind till this very day. This type of forgiveness lets you also forget it. Of course when you forgive, the forgetting part is pretty tough to do. For this, we have to keep in mind that the "forgetting" part is about never bringing the topic up ever again. Once you never bring that topic up again, to the person or to another person unrelated, then you start forgetting. Have you ever said, "I don't even know why we were fighting in the first place?" That's forgiving and forgetting.
As my dad would say, "Fuggedaboudit!!!"
I will say this---the world we live in is so very temporary. When you're 40 years old, and you blink, you're instantly 70 years old. (Don't blink!) --Don't waste it with an unforgiving heart. Look at the bigger picture. Think about heaven for a second. Do you really think that all of our petty arguments and disagreements will even matter at all when we are on the other side? We're going to look at one another and say, "Can you believe we stopped talking because of "this" or "that?" Holding onto worldly resentments and grudges is like intentionally staying at the scene of the crime. At some point, you have to leave and go home to gain some peace. It shows how disconnected we really are from God. Once you can see the bigger picture and how we are all 'little actors' on this tiny floating rock in the universe---you're entire outlook would be different.
And remember, forgiveness doesn't have to be complicated. If you don't particularly like somebody or don't care for their character, (maybe they're just incredibly evil and toxic) -- you can still forgive them without reconciling. There's nothing wrong with that. But don't carry a heart of resentment. Like that old saying goes, bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Most of the time, the person you are holding a grudge for isn't even thinking about you or the situation. All in all, forgiveness is the key to getting closer to God.
In Matthew 6:14-15 it states, "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins."
One of my favorite scriptures is found in Matthew 18:21-22 "Peter came to Him and asked, 'Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?' 'No!' Jesus replied, 'seventy times seven!'" (Meaning eternity---must keep forgiving as Jesus did.)
Just as God forgives us without limit, we should forgive others without keeping score.
In Colossians 3:13 it states, "You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others."
I pray this helps someone struggling with forgiveness. If you take anything out of this article, remember this: everyone is bound to disappoint you at some point---everyone---but God will never disappoint you. We're human and we make mistakes.
Go back to God's greatest commandments in the Bible:
Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” ---Matthew 22:38-40
For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com for some of her famous recipes and check out her Instagram full of food videos!