In a dream, I saw an interesting illustration of God’s heart concerning repentance. Perhaps we need a new perspective on how to pray for those in bondage to unhealthy patterns and strongholds:
I saw, what looked like, a family of scarecrows! They looked a mess with tattered clothing, straw hair and bad teeth. The surroundings of the home seemed normal enough, but the people were wild looking. I was one of them and noticed how sloppy my sister was leaving messes behind her. Yet, I too, was throwing food and scattering things about. I saw that my mom did the same thing as she filled a bowl with cereal and then purposely spilled it on the floor. It was obvious this family couldn’t keep things contained or in order!
Then, this mother turned to me and told me she’s only doing what I do. I looked over and saw that she was right because I had done the same thing with my toys and not taken care of them. At this point, I broke. I went to the pile on the floor and began to cry out, “Why didn’t you tell me!? I didn’t know!” I began to weep a deep-felt cry of disappointment in myself as I now saw the pattern. Then this mother came over to me and put her arms around me to help me clean up the mess. It was then that I woke up with the same deep feeling of remorse and desperation to be free of this disastrous pattern.
I realized that the Lord wanted me to experience this dream “first-hand” to relate to what someone feels like who is bound by a destructive stronghold. Whether it’s some kind of habitual sin, addiction, or some other ungodly habit that messes with our lives, many people live in disarray, confusion and an inability to CONTAIN the good things the Lord wants to pour into them. Sometimes, these are passed down from our families and we don’t even realize it. Perhaps you, or someone you know, is dealing with some strongholds in their life and are wondering how to get free. In asking the Lord what He wanted me to see in this dream, I came away with several things:
1] Generational strongholds become “familiar”
Even though things were crazy, in the dream it seemed “normal”. This is exactly how unhealthy generational patterns work. After a while, we are so used to the dysfunction, we just assume that’s how it is. Yet, there’s something within us that tells us – this is NOT normal! That’s part of the revelation and it’s how the Lord begins to draw people to Himself to gain freedom.
2] Wisdom is lacking
Teeth in dreams usually refer to wisdom (“wisdom teeth”). In the dream their “bad teeth” were noted. There was obviously a lack of perception and understanding to discern the problem. This is why we ask God for the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation so that we can know Him better (Ephesians 1:17)! There is a need for Truth to shatter the lies that we live in.
3] REVELATION brought godly sorrow
The mother in the dream didn’t “rebuke” the daughter as much as point out the obvious. Through this, true revelation came.
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you; what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.” (2 Corinthians 7:10-11)
What I felt waking up was this kind of sorrow. It was a desperation concerning the problem in a way that brought a cry for help rather than any sense of guilt or shame. I wasn’t “caught” – I was AWAKENED. This is what revelation is – a spiritual awakening to see the stronghold as God does with a desire to change.
4] People are crying out for freedom!
This cry for help was very pointed and very clear: “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME!?” I’ve often thought about this possibility that on the Day of Judgment someone I know will look at ME and say, “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?!” Is there someone around me silently looking for help and I’m too afraid to say anything? In today’s culture, because of criticism from many who enjoy living in their sin, the Church has backed off of telling the truth. Yes, it needs to be done in love. But, the reality is there are people who desperately want to change! Let’s not focus so much on those who really don’t want change. Let’s find those who truly have a pure heart for God and WANT to be free!
This was the most important point of the dream. There are those caught in sin and destructive patterns who don’t know how to get out. Though they sense something is wrong, they simply don’t know the TRUTH that will set them free. We can’t simply “rebuke” them by telling them what they already know. They need a REVELATION from the Holy Spirit and an encounter with His love.
“Mothers” in dreams can often symbolize the Holy Spirit. In this case, the mother came to put her arms around the daughter to comfort and encourage her when she cried out for help. This is what the Holy Spirit does. Notice that it was also the “mother” – Holy Spirit – who pointed out the seemingly obvious problem. Sometimes, in our desire to see people get free, we try to take the place of the Holy Spirit. Maybe you’ve noticed – it doesn’t work!
Our role is to love unconditionally and PRAY for the SPIRIT of WISDOM AND REVELATION to awaken those in bondage. There will probably be a time to speak the truth in love, but then allow the Holy Spirit to do the work of going deep into the heart to convict and cleanse. As the Scripture indicates, godly sorrow brings true and lasting freedom because it’s a change of the heart, not just a change in conduct.
The world we live in is getting scary and looks extremely messy! Yet, there are those whom the Lord is working on to bring them into the light. Let’s pray accordingly and partner with the Holy Spirit to see the captives set free.