May 2017, pt. 2 – We are off the chain.

(Added 8/4/17: This entry explains in detail why I made a huge life decision. If you’d like to skip the minutia, there’s a summary at the bottom of the page. A summary of the summary sums it all up in two sentences.)

May 3, 2017

DREAM
I am associated with some kind of production in which a speaker is scheduled for a particular time slot. I get a call from someone else associated with the same production. The caller ID display shows “SE”. The voice at the other end of the connection tells me that the scheduled speaker will not be able to attend. In his place we are going to instead allow a secondary speaker an opportunity to take the stage. I am having trouble understanding exactly what the person is telling me. From what little I can discern, we are giving the secondary speaker an opportunity to prove himself; but he won’t have much time to work. “If he hasn’t done enough to warrant further consideration before a certain point,” the voice tells me, and I interrupt, “The music will just start getting louder?” I was thinking about what happens when awards ceremonies like the Oscars crank up music in order to hustle someone out of a speech and off the stage. I laugh at the idea, and so did the person on the phone. I gather somehow that the second speaker will have a ceiling of sorts on how much he will be allowed to do, which ceiling would not have been in place for the first speaker. It’s possible that the second speaker’s ceiling of potential will rise with acceptable performance.

DREAM
I see a woman who looks like someone who works in my office. In real life this woman and I have no relationship at all and might have spoken three words to each other in as many years. In the dream she is some kind manager, unlike her real-life position. She is giving lessons on how to deal with sudden and massive change. She tells a male instructor to go get a stone from her office. Her office is apparently in Spain. The guy returns with the requested stone. It’s about the size of a football and is shaped irregularly, like a chewed piece of gum. He gives her a choice: she can either lie down on the table and have the stone placed on her face; or she can lie on her stomach, with her face resting on the stone. Somehow this choice demonstrates how to deal with sudden and massive change. END

After waking I believe that the lesson is there’s no comfortable way to deal with sudden and massive change.

DREAM
I’m at a college football stadium. I see lettering written all over the stadium, and it appears the lettering is Greek presentation of fraternity names. I see the letters “KD” particularly well. I recognize this symbolizes the Kappa Delta fraternity. But the “D” is backward, for some reason. END

I awoke and recognized that the D in the previous dream wasn’t the Greek alphabet delta that one would normally see in the display of Kappa Delta or any other Greek fraternal organization. It was a Latin alphabet D. I fell into half and full sleep for the next couple of hours. It seemed like every time I dozed off something else would happen. I awoke again at 0537, which was 0537 in the morning of May 3, 2017. Pretty interesting, if you’re into that kind of thing.

While dictating voicenotes about these dreams, I got a brief and intense burst of pain in an unusual spot in my back. I get pains in my back with some regularity, depending on my general level of fitness and amount of time elapsed since my last chiropractic adjustment. But the spot that flared pain this morning was not a normal problem spot. I made an audible complaint of the pain while recording the voicenote. After dictating the note, I fell asleep again.

DREAM/VISION
I see someone’s hands at a keyboard. One hand strikes the Enter key…and suddenly I’m inside what appears to be a cathedral. I’m looking up at a massive vaulted ceiling. The size of the place is overwhelming. I actually hear myself gasp. There is a tangible sense that the structure is real and I’m actually inside the thing, somehow transported there from my sleeping position in bed. I am aware that the building is somehow the result of my work. My efforts in this life are indirectly contributing to the construction. There’s something missing, though. As awesome as the place is, it is not beautiful – it is incomplete. When I stare closely at the ceiling, I see decorative painting that is not finished in any detail. END

In real life I’m not a gasper. And I’ve definitely never gasped from looking at a ceiling, as far as I can remember. I’ve never been to Rome, FWIW. Anyway, the view in that vision was stunning.

VOICE
I’m briefly awake in the night, and I hear, “If you don’t take this and run with it, we’ll find someone who will.” I wonder to God what exactly what “this” is, that I’m supposed to run with. I don’t even question if the voice is God or not. By now I’m living second by second, somewhat numb from the constant bombardment of messages. I’m generally a “run with it” kind of guy, which I point out to God or myself. But I don’t know in that moment what is expected of me. Which is frustrating, since my running with said “this” determines whether or not I get to keep the opportunity.

IMAGE/VOICE
In a brief waking state, I’m thinking about the cathedral experience. I see an image of a friend of mine, whom I comfortably presume to be someone who does not claim Christ as His savior. While I’m thinking about this flood of things that is happening around my sleep, I hear a man’s voice. I become aware that the voice has been speaking for some time. He’s talking about my friend. The voice is telling me something about how, if I will do some particular thing, then my friend will believe in Christ. My testimony will convince him.

I woke up and recorded a second voice note about my friend and this new admonition to “run with it.” I also asked God, through a somewhat frazzled consciousness, “How can I live this day as a sacrifice?” It is at once terrifying and liberating to ask that question of God, I noticed. I didn’t want to hear His answer, because it might mean that something was required of me. I am selfish and do not want to sacrifice on anyone’s behalf, unless it suits me. Also, if I ask God how I might live as a sacrifice, and He tells me exactly how to do so; then I’m on the hook for either doing the thing or living as an affront to His will. But right there along with the humbling terror is an inexplicable peace and freedom that comes from completely submitting oneself and one’s agenda to the Living God. It also seems, in very practical terms, that even considering asking the question of the Lord precipitated in my life a veritable landslide of communications, if the morning’s activities were any accurate indication.

Submission is a good thing.

 

May 5, 2017
DREAM
I see a small image that I know is a section of an aircraft, and I know the aircraft is a B-52. WAKE

Previous bomber imagery in the past few years of my faith walk has been of B-24’s and (in one questionable instance) a B-17, both World War II-era aircraft. The B-52 is a Viet Nam-era aircraft that is still in use by the United States military. The B-52 is in all practical ways superior to the older aircraft. This dream image is the first hint that there might be an upgrade in offensive spiritual capabilities. And this after I’d wondered if I’d lost all rights to have offensive capabilities at all back in December. Totally unexpected thing, this B-52 image. Unbelievably encouraging. Taken in context of the similar Great Wall of China dream image, which also immediately preceded an abrupt awakening, I wondered if God was telling me that I might one day possibly be the complete offensive and defensive package.

Please help me get there, Lord.

 

May 6, 2017
I awake at 0200. Through sleepy and slow lips, I ask Jesus, “How can I live as a sacrifice today?” Immediately, I hear in my mind the voice of my manager at work. “Well, we found someone to replace (former employee), and we can find someone to replace you.” Former Employee left our company around ten years ago. I believe right away my manager’s voice is God suggesting I should quit my job. I also right away believe such an instruction to be completely nuts. My entire life is entwined with the one full-time job that I’ve held for the better part of twenty years. I lie silent for a few moments, much more alert than before I had prayed. “Lord,” I request, “can you confirm?” Instantly, I hear, “YES!” A shouted confirmation. Seems clear enough. I should quit my job. However, what about my entire life? Health insurance, child support, steady income – just for starters. “What am I supposed to do?” I whisper, fearful and incredulous. Without missing a beat, I hear, “Follow me.”

This exchange was, in effect, me having a real-time conversation with some spiritual entity. I believe it was Jesus Christ. I was in some way detached enough to think, this is crazy. I went weeks without having a memorable dream; I went months or years without any spoken words. Now in one week there’s been a dump truck backed up and unloaded on me.

I fell asleep again.

DREAM
I am driving at night. I think my kids are in the car with me. There’s nothing in view but my dashboard and the road ahead. The road is lit from within, an iridescent blue strip expanding out ahead of our car. “Look at this!” I enthusiastically called to my passengers. “I’ve never seen the road do this before.” END

DREAM
I am sprinting on a sidewalk. Passing me, going the opposite direction, are guys sprinting toward some goal. They are being timed. I hear one guy griping about his time of 00:22. Somebody tells him he has to run it again.

DREAM
I am in an unfamiliar house. I am naked. There is a woman from my employer’s HR department. We see each other when I round a corner. I quickly start backing away from her, covering myself with a fast food drink cup. The woman from HR keeps coming toward me. I’m surprised by this, since I’m clearly naked and expected her to be as uncomfortable with the situation as I am. She walks confidently up to me and says, “Joe, don’t forget to put on your clothes and your drums. END.

DREAM
I am carrying a lockbox down into some cave-like natural formation. The enclosure is cluttered with my personal possessions. I have dropped the key to my lock box into all the mess, and I can’t find it. I am asking God for direction. I’m totally nervous and freaked out, so I refer to Him as “Mr. God.” I immediately think this sounds ridiculous. I am relieved that the box isn’t locked, since I have lost the key. END

VOICE
A voice speaks into my sleep: “This is an invitation.”

While recording the voicenote for this morning’s activities, I again made mention of the pain in my back. This would be the pain that showed up in an unusual place, first mentioned in notes for 5/3/17. The only time that spot hurt was when I was lying down in bed at night. And it only hurt during this most unusual of weeks.

 

May 7, 2017
I awaken at 1212 and cannot go back to sleep. Later in the day I am reading the Gospel of Matthew with my kids. At the end of chapter 16, there’s the section where Jesus describes what one must do in order to follow Him. The Thomas Nelson NKJV says, in Matthew 16:24-27: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”

I don’t know how many times I’d read that passage before May 7, 2017. Enough times to know intellectually what the words said, and even with some real-world experience to add weight to the words. But this latest reading was through brand new eyes. “Do not satisfy yourself,” the voice had admonished me, eight years ago. That sounds reasonably similar to “let him deny himself.” “Follow me,” the voice had said, right after I had asked how I might, effectively, lay down my life. Stepping out in faith by resigning my secure position in a great company fits in with the whole laying down life and taking up cross part; at least as a profound first step in that process. I’d already been engaged in an eight-year battle both against my Self and on behalf of Myself, straddling the line between that which I’d known God was calling me to and that which I couldn’t imagine giving up. I’d wanted to save my own life; perhaps not at the expense of my soul, but almost certainly at the expense of certain rewards according to my works. That dynamic had been perfectly illustrated by my sleep visitation into that grand-yet-incomplete structure.

When I’d begun asking God how I might live any given day as a sacrifice, I’d unconsciously expected that eventually He’d communicate something to me. No way would He allow such a humbled posture (however reserved and uncomfortable it might have been for me) to go unaddressed. But I’d had no real expectations of how or when He might actually respond. Had I thought things through at all, I’d likely have expected something like, “Help the old woman with her groceries when you’re shopping today, ” and even that maybe only after a few months of asking. Instead He gave me a terrifying opportunity to walk out profound scripture; with Jesus’ warm and enthusiastic encouragement to help me get started; and mere days after I first asked. I think it is best to not ask certain things of Him unless you are prepared for life-changing opportunities.

May 8, 2017
I’m at my desk at work, pretty much numb from what’s been happening. I’m typing a description of the previous week’s events, in order to tell Mary what’s been going on and eventually post this blog entry. I have some reasonable concern over whether it is God that I’ve been hearing from. The stakes are sky high. I’d like to be 100% sure that it’s God and not some demonic imposter suggesting I quit my job. Because there’s really no way I can quit my job. It’s juuust this side of impossible. “Is this really You?”, I wonder, staring off absently into space. I consider asking God for a fleece. As soon as the thought leaves my synapses, that weird spot in my back twinges, as if to say, “Yes, it’s Me.” The spot in my back had not made a sound since I was lying in bed on the morning of 050617.

May 12, 2017
I walk down the long (100-something yards) hall at our office to the kitchen, where I fill my cup with cold filtered water. This, my first trip of the day to the kitchen, is at an atypical time for me. I usually wait until later in the morning. Everything is off-kilter today. I have decided to turn in my notice of intent to resign, as soon I return to my desk with the filtered water. I don’t have filtered water at my apartment. Most of the water I’ve drunk at all in the past eighteen years has come from the filtered sources at my office, I consider. I wonder how much better my health is now, compared to if I’d been drinking tap water at work all that time. Everything in my life is about to change, not least of which is the fact that I will no longer have easy access to free filtered water. With filtered water and impending total obliteration of my life’s rhythms weighing surprisingly lightly on my mind, I step out of the kitchen and almost crash headlong in the woman from HR who was in that one naked dream from May 6. That’s the morning I had the conversation with (I think) Jesus, where He invited me to quit my job. Fortunately for all involved, I am not actually naked this morning.

The HR woman is unaware of her participation in the naked dream and, therefore, unaware of how completely crazy it is that she and I almost ran into each other, just like in the dream. She’s likewise not likely blown away by the fact that she and I have never almost run into each other, rounding a corner like that, until after that dream and with me on my way to give my notice. I, on the other hand, am blown away by all that. I decide to not inform her of the naked dream, so we are immediately comfortable talking with each other. She and I have been working in the same office for a good ten years now. I got to know her quite well back in the Stone Age, when I was in-house support for the HR software. She is someone that I will miss seeing, even as seldom as we do see each other. We visit while walking back down the hall, me to my office and she to the mail room. She already knows that I’m leaving the company, because I’d previously emailed her some questions about benefits. She bids me best wishes, and I take the filtered water back to my desk, where I email my manager with my notice of resignation.

Nobody, including me pretty much, saw this resignation coming. So I give a month’s notice, with the option to modify the date in case of problems with staffing. My manager comes to my desk and asks me to join him in his office. He is understandably concerned that fifty percent of my group is resigning, right after the previous thirty-three percent resigned only a few weeks prior. He wants to know my motivation. I tell him over the past few years, I’ve learned to trust what I believe is God giving me instructions or suggestions; that when I do what God suggests, good things happen; and when I do not do what God suggests, things are generally “less than”. And I believe God suggested that I quit my job. I do not tell my manager that God used my manager’s voice to suggest I resign. I assume, during our conversation, that I will never again have a more unlikely discussion than this one with an employer. My manager rolls with the whole thing, and I go back to my desk to drink filtered water and figure out how to extract myself from the company within the next month.
*
SUMMARY of April 24 – May 12:
On April 24 I heard the first “awake” spoken message that I’ve heard in some years. The voice referenced the “asleep” spoken word message from earlier in the year that indicated “we” were starting over. This April 24 event kicked off what became an unprecedented (for me) series of encounters with God in and around my sleep. A friend even got in on the action, having a dream and spoken word about my situation on April 26. Almost daily there after, until May 6, I heard and saw what eventually were revealed to be encouragements to prepare me for the big event on May 6. On that day God used my manager’s voice to suggest I should quit my job. Working backwards from that point through many of the dreams and words of the previous two weeks, I see that God was prepping me for that suggestion. He showed me that there was an opportunity that required a huge leap into sudden and massive change; that the opportunity was originally offered to someone else who didn’t follow through; that there was a timed element to the thing, which demanded that I meet certain expectations within a certain time frame in order to maintain status as a candidate for whatever it is. Then came the invitation to quit my job and jump off that cliff. After a week’s consideration, I gave my notice.
**
SUMMARY of the SUMMARY:
God said, “How about you quit your job?” So I did.

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