The visual was crystal clear. I was hovering over the funeral, but I didn't see who occupied the casket. I only knew someone I loved had passed away.
That mental picture haunted me for the next few days. When I least expected it, the scenario would pop into my thoughts and trigger a sense of foreboding. Was this some type of warning? Was I on the brink of losing someone near and dear to me?
I shared the vision from my dream with one of my "sisters". She didn't act surprised or alarmed, perhaps because I had told her of a similar experience weeks prior. Her gentle response caught me off guard. "Do you think it's because you're dying to SELF?"
Her words have been playing like a broken record in my mind. Die to SELF. Ever so slowly, I've been learning what this means on a much deeper level ~ emotionally, relationally, practically. The gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit to put SELF to rest has been with me all year.
Die to SELF. Set aside my own agenda, my own wants, my own needs. Free myself to live a higher calling. I am so slow to grasp this! I cling so tightly to my selfish amibitions, desires, and mislabeled "needs".
But I do myself and everyone around me a grave disservice. By going after the things I think are important to me, I keep myself bound by their elusive claims to a better life.
He is calling me to let go. Not to deprive me, but to free me. Only then can He fill me with a deeper, more satisfying life.
I can see the visual before me. People gathered around a wooden casket, a pastor offering words of comfort and eternal insight. But this time, I see my SELF inside that box, preparing for its proper burial.
For me, this is the most challenging part of following Jesus. But it's also the most liberating. If I am going to live my life dead to SELF, I have to make the choice every moment of every day.
SELF. It's been a road block, a hindrance, a weight. It may take a lifetime to bury, but I'm putting it to rest, one shovel at a time.
"Many deaths must go into reaching our maturity in Christ, many letting goes."
"For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it."