This is a continuation of a previous post, sharing of my personal deliverance from decades of recurring nightmares. Hopefully you’ve read the previous two so that you have a background of understanding regarding this blog series.
Me: “Pastor, I started having dreams again. I haven’t had them in years, but they’re back. I know what to do during the day when memories or anxious thoughts threaten to overtake me, but this is at night when I’m sleeping. Sometimes I’m afraid to go to sleep, for fear of what will meet me there! I feel so helpless! So defenseless!”
I remember that call like it was last summer. I felt so ashamed to tell my Pastor about my nightmares, the context of them, the effect they had on me. Many of my dreams were a mix of torment and ‘cloaked remembrance’. Some were just ‘straight from the pit of hell’. In my dreams, the enemy taunted the deep places in my soul, shouting “See, you’re not free of me! You can’t stop me!” In my dreams, I was still a victim, and I could still be victimized. It was so shaming, so degrading.
Pastor D: “You are not defenseless, even in your sleep. Your body might be sleeping, but your spirit (the spirit of man, which is the dwelling place for the Holy Spirit living within you) is wide awake and on the job. You are not without defense!”
He probably said it a little differently and maybe said more – but that simple assurance that I was not without defense, and still able to engage the enemy and win, even while my body slept – it was such a miraculous concept to me that I think I might have stopped listening for a few minutes (oops). But I digress.
STEP 1: prepare – prepare for battle by putting on God’s protective armor
STEP 2: position
Just like a wise warrior wears protection (armor) for the battle, he/she will also prepare for battle by “positioning” themselves so that they have the greatest advantage over the enemy. You’re strategy also needs to include “positioning”. Before the end of my call with Pastor D, he gave me these simple instructions. I am calling them “Step 2”, and am going to list them quickly here and then expound upon them a little more in a future post.
Pray before going to bed.
And in your prayers, remind yourself that as a believer, you have made your home in Christ Jesus, and therefore you are covered by the shadow of God Himself. He is your protector while you sleep, and His Spirit resides within you to stand guard over you from the inside out.
[I recommend you read/study Psalm 91 to build your understanding]
Put on some worship music – something soothing (after all, you’re going to bed – not a rock concert). It doesn’t necessarily have to be in your bedroom, but play it somewhere in your home and ideally, let it play all night long.
[Don’t laugh at me, but I like to -and often do- listen to Scripture Lullabies. Not only is it calming worship, but I’m memorizing scripture at the same time. One of my favorite songs is “Strength of my Heart”, but they are all amazing. Who says lullabies are just for babies!!]
Speak the Name of Jesus.
With head on pillow, and as you drift off into sleep, quietly speak the Name of Jesus to yourself. There is power and authority in His Name, and even the whisper of His Name heard through your ears will bring comfort and peace … and sleep.
That one phone call, and implementing these three practices, was the tipping point in my decades-long battle with recurring nightmares. It didn’t happen overnight, but greater and greater breakthrough came, and then they began to pile up on top of each other! I was now armed with the Word of God, protected by the Armor of God, and positioned under the Shadow of the Almighty. Within a fairly short period of time, the enemy was on the run!
I encourage you to start implementing these practices tonight and get started on your journey to the good kind of pile up! If you haven’t already downloaded “Love Letters”, please see the Step 1: Prepare post. You’ve got to get the enemies words out of your head, and the only way you can successfully do that is to replace his thoughts with better thoughts. And who has better thoughts for you than the One who created you, and sent Jesus to bring you back to Himself? No one!! [Oh, I would so love to tell you more about the love of God for you!]
Don’t forget to watch for the release of Step 3: Punch! It’s my favorite step!! 🙂