When life feels overwhelming

No Headlights

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I had a dream last night, really more of a nightmare if I am honest. I was driving down a very dark road with my child sitting in the back seat. We were talking, having a good time, then all of a sudden it was getting really hard to see. Dusk was falling, faster than I had seen coming, and I realized my headlights weren’t on. I didn’t move to flip them on, I didn’t even tell myself I could. I honestly didn’t even think I needed them. I was, in fact, panicking in the growing darkness telling myself I absolutely did not need my headlights on.

As we kept going, it became full night, there were no street lights, no lamps in the distance, nothing. It was pure darkness. I started swerving a bit in my panic, and felt the car hit a bumpy part of the road. The bumping and jolting got worse, from small gravel to what felt like massive speed bumps one after the other until finally, I flipped on the headlights to see what I was hitting, and instantly the car fell nose first, straight down to a big crash.

I heard screams and yelling all around. I looked at my child, who was freaking out but she was not hurt. I got out of the car, where all I could see from the inside looking out was pure darkness, and as I opened the door was blinded by light. There were people staring at me, yelling, crying, and someone finally told me I had hit their child who was inside the house now, fighting for their life. I told them I was so heart-breakingly sorry, that I couldn’t see, it was too dark, I had no light. They asked me why I never turned the headlights on and I said I couldn’t, it was too dark! I could not have turned the lights on, it wouldn’t have helped! It was just too dark!

I suddenly fell to my knees, my child came to me, and then all of a sudden I saw my grandfather, who passed away last year, come to me, take my hand, put my child and me in the front seat of the car, then proceed to get into the driver’s seat. He looked at me and said “don’t worry, the child will be safe, and so are you now. I’m here.” He put his great grandchild on his lap as I realized I had been driving a two-seater the whole time, with my kid fully exposed in the front seat next to me. My grandfather looked at me, smiled, and we drove off into immense, comforting light, and I knew I was safe.

What to do when life feels overwhelming
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I woke up confused, wondering about this nightmare, and as I kept dwelling on it I realized that this dream is exactly what life felt like before I came to Christ; like driving in the growing, suffocating darkness, refusing to turn on the light I had right next to my hand in finger’s reach. I had the opportunity to turn on the light, to come to Him, but I had convinced myself I didn’t need to, that I could do it on my own, that I could figure it out.

All of a sudden, everything took a nosedive and I sought out the light in my panic. Even in my panic, though, He came for me and I realized He had been there the whole time. I had messed up horrifically driving around in the dark on my own. I had put other lives in danger because of my stubbornness, but as soon as I turned on the light, as soon as I reached for Him, He was right there to fix it, to pick me up, to guide me back to His light, and I was immediately comforted and at peace.

God is with us always, even when we don’t want Him to be, and even when we don’t think He is there. Even though we think we don’t need His help, He knows we do and will be there when we’re ready to turn on the light and invite Him in. All it takes is one flip of the light-switch, as easy as turning on the headlights of your car, to invite Him in. Then you can immediately begin to feel Him working in you.

When I finally came to Christ in my desperation 6 years ago, I was in a dangerous situation and I was panicking, but the very moment I trusted Him I was overflowing with His strength, courage, wisdom, and peace. I knew in that instant that all these things I’d believed; I couldn’t make it on my own, I was a failure, I was worthless, I’d never be able to take care of myself or my child, I would never be loved, I wasn’t even worthy of love, no one would ever care for me, I was a terrible person who only got in the way, I was a terrible mother, a terrible wife, a terrible daughter – these were all lies I had allowed myself to believe and in that instant, I was set free of it all.

It took a long time to heal, to move forward emotionally and mentally, but each step of the way God was there to guide me. I have realized now, looking back, that He was there the entire time. He was pulling on my heart, providing me with wisdom and guidance even though I continued to swat Him away. Even though I was a defiant child choosing to stay in my pain and misery, He was there to comfort me along the way, and lift me out as soon as I surrendered to Him.

This is what He offers to all of us. I’m not saying it is easy, but it is possible and it is worth it. Even when life gets tough I can tackle it with more confidence, strength and perseverance. I can find peace while chaos surrounds me. I am able to recognize the lies of Satan and seek God’s truth. Just reach out, turn on the Light and invite Him in, then lean on Him to guide you through the rest.

Also, never forget that you are not the only one who has stumbled around in the dark. We all go through it. All of us need to find the light-switch and make the decision to turn it on. Don’t cast a judging eye on those who are in the dark, but pray over them with compassion and remember where you were pulled out of and that they, too, need that reaching moment. Look at others with love and understanding, and listen for God’s calling for you to be used to help others reach His light. You never know how He may use you to shine His light on those in the dark.

Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,

Psalm 13:3

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

1 John 1:5

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

Revelation 21:23

For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Psalm 56:13

God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.

Genesis 1:4

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.

Psalm 18:28

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