In 2005 when I was in counseling for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) my counselor was not a Christian. How I ended up in his office is an amazing story that I can share another time but his expertise was in helping trauma victims. And while he was not a Christian, he respected my faith and beliefs. He allowed me to determine my course of treatment without imposing his beliefs into the mix. The Lord used him mightily even though I don’t know if my therapist realizes it as fully as I do.
During one session we got into some *serious* way down deep stuff. I usually prayed before we would “go there” and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal, heal and guide me. During this processing/prayer time I saw in my mind’s eye (imagination) that I was a Mourning Dove (little grey dove that’s very common in the South and especially Texas) that was shackled with a big huge slave shackle around me. This might sound hokey but it is so true; I imagined Jesus coming to me in my bound state as a Mourning Dove. He encouraged me to come out of the shackle and fly. I slipped out easily, but didn’t know how to fly. I flopped, teetered and tottered but couldn’t quite get it.
Then the Lord did an amazing thing, He became a dove too, not a pretty white one in all the Christian tracts … he was a little grey Mourning Dove just like I was. He extended his wings and I imitated Him. He hopped away, ran to a bush … I followed. He lit out from the bush to another, I did the same. Not as gracefully, but I was picking up speed. As I got going, it came naturally. As he started to take short little flights, I flew too. We flew from a bush to a tree. Then in one huge smooth motion He flew out of the tree and transformed from a Mourning Dove into a beautiful bold Eagle.
Without hesitation I launched out after Him and transformed into an Eagle as well.
Now back in reality, I sat in the badly decorated counseling office with terrible furniture … and I was crying my eyes out. Snotty kleenex everywhere, and my secular humanist therapist literally sat there looking a bit stunned.
After my counselor worked to calm me down long enough to explain what had just happened he listened carefully and then just blinked and said. “So … GOD? God just … showed you all that?” and I blew my nose and said, “Yep, He’s does stuff like that.” My therapist went on to say that he wasn’t going to bring this up for another few sessions but since “God” had decided to bring it up anyway we went right into the issue of “learned helplessness.” How the systematic abuse I had suffered had taught me from childhood into early adulthood the concept of learned helplessness, the only option I thought was possible was to simply be in fear and pain.
The systematic abuse was the slave shackle, but my learned helplessness was symbolized by the fact that you really can’t contain a dove with that kind of a shackle. Then, and as an adult, I didn’t know how to escape the pain once the PTSD was triggered. I walked out of that session with a LOT to think about, and a different man. I knew the Lord was coaching me to leave the death of false imprisonment, and start learning how to completely fly on my own.
The Lord has shown me that I didn’t have to be simply content with hopping around from one pit stop to another … but to soar with Him. While training and growing is important, it isn’t the end goal. He doesn’t want us to just be free of bondage, He wants us transform into so much more than what we could have ever thought or imagined.
Remembering this, I am apt to think that God is encouraging me that I am soaring with Him through this turbulent time in life.
It’s not perfect, I am still a mess in many ways … but I am so glad to be following His lead.