When the ceiling caves in…

I dream a lot. Like, almost all the time. And my dreams are vivid, complicated, sometimes confusing, sometimes really out there. Usually I wake up, shake my head, maybe tell someone in my family about the weird dream I had last night, and that’s it.

Last night I had another vivid dream, but this time it was so relatable to my life that I thought it must have come from the way things have been lately with my house. In the first half of the dream, we had bought an old house. It was full of extremely outdated finishes and had a really strange layout to boot. We tried moving things around and hashing everything out but we just couldn’t make sense of how to fix it and make it livable. In the dream, we were only fixing it up to sell it again, so it didn’t need to work for us, but had to make sense for someone else. One day as we were looking at all the mismatched flooring and making plans for what we would put in its place, we thought we would see how things looked if we knocked out a wall to a bedroom. I feel as though we were planning to rebuild it, but as soon as it was done, we could see that the problem was space and as soon as we turned the three bedroom house into a two bedroom house and moved the living room that was next to the kitchen into the new space so that a dining room could be next to the kitchen, it all made sense. We became excited for the potential in this new space we had created.

In the second half of the dream, we were living in a too-small house and trying to fix things all at once – getting half a project done before starting a new one. It wasn’t just us working on it, we had hired a few people as well. The floors were mostly torn up but not replaced, walls were half painted, etc. It was a mess and I felt hopeless in the dream because the finish just seemed to be so far away. Halfway through this part of the dream, I walked into the living room and looked up and suddenly saw that the ceiling was full of cracks. Not just little ones, but huge cracks that were starting to gape. In the back of my mind, I knew there had been a few cracks present before, but this was the entire ceiling in that room. I turned around and saw one area bulging downward and water dripping from it. I panicked and ran out through the back door to catch Mike as he was walking away from the house to go pick up something for a project. He came back in and with him came a few of the guys who had been working on the house. One was a man we know, a respected pastor and prophetic voice in Canada. He does a lot of construction which I see on Facebook, so it made sense that he was there in the dream. He walked to the back of the room after seeing the crack I was so concerned about at the front and reached up behind the fireplace to the relatively low ceiling and grabbed a piece of it. A huge chunk of ceiling came out with a slight touch and a piece of the chimney swung down and nearly hit him. Suddenly, the whole ceiling on that side of the room was gone and we could see this huge vaulted expanse above it. At that moment, it wasn’t dismay that filled me, it was excitement – I said to him, “Now when we fix it, we can have a vaulted ceiling!” He laughed and said, “Sure, why not!” I knew it would make this house feel bigger and as I studied the space, I realized we would even have room for a loft. I imagined a master bedroom loft in this new upstairs space that hadn’t been there before and the fact that it would free up another bedroom on the main floor in this house. All the frustration about the state of the house was gone realizing that there was this huge potential there now.

When I woke up, it was all still very fresh in my mind but at first just felt like another weird dream. And really, one that was very relatable to me as our house has a long list of issues that need fixing, and at the moment, it feels like more than we can manage while the house feels all the time “too-small.”

But after thinking for a bit, I realized that this was not a dream about a house or construction, but about seemingly awful circumstances revealing great promise. About choices made to remove something in order to make room for something better. How could we have been living in a house with low ceilings and not see that the roof was so high and there had to be room for so much more in that house? And why had someone built it that way?

Sometimes we do what is easy and avoid or cover things up because we can’t handle the potential work it will take to get the job done. I’m not speaking about the physical as much as I am about the spiritual. We know that studying the Word, spending time in prayer, being mentored and digging deeper will produce good things but it feels like too much so we build the ceiling a little lower where it’s a whole lot more comfortable.

I think this dream has two meanings. The first is that we are not to limit ourselves by building our ceilings too low or making our life so compartmentalized that we miss the potential for bigger things (like the bedroom that was taking up valuable living space in the first house). The second is that we are sometimes overcome by circumstances beyond our control. A caved in ceiling sounds like a nightmare, but in this case, it revealed an expanse of space behind it that had so much potential. I think this part of the dream can apply to most of us right now in the season we’re living in. This year has often felt like a caved in ceiling. And we can choose to only see that if we want. For some, it’s a lot harder to see promise after this year. I am not making light of the horrendous things some people have lived through in the last eight months. But I do believe there is promise after this. We have had our systems broken down – they have caved in on us and for some, have nearly crushed us. We have been powerless to stop it and dismayed and depressed watching it happen. But there is this expanse of vaulted space beyond it – I believe that. The Church has the opportunity to come into a new season, new ways of doing things that may actually be better than before. In our own lives, we have the ability to help pull down those ceilings full of cracks and reach for something greater.

In the second half of my dream, I remember thinking that because of this seemingly awful thing that had happened, I could now see a way that we could stay in this house instead of moving out due to a lack of space. Maybe the caved in ceilings in our lives are showing us a new and better way to continue in areas we thought we had to walk away from.

Personally, I’m going to let this one simmer in my heart and mind for awhile. I’m going to ask God what my ceilings are, where my unnecessary bedroom spaces are that need to be pulled down to make room for more important things. What areas need to be shifted to see their full potential. Maybe this dream was just for me, but maybe one of you will see meaning in it as well. It just pressed on me a little too firmly to let it be something I write off to an active imagination, and I knew it was something I needed to share.

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