From Being Beat Down to Standing in the Gap

My favorite writing is sharing dreams that deeply inspire me well after waking from them. It’s difficult (as you well know) to hold memories of dreams even for moments after we wake up. I’ve lost capturing many dreams waking feeling “wow, that was powerful and seemed so real”, yet within minutes they vaporize from my ability to recall to any detail.

I didn’t have time to take notes of this one as I hurried to get dressed for work. I asked God throughout my work day to please help me keep enough detail to write about it that evening. It just felt really special!

So here goes my best effort at recalling and sharing what this dream spoke to my heart and mind, as I pondered it all day.

First, you know how dreams can go. They can go back and forth and change unlike our life awake. So, bear with the “transitions” please.

I saw myself in this dream as a young boy in a small white, wooden lap siding on cinder blocks home in a small town. I remember it being an older and small home because of the look of the wallpaper on the walls, the screen door, and the paint worn front porch.

It felt like I was around the age of 9-10. The distance to my school was only two blocks from our home. I dreaded that walk every morning and afternoon! I knew what was ahead more days than not and felt powerless to change the common experience on that walk to and from.

As I stepped off the porch and onto the sidewalk running along the street, I could see the school grounds from my home. It wasn’t a long walk at all. And the dreaded experience that was just another day in my life I usually began feeling before I opened the front door. There was a group of 3-6 older boys that always seemed to hang out at the stop sign just before you reach the school.

Sometimes there would be another young boy about my age walking ahead of me and I’d witness from a distance what was going to be me next, only bringing on the horror well before I reached them. I would witness that poor young boy ahead of me robbed of things he was carrying, torn up, or poured out, then the all too common beating to the ground before he could make his way back to his feet and run away as fast as possible towards the school entrance.

So now I’m next and I already know all too well every feeling I’m about to experience, the hurt and pain, my clothes sometimes stained from the grass and dirt, and worse than all that, the shame, hate, and helpless thoughts that will no doubt occupy my mind overriding most of what the teachers were saying throughout the day. This distraction very much affected my ability to focus and learn. The pain and anguish didn’t go away quickly. It usually lasted all day to varying degrees and the next day started with pain remaining that only add to yesterday’s anxiety and fear. I felt no chance of any real healing in body or mind until the weekends when I stayed inside the safety of our home as much as possible for that sole reason.

Imagine being beaten down almost every day. I’m not talking about a single blow from a fist, a slap, a trip, while painful, was over quickly and you were again on your way. Oh no, I’m talking about being hit hard all over the body by those fists, tripped or thrown to the ground, and the beating continued with kicks to the stomach and ribs added for extra measure some days. There’s no way to fight back. This is not just one person keeping me pinned down! Enduring each blow was more difficult, as seconds felt like minutes. Finally, they feel accomplished and the beating stops. The first millisecond I feel I can, I’m scrambling to my feet to get as much distance as possible between us.

I imagine it’d be difficult for most to grasp the physical, mental, and emotional pain I deal with almost daily. While the teacher is talking, all I can think about is my helplessness to protect myself. I also wished I could help other boys around me that are probably right where I’m at and hurting just as much.

So, when I’m not sulking over the pain and shame, I’m daydreaming and imagining myself as being much bigger and stronger, skilled at fighting, and well able to handle those older boys when we next meet, giving them quiet the surprise. Yes, there’s a very selfish motive in me right now wanting “payback” and I’m not denying that at all. But another set of thoughts racing through my mind in these same daydreams doesn’t seem so selfish. They seem honorable, with an even greater desire in me to stand between those like me in my current state and any bullies wanting to harm them.

My life would have so much purpose and meaning if I had memories at the end of my day of others where I found myself in the right place and time to stand in the gap between them and the forces wanting to harm them. I dream of being capable, well trained, and confident in the Master Warrior fighting through me, His skills unmatched by any enemy!

My dream and life’s goal still is to become a strong man, a real man among real men as brothers in the same cause, a man well trained physically, mentally, spiritually, etc., skilled and ready to take on the enemy’s attacks to myself, my family, my brother warriors, and others under the tight grip of the enemy begging for rescue. In this life goal, I can stand before any enemy in bold confidence in the training and Trainer whose unmatchable skills I only present myself a willing vessel for Him to flow through.

Don’t mistake my meaning when I say “willing vessel”!

Too many live as if being a “willing vessel” means nothing more than sitting on the couch and waiting for that call. Oh no my friend, that is so far from the true meaning of “a vessel”!

We that are called are a student, trainee, a war machine in the making, for battles against an enemy that is so underestimated in his skills, tactics, and knowledge, and oh so capable of finding the weak spots in each of our lives where he can implant thoughts of defeat and inability to resist temptations that lead to harm.

We must wake up every single day ready for training, listening to the Master’s voice and direction, most often whispered to our spirit. We must always keep a receptive frame of mind to hear it. If you are not in a state of receptiveness and readiness, it’s missed and you’re unable to be all you can be and possibly need. Missing those queues and directions from the trainer of all elite spiritual warriors often prevent us from being at the right place at the right time, properly prepared and equipped for the mission ahead.

When the going gets tough and another brother or sister in Christ needs desperate help to overcome the powerful grips of Satan and his minions within their minds and hearts, God often calls men like us to stand in that gap between them and that enemy, or enemies.

We cannot do this alone! Believing any part of any victory accomplished is because of our abilities alone are a terrible mistake and our personal growth stopped until we realize differently.

First, we NEVER fight alone. Our example, leader, and master trainer, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, IS that power, that skill set, that confidence, that knowledge of tactics needed to defeat every enemy, even the leader of all enemies, Satan himself. When we find ourselves called to stand in the gap, to lock shields with our fellow warrior brothers, giving all we are to His service, His will, His direction, we are NEVER alone! It is Christ who uses our well-trained bodies, minds, and hearts (vessels) as we strive each day to learn from His Word, learn from brothers He’ll often speak through, and taking advantage of every resource available to grow in Him.

We fully realize we ourselves live and strive not for peace in our own lives, but that we may bring His peace to others in great need.

This requires using every resource we have each day to learn from the Master all we can of how to live the Christ-Like life He has called us to. This often requires a great deal of pain and suffering on our part as we, the elite warriors of Christ, are the enemy’s worst threat to his plans to defeat and destroy every child of God possible. Satan will attack you and me and all we love and hold close in every way possible and we have to understand and accept that we have signed up for a life of struggle potentially far above and beyond those around us.

Accept this call if you feel it, sign up for training, commit your all to everything Christ through His Holy Spirit can teach you and you will stand out from the average Christian man today. You will feel rejected in some church circles, overly focusing on material blessings and not properly preparing their flock for life’s battles.

His perfect will and plan is not coming to you from the couch, from attending church every week, being a good and nice man, restraining from cursing, drinking no alcohol, and other efforts thought to make a good Christian by Pharisaic standards they cannot recognize was a strong force of frustration during Christ’s ministry on earth.

To end this writing. This dream has spoken deeply to me of the lengthy time regarding my life journey that the traumatic experiences I’ve been through in my life, all the defeats, beatings taken mentally and spiritually responsible for my losing confidence of ever effectively serving in ministry again, ever achieving what I once was in the workplace, ever again being the outdoorsman I thought in my younger and healthier years would always be my life’s source of happiness is now serving a purpose and training course God divinely planned, and I’m now understanding more and more.

Today, God has once again sparked an ember in my heart that I felt gone. I have been a lone wolf type man for many years trying to recover and rebuild on my own, unable to find loyal brothers that would take me into their tribe and have my six, truly showing they care and wanting to include me in their lives. I’m finding them now one by one!

Their acceptance and encouragement to serve again is growing and hopefully soon to ignite into the fire I knew in my younger years of ministry and thought gone forever.

I truly feel a calling now to once again be a man that Christ can depend on when called to be there for others in need. To daily train physically, mentally, and spiritually and fully submitting to the Master’s words and directions as I feel them inside or recognize them from others. I will no longer be that young boy in my dream who dreaded every day that walk to school. I will no longer accept feeling stuck in any job that with no thought of my health from the overwhelming stress and demotivating environment taking its toll. I will no longer allow the devastating events endured to experience to reduce me to rubble, merely trying to survive and recover from as best I can on my own.

I accept the call Lord to apply to Your training through your hand selected men of God placed in my path who can help me grow and be among other effective spiritual warriors as them. Our life purpose is to prepare, train, and always live ready for any battle it takes to steal any child of Yours from the enemy and return them to You.

I cannot in my wildest imagination see me at this stage of life being that man, but I know should God choose and call me, I can be any man He wants me to be as He equips me for the challenge! You’ve likely heard the phrase… God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called!

As I heard a pastor share in a sermon recently, I know I am not promised delivery from unfortunate circumstances and events. Even Christ himself faced a time he cried out for deliverance but ended that same request with “nevertheless not my will but Thine!” and was not spared from what He knew was just ahead. But I DO know God can use me even where I’m at and I can hope to grow and overcome current health conditions should it be within His will. Nevertheless (as Christ said that fateful day) Thy will be done in me Father. I give you all I am. You can use me in any condition I find myself in for any mission you may believe me qualified for.

Love ya, my brothers, in Christ!

Blane Sheffield

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