There was this dream I had.
It came after I had been experiencing days of bad thoughts. Some from memories, some from false beliefs I thought were dealt with and left behind, and some from unwelcome and unexpected experiences that had recently occurred.
I love it when I get dreams that are directly related to experiences I've just had because I know for a fact God is speaking.
The dream was this.
I was listening to a conversation between Christians on YouTube. I was trying to glean – you know, trying to pick up leftovers from what was being said; trying to find some truth in it for my current circumstances. As I was watching and listening, there appeared a big garden rubbish bin next to me, and it was filled up with old leaves that had begun to break down and compost.
In the morning during my quiet time with the Lord, I asked Him what the dream meant. As soon as I asked, I saw these words in my head, in big capital letters.
PUT THE RUBBISH IN THE BIN
I knew the rubbish He was referring to were the thoughts that had been bothering me. I didn't want to go pick up the rubbish, but I knew I had to deliberately visit these unwelcome thoughts and feelings. There was rejection, lack of value, worthlessness, feeling misunderstood and maligned, condescended to, not-listened to, alone, friendless, betrayal, feeling judged. So much. I was surprised at all that was in that bin.
I’ve always been told I'm a "highly sensitive person". (As if that's a bad thing.)
I can be a bit like a street sweeper truck. I drive along collecting the atmospheres I'm in, pick up body language and facial recognitions, gather up intonation as people speak. I used to be tormented by it all because I would have nowhere to dump it except inside me and I took it all so personally.
Instead of storing everything I perceive inside myself, as I've understood more about God and about who I am because of Him, now I'm more like a sieve, catching and filtering as He washes everything unclean away. I've come to realise being a "highly sensitive person" is a bonus because it allows me to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and trust in knowing Him.
As I was asking God to explain the dream to me, I saw the bottom of the garden bin where all the really mucky stuff had accumulated. Instead of leaving it there, I’d been dredging it. I'd been finding the stuff that had accumulated way down deep and handling it again, looking at it, smelling it, and touching it. What a stinky, gluggy, slimy mess! It was getting all over me again.
Do you know what’s meant to happen with compost?
You are meant to put the lid on it and leave it alone. Occasionally, you turn it but only briefly. You don’t want the air to get to it or it won’t continue to break down. You’re not really meant to get your hands and face into it again. That's disgusting.
Good compost is broken down rubbish (vegetation). You can take the lid off occasionally and look at it, briefly, but only to assess what stage of composting it's up to. You can’t help but smell it. You don’t have to put your nose in it, the smell will rise to you! It stinks, because it’s rotten. But the intention is to leave it in its dark place to rot properly.
Guess what happens to it?
It eventually turns inside its own heat into beautiful rich soil. Full of nutrients. Compost – the debris of waste – becomes nutrition that helps other things grow.
Isn’t that amazing?! This was my dream.
This is what I was to do with all those messy thoughts and stinky feelings, and those old, old memories and associations that had been starting to turn over in my head without the lid on. It had been polluting my air and making what should be clean, foul.
PUT THE RUBBISH IN THE BIN.
Eventually, if you’re in God’s Word and He is renewing your mind, your mind will linger on other things. Beneficial things. And God will cause your rubbish to become compost, and your compost to become nutrient rich soil that will help others grow.
Philippians 4:8 (BSB)
Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think on these things.