Internal Bearings

Internal Bearings

One evening, I tuned into a TV drama. I watched a female character succumb to an affair—a disappointing compromise. She was restless and discontent. Her lover questioned her about what she really needed. In effect, she said…ask me what I think and feel—all day—every day—for a long time.

Her comment struck me. I know what it’s like to feel invisible. Maybe you do too.

When others don’t give us “place,” we can’t necessarily alter their mindsets. And yet, in a way, finding place has more to do with us than them.

Dorothy travelled a long yellow-brick road to find her way home, but the change in her heart was her ticket all along. Rosa Parks reached a tipping point and claimed her bus seat. Her God-given confidence set in motion a movement that would give others their rightful place.

George WashingtonGeorge Washington relinquished a place of power by refusing to be a king. He wanted freedom from tyrannical rulers for our country. And that decision released a new thing in the world—a government by the people, for the people.

What’s the same in these examples? 

Having place isn’t so much external. Rather, confidence emerges within when you find “place” in God and who He created you to be.

Jesus understood that. As James Ryle once said, Jesus had nothing to hide, nothing to lose, nothing to fear and nothing to prove. He did not strive for place in the world’s system. His seat of authority was firmly established in the heavens. And in the end, He gave up his earthly life to garner a “place” in our hearts.

Last week, I talked about REDRESS—the second of three words that God spoke to me one night as I fell asleep. It means to set right, remedy, relieve distress, and bring correction. As it turned out, God wanted to redress my sense of not feeling “place.”

Four days later, I had an interesting dream:  In the scene, I’m at an airport gate with boarding pass in hand. The pilot arrives and swipes his ID card through the gate agent’s computer to confirm his credentials. His name comes up on the screen. He goes by the name, “Red”—probably an aviator nickname. Then I notice something else. His last name is “Dress.”

My spirit stirs.

We both enter the back entrance of the airplane. He carries authority, but his demeanor is entirely happy-go-lucky. My seat is in the last row. I start to stow my bags, while he banters with a few flight attendants.

Suddenly the plane is taking off. I look at him and say, “Shouldn’t you be up in the cockpit?” It seems like the right question to ask. He calmly replies, “I have a great team up there.”

I’m not buckled in yet. Frantically, I grasp the arms of my seat, struggling to secure my place.

ski jumpingRed makes his way up the aisle. He pauses to lean forward, riding the plane like a ski jumper enjoying the thrill of big air as we fly upward into the atmosphere. He seems nonchalant about getting to his place or the need for safety belts.

Later I look into the cockpit. Red is instructing his copilot and another person. He appears to take his job seriously, but remains remarkably carefree.

The dream ended there, but its symbolism resonated loud and clear. Here are a few interpretive thoughts.

–Red Dress is a person who has “place.” As a secure person, he is not haughty or overbearing. Instead he seems lighthearted, accessible, and comfortable in his own skin.

LincolnAbraham Lincoln was humorous and warm with his staff, though he led America through one of the darkest times. Winston Churchill mingled with people of all classes without any trace of condescension or awkwardness.

Churchill–People like Red have humility—they can enter through a back door without pageantry. God made the greatest backdoor entrance as a baby, born in a stable.

–My seat assignment is in the last row. I seem to take what is handed to me. I play it safe in life, buckling my seatbelt as soon as possible. The plane takes off before I am ready—a familiar feeling, reflecting my insecurities.

–But Red enjoys the thrill of the ride. He leans into the adventure. He has a “Look! No hands!” kind of freedom.

–He’s part of a team, sharing the power, mentoring others, valuing their input and trusting their expertise. It’s a picture of the Body, with Christ as the head.

True “place” is finding identity in God. It’s internal. Self-confidence is best when it comes from God and does not depend on external things. No elbowing to the front, no budging in line, no denigrating others to feel our own importance. The world will buffet and bully, but when your sense of self comes from God, you will bring something truly authentic to the human struggle.


  1. what a gift god has given you. you PAY ATTENTION like i wish i could. it may be a gift just for you. we all have different ones and when you share yours it inspires me to great heights. i LOVE red dress! cool guy, i want to be him! (or you with your extra ability to interpret this great stuff for the rest of us).
    thank you as usual.
    suzee B