Dreams: What Are They? Should You Be Paying Attention to Them?
Everybody dreams. Just so we’re all on the same page, we will be talking about the mini movies that play in your head while you are sleeping. By the way, don’t tell me you never dream. If you do not dream that means you are dead. I think it is safe to assume that zero dead people are reading this. You are definitely dreaming every night. Remembering the dreams is the problem.
What exactly is a dream? Webster’s dictionary says that they are a series of thoughts, visions or feelings that happen during sleep. That’s pretty basic.
Maybe you are familiar with Sigmund Freud’s thoughts:
“ …every dream will show itself to be a senseful psychological structure which may be introduced into an assignable place in the psychic activity of the waking state.”
First of all, nobody knows what that means. Secondly, this guy thought everything was about sex.
Another well-known voice in the dream world is Carl Jung. He thought they were a way to communicate and acquaint yourself with the unconscious. Ok, I think most of us are interested in just communicating better in the conscious realm.
You know who else talks a lot about dreams? God. The Bible has many references to dreams including occurrences like Joseph and the fat cow/skinny cow dream, Nebuchadnezzar’s night vision of man consisting of many different elements and Jesus’ Dad getting warned about impending doom.
The first mention of a dream was in Genesis 20 when God told Abimelech “indeed you are a dead man” for trying to shack up with Abraham’s wife Sarah. Of course, this was partially Abe’s fault since he tried to pass Sarah off as his sister, but that’s beside the point. The first message via dream in the Bible wasn’t all that uplifting, but I’m sure Abimelech was appreciative of the heads up. Abimelech had what is called a warning dream. This is a common category of dream. We’ll get to more on that later in this series.
We can see right away that one of the main purposes of dreams is for God to speak to us. That answers the second question I posed in the title. We should definitely be paying attention. As we Christians like to quote, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is speaking to you in your dreams right now. Are you listening?
“I don’t dream … I mean I don’t remember them.”
“I don’t know what they mean. They seem so weird.”
I can hear these objections right now, but I am here to help. Here are some tips to understand what God is saying in your dreams.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to help. He is the Helper and He loves to help. The Bible clearly teaches ask and it will be given to you. Whether you need help remembering the dream or understanding you will always need the wisdom of God. You will never get the correct meaning of a dream outside of the assistance of the Holy Spirit. When you recognize that dreams are a gift from God and honor them with your time, expect to have more God inspired encounters during sleepy time. What you focus on you make room for.
- Read your Bible. If you are not reading your Bible, God’s number one way of speaking to us, don’t hold out for a load of miraculous dreams to come your way. Not just that, but meditate on what the Bible specifically says about dreams, in dreams and through dreams. Just like every part of our life, build a foundation on God’s written word and see your dream life flourish.
- Get your pen and paper handy. As soon as you wake from a dream you should write it down. Dreams fade away quickly after we have them and that is why many of us have a hard time remembering them or think we don’t have them. The process of writing it down will help you remember important points of the dream. I actually keep my dreams in the cloud … on my cell phone.
- Don’t do drugs. You should follow this advice whether or not you’re interested in dreams. Seriously, though, chemical substances (i.e. sleeping pills) in your body can most certainly affect your dream life. We should always be careful about what we consume. If the medication you take is absolutely necessary go back to prayer. God is determined to communicate with you and He can make a way!
We just scratched the surface of the mysterious world of dreams. That’s part of the fun. It’s a mystery. God doesn’t make it overtly obvious. He’s most interested in the relationship that is developed between you and Him as you search out the hidden truths of His Word and His dreams for you.
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
– Proverbs 25:2
Dreams are God’s personalized, secret, nighttime messaging system to each and every one of us. He’s waiting for you to join the conversation!
About the Author
Mark is a marketer and sometimes writer. He's trying to get better at that sometimes thing.