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God has gifted us with wonderfully creative minds. The world around us, both secular and Christian, often dismisses dreams as crazy night dramas caused by partially digested pepperoni pizza. External stimuli such as medication or even pregnancy can trigger strange dreams. But as the saying goes, you can’t throw the baby out with the bath water. We’re complicated human beings with the Spirit of God abiding in us. That Spirit will and can use any avenue available to Him to get your attention. Dreams are tools that can be used by God.
The Bible is full of stories about dreams and dreamers. My favorite of course would be all the dreams that Joseph had regarding Mary and baby Jesus. It says several times that he was warned in a dream to go here and go there. What if Joseph chalked these warning dreams up to a bad piece of lamb kabob?
My prayer for each of you: I pray your ability to journal and understand dreams with the help of the Holy Spirit will increase dramatically. I pray your time with God will be preserved and greatly blessed. May you always see the character of God-
IN YOUR DREAMS
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Interested in my interpretation of your dreams?
This intrepretation is filtered through my grid of life experiences and understanding that may help you gain better insight to your own dream awareness. I'd like to assist you in anyway I can. For $10.00 you can use Google checkout and email your dream to email@example.com. I will email you back with my interpretation of your dream. You must remember that dreams are best interpreted by yourself but if you would like a fresh prespective of your dream then I can add to what you may already understand. I only hold another facet or angle of view that you may not have considered. All proceeds from dream interpretations will go toward the funding of EVENSONG. This is a "dream center" located in Northern California in the small town Etna, CA. It'll be a learning center for journaling and self interpretations of dreams or a launching point for beginners and the curious to learn something new about the world we live and dream in. Thank you for your input.
MY FIRST DREAM
I can remember my first dream around the age of five. In the dream, I was riding in our old family Rambler in the front seat next to my dad. My dad was driving when he turned off the road and started driving across a green meadow full of spring grass and flowers. I thought it was beautiful. Suddenly, my dad drove straight into a pit that was about fifty feet deep. It was like a huge well that was hidden in the meadow. We landed at the bottom, and I turned to ask my dad how we were going to get out. He didn’t know how and just sat there. I heard a thud and realized another car had fallen into the pit on top of us, and then another, and another, and another until the hole was filled with cars stacked upon each other like pancakes. I began to climb on each of the empty cars and reached the top of the pit alone. Looking down at all the cars in the pit, I noticed my dad was gone and I was by myself.
I didn’t understand the news of my parents' divorce, because I was too young to realize what that meant. When my dad broke the news to me, he said, “Your mom and I are getting a divorce.” I was so excited! I wondered what color it would be. I thought it was a new car like getting a Chrysler or other big words that I didn’t know. Later my mom said they would no longer be living together, and our family would be without dad in our house.
The landscape of my green valley that was full of beautiful spring grass and flowers had an undeniable flaw. A hidden pit swallowed my dad and nearly buried me alive. The empty hulks of cars were my escape. I made it to the top of the pit but ultimately felt abandoned and alone.
Do you see the connection of the reality of my situation being woven together into a dream parable? At the age of five began
THE AWARENESS OF DREAMS
The dreams that stood out the most for me in my youth were nightmares. As I got older, the nightmares increased in both frequency and intense emotion. One night at the age of fifteen, I experienced what seemed to be the culmination of all my fears in one night. The dream went like this…
It was a moonless night in my room. I had knowledge of an evil man who was stalking me with intentions to kill me. I was aware that I had to kill him first before he killed me. I stealthfully hid behind the pine trees outside my bedroom. Step by step, I got closer to the evil man, and I attacked him from behind. I was able to get my hands around his neck and began to choke him. I dared not let go of his neck for this was my only chance to live. The man was quite clever and transformed into my cat that I loved. I knew it to be a trick, so I kept choking him/cat. I loved my cat, and the evil man was trying to pull at my compassion. The cat/man started to purr to make me lose focus. It took everything I had to realize that it was a trick, and I would not let go. Finally, the cat died in my hands, and the man was nowhere to be found.
Emotions surged through my head and body, and I began to sob uncontrollably over my dead cat and the choice I had to make. Who would die that night? I woke myself up crying and in a state of panic thinking the stalker was still outside my window. Crying and scared, I sought relief in my mom and step dad's room in the middle of the night.
I never told my parents the full extent of the dream. I was confused and embarassed that a dream could impact me with such visions and strong emotions. I had pride in my sanity, and these dreams were the mark of an insane person. The dream theme of murder and the intensity of fear emotions were something I never wanted to repeat again, but
THE NIGHTMARES INCREASED
I would like to be able to tell you that my dreams were full of happy occasions and storybook endings, but that was not the case. I’m sure that I had normal dreams too, but the ones super charged with emotions were the dreams I remembered in the morning. I dreamt of trying to run away from bad guys in slow motion, being engulfed by a tsunami on the beach (before it was news), and being shot by bad guys in a van. These were the headlines of the morning dream news I tried to ignore. The emotions were too intense. Ignoring wasn’t an option anymore.
One day I had a crazy thought that if I learned about dreams I could control them and make them go away. Maybe I could even start to have dreams with more positive outcomes like being rich or swimming in a calm ocean of blue without the storms.
I was eighteen when I took my first and only college course of “Dream Psychology” from Jan Dionne at Chico State University in California. Jan was able to equip me with the tools I still use today when approaching my dreams. It was one of those classes that change your life forever. By the end of that semester, I had established the ability to examine my dreams, interact with the contents of the dreams, and learn to sort through the different levels of dreams. Some dreams are a part of a process of sorting out the day’s events, or a reaction to spicy pizza. Others point to a more serious internal attitude toward something that needs to be examined. I began to examine all my dreams and caught on quite quickly to the dreamscape. By the end of that class, I turned the corner on my nightmares and started seeing life in a new dimension. I began to understand.
I was a “stuffer.” I stuffed my emotions down into the pit of my heart or drowned them in a pool of drugs to make their voices silent. You can only do that for so long. A good communicator may not have such dramatic dreams if the person deals with the reality of life in the moment. That wasn’t my case. The bright side is that I’ve been journaling dreams for over twenty five years and have learned a few things myself. I have developed my own spin off of the dream world through my observations and experiences that aren’t in textbooks. It's unchartered waters where I’ve been. It’s my confident expectation that my experiences will help you to be equipped to begin your own DREAM LIFE…
My first eleven years of dream journaling were done without the benefit of spiritual awareness. At the age of 29, I made a commitment to Jesus and asked Him to be Lord in my life. Those first eleven years were nonetheless fruitful to a certain point, but true clarity came when I allowed the Spirit to participate. Here is an example of what I mean. The primary colors in white light are red, blue and green. I remember the old TV screens that were made up of tiny dots of red, blue and green to make the overall picture look normal. What if the option of red was removed from the TV screen? You would still be able to see the picture but not in its fullness. That’s what it feels like to me.
When you’re able to incorporate the spiritual aspect into your life, then you have a balance of BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT. Please hear my heart; it’s not a requirement to be “spiritual” in order to participate in dreams. I’m just relaying to you the change in my perspective when I yielded to the Spirit. It added to the depth and dimension of the whole dream when before I felt full understanding was missing.
The direction of my dream journaling for the last fourteen years has been done through my Christian paradigm. It is through my journey that I will show you what I’ve learned and reveal candid moments of my life in hopes that each individual person will find a point of common ground in basic understanding of how to recall dreams, dream journal and self interpret your own dreams.
Recall Dreams, Dream Journaling and Self Interpretations of Your Own Dreams.
A majority of the people in the world today are recognizing their dream lives seem to be increasing. People are waking up from their dreams with a feeling that their dream was significant, yet by the time their feet hit the floor, it has vaporized completely. I’ve began to wonder about the verse in Joel that says,
“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.”
I wonder if the reason God is increasing dreams and visions is because we have become a very busy people. How much time in a day do we really set aside for God? We’re saturated daily with responsibilities of jobs, family, physical fitness routines and community services that take away our time with God. Even our pastors and leaders are finding it increasingly impossible to set time aside because of the demands of the church. Funny how that works. When do we have time to hear god? IN OUR DREAMS.
If we don’t give God His due time while we’re awake and meditating on His word, then I believe that He God will find another avenue to reach us. My sleep time seems to be the only time where I’m quiet enough to listen. It’s at this time that God has my full attention. I can listen to God without arguing. It’s a time when my logical thinking and limited imagination are resting and the fullness of God can be seen.
I love dreams. I love that God created this wonderfully complex brain full of imagery and drama. It’s a place of open communication where God has the stage of our dreams to relay messages and reveal Himself to us. It’s a place where we look at ourselves to evaluate our character or examine the thoughts of our hearts.
I realized a few years ago that God has always been in my dreams. He never leaves me nor forsakes me. I’m never alone in my dreams. His presence often comes as a metaphor or symbol. It’s like looking for the hidden pictures in the Highlight Magazines at the dentist office. It’s exciting to find the hidden objects in the picture and just as exciting to find God in your dreams tucked away in some detail. It’s the ultimate treasure hunt. SO…Where is God?
Where is God?
I believe in creation. I believe that EVERYTHING screams testimony of a creator- even a scummy cockroach. Upon examination, even a cockroach is wildly complex. I could never think it possible that I could make something so complex. Now I look at a cockroach with such awe and wonder- (then I kill it!! Sorry God!). My point is that I give God credit for every good thing. I believe dreams are a good thing. I believe that God created this ability and forum to communicate with us. It's another avenue for people like me who have vivid imaginations to dream.
God is a now God. He talks to us in our modern day language and the environment we live in. If He talked to us about sheep, tent making or the table of show bread in the temple, how could we relate? I dream of planes, cell phones, computers, camping gear, office environments, sports cars and bicycles because that is what I’m familiar with. If I were to dream about driving on the left side of the road, I would be concerned. If I lived in Europe, I would think that to be natural. The life of each person brings to the table unique experiences and individual paradigms. Each person will develop a different self-dream vocabulary and parables that only the individual having the dream will fully understand.
Many dreams exhibit biblical references such as historical meanings of color, stones, metals, numbers, seasons, directions (such as north, south, east and west) and alike. Those types of symbols are ancient and hold true. These things are beyond the now but are eternal truths that withstand the test of time. A person of Jesus’ day would dream of transportation by way of boat or donkey. We dream of cars and the Love Boat cruise ship. In general, it still represents a mode of transportation.
It’s with this perspective that I hold up the magnifying glass to a dream and look for the God. Remember that not all dreams have a “God” hidden in them, but that’s where I start. Once I determine the significance of a dream, I can go on from there. I can examine the dream for what it's trying to say. or enjoy it for its surface value. It depends on where you want to go with it.
<youtube v="nUDIoN-_Hxs" /> THE FACES OF DREAMERS
Let me encourage you with this thought. If you’re a person who seldom dreams or even someone who knows you dream but can’t remember your dreams in the morning, there’s hope for you. Your hope is in Christ and in Him all things are possible. Dream journaling reminds me of the movie “What about Bob?” with Bill Murray. He sees a therapist played by Richard Dryfuss who has written a book on baby steps. The first idea presented to phobic Bob is not how to leave the high rise building which has overwhelmed him. First he has to learn how to leave the room, then go down the hall to the elevator, then exit the lobby. Like any new endeavor, we start with baby steps.
My first journal entry was simple. This was my baby step. I remembered only one or two line sentences describing my dream. It went something like this: I brushed my teeth. The toothbrush was green. Wow that was insightful! But that’s all I could remember. I remembered little actions I did in dreams for several months such as walking somewhere or seeing someone. That was it. Don’t be discouraged. Starting a dream journal is like undermining the base of a dam. One day you’ll remember three sentences, then four. It always increases when you practice, then one day you have a dream like a flood and not enough pages to write it all down. I promise.
FOUR: THE JOURNAL ENTRY
The following bullets are ideas to help you establish a dream journaling lifestyle. If you incorporate these ideas into your life, then you’ll begin to see changes in your awareness of your dreams. Let’s get started!
- One of the most practical ways to get started on journaling dreams is to purchase a small, hardbound journal with lines. I discourage the purchase of journals with spiral binding, because I’ve notice through the years that the ones with the spiral bindings tend to lose pages and that’s not acceptable. Large notebooks aren’t practical either because their bulk prevents them from being portable. I like to travel and backpack. The standard journal fits best. I also like to find journals that have appealing covers to make it fun to write in. Once your journal is full, it’s helpful to mark the outside cover with numbers 1, 2, 3 indicating their sequence. Writing dates on the outside will be more accurate.
- Positive thinking is a must. Reading your Bible at night before you fall asleep is a great way to saturate your mind with thoughts of Christ that sustain you until morning. It’s a form of positive thinking and a wonderful habit to develop. One way I remember dreams is by declaring at night before I fall asleep that, “I will remember my dream(s) when I wake up.” That preps your mind to be obedient to your desires. It really works! Make this another part of your falling asleep ritual.
- Each journal entry should include;
- The date (including the year)
- Location of the dream
- Write the actual dream
- Associations such as how you were feeling or lack of feelings, impressions (for example: I saw a man and I knew it to be my father even though he looked different), sensations such as touch, smells and sounds, metaphors or puns, songs and names.
- The previous day’s events. This is an important step because it may have triggered your dream. (Example: I took my car to be repaired, dropped mail and ate dinner at grandma's.)
- What do you think the dream may mean?
- Give your dream a title.
FIVE: EXAMPLE DREAM #1
The following is an example of what a journal page should look like.
Date: 10-04-03 Location: In my bed / Ephrata, Washington.
Dream: I’m getting dressed. I’m wearing a red shirt with ¾ length sleeves. I look down to see that I put my bra on the outside of my shirt. I try to put it under my shirt but I’m unable to. Now I notice that I’m in a bedroom (but I know it’s mine) where there’s a king size bed under a canopy. The canopy is boxlike and skirts the outer edges of the bed below. It’s suspended from the ceiling rafters and is made of ornate carved wood 18 inches in length. (My profession is a Building Inspector and I would notice the construction and the connection of the canopy to the rafters.) It’s securely fastened to the rafters and beautifully finished. From the 18-inch canopy hung silk fabric with beads and hanging crystals behind it. In total it was about 30 inches in length with the fabric and beads. To the left is a nightstand with a reading lamp that is gold and has a flexible support that you can bend into any position that best suits your reading. The lamp has three golden light cans the size of tea cups that can slip into each other as one or remain separate. I saw that it used no bulbs, but it was self lucent. It could be dimmed down like a nightlight or made bright for reading.
Associations: The bedroom reminds me of a castle bedroom in design but had a modern setting such as the nightstand and lamp. It felt very royal. It was my room.
Previous day’s events: I’ve been listening to our pastor teach about kingdom authority and that we are children of God.
What the dream meant to me: I’m beginning to see myself as a child or daughter of God. God is the King and my bedroom is that of the King's daughter. The setting is castlelike, and I’m starting to accept that God wants me to have an experience of that knowledge by showing me His provisions for me with the beautiful bed and lamp.
SIX: WHERE’S GOD?
This dream is packed full of symbolism. I’m jumping ahead of myself only to demonstrate how I see God symbolically. Later I will explain about personal dream vocabularies that each individual develops.
I’m wearing a red shirt with my bra on the outside. Red represents the finished work of Christ and what Christ did for me on the cross. Red= sacrifice, passion, cleansing and forgiveness. A bra is supportive in nature. My bra is on the outside of my red shirt but I’m trying to get it on the inside. I have knowledge of God's forgiveness and passion for me, but I don’t own this knowledge on the inside. It’s only head knowledge. I have to know that Jesus is my “supporter.”
The “King” size bed represents God. It’s a place of covenant such as marriage and commitment that God has with me. The canopy is the Holy Spirit that covers me and broods over me. It’s an ornate place of rest and nothing was spared.
The lamp represents the Trinity. The Trinity usually is shown symbolically in threes such as the light cans that can be separated yet combined into one just as Christ, God and the Holy Spirit are one yet separate. The light is flexible like God, and it’s light is mysterious yet can be controlled by myself. I have the ability to dim the light or make it bright. The spiritual light of the Lord inside me also operates in that manner. I have the ability to make it bright or faint. It’s my choice- my will.
Jesus is also the light of the world. The lamp again represents Christ.
SIX: EXAMPLE DREAM #2
The following is another example of what a journal page should look like.
“THE SLEEPING BAG”
Date: 3-14-05 Location: In my bed in Corning, California.
Dream: A homeless man was in my apartment and asked for a sleeping bag to sleep in for the night. I didn’t want to give him my favorite sleeping bag for two reasons. One, because he stunk and two because I knew that he would never give it back. I quickly said that Ken who owns the bar/sports store downstairs has a sleeping bag he can use. He asked where to find Ken. I walked him to the window and I pointed down to the bar across the street. There were two (drinking) bars side by side on the corner and pointed to the one on the left. He went to down to the sports bar and got a sleeping bag from Ken.
Associations: I felt a strong attachment to my sleeping bag because backpacking equipment is expensive, and it takes a long time to build up my gear. A sleeping bag is foundational equipment and I don’t want to give it to a stinky homeless man.
Previous day’s events: I had just returned from a Heidi Baker conference in San Francisco. She challenged everyone on their commitment level of unconditional love of others. I thought of myself as a loving person as I sat in the conference.
What the dream meant to me: The dream showed me that I have a double standard. A standard is also called a “bar.” The dream showed two bars side by side, and that they were below my apartment. That signifies to me that I have “double standards.” Standards are often referred to as BARS. Have you heard of the saying “raising the bar?" My head wants to embrace what Heidi Baker said and love people with all that I am and have, including sleeping bags, but my heart fears of giving away my sleeping bag. I don’t trust that God can bring me a better bag later. It really shows my insecurity about my “treasures” and the judgment I held toward this man because he smelled bad. If Brad Pitt were in the dream and asked me for the sleeping bag, I would have been honored to give a famous person my stuff. I would have had bragging rights! Even if he smelled.
SEVEN: WHERE’S GOD?
God knows everything about me. He knows the number of hairs on my head, and he fashioned me in my mother's womb. He knows the thoughts of my heart better than I do. When I was at the conference and thinking my poop didn’t stink and that I loved people without judgment– God knew better. He set up a situation dream that revealed the reality of my true heart. Not for His benefit but for mine.
In this dream, I’m approached by a down right stinking, needy man. I believe this stinky person was an angel in disguise. Angels can appear in the form of stinky, needy men, don’t you think?
My nose is a huge source of judgment. If people in general don’t smell right, then I’ll have nothing to do with them. A bad smell is disgusting! I would’ve been like one of Jobs friends, or even his wife that cursed him because his breath stunk. When I read Job, I was sad that they judged Job so harshly only to realize that this homeless man was probably in better shape than Job. I was trying hard to pawn this stinky man off on some other guy who may have passion for his situation and tolerance for his smell.
Secondly, I was well aware in my dream of my financial limitations. I live with a poverty mentality instead of trusting that God has taken care of me in numerous ways that I’ve lost count. (By the way, I got that sleeping bag at Wal Mart!!!!) Big deal right? That bag was a key piece of equipment for my backpacking excursions. Not only was I thinking that I wouldn’t be able to replace the bag, but I also thought that my favorite recreational time would be taken from me.
God knows this about me, but I didn’t know it for myself in an outwardly way. It was a judgment I made subconsciously in my past. Those judgments are usually founded in our youth. I don’t have a strong memory of when I developed this attitude.
This dream gives me the opportunity to examine my heart for judgments and trust issues that I hold. I prayed that I would change. God gives us real life situations to practice our new heart choices and boy did I fail! There was a man in extreme pain sitting outside in the hall of my work place one day. I asked him if he was alright. He said his sciatic nerve in his leg had flared up and he’d be ok. I wanted to ask him if I could pray for him, but then I got a good stiff whiff of his body odor, plus a plethora of other olfactory surprises. I JUST KEPT WALKING!
Had my heart changed through this dream? I believe so. I was now aware of this judgment I held which was new to me. I repented by the time I got to my car. When I returned, the man was gone and so was my opportunity. Next time I pray that I’m quicker to recognize my attitudes that hold me back from doing God's work. I thanked God for wanting a better life for me. I learned a valuable and painless lesson in the safety of the stage inside my brain.
EIGHT: REMEMBERING DREAMS
I stated earlier that the best way to remember dreams is to tell yourself that you’ll remember your dreams upon awakening. It’s like a mantra to fall asleep by. I pray that God will help me hold onto these dreams and help me learn to see Him at night. God is looking for willing hearts to partner with Him in dreams. He’s given them to us as another tool to help us learn more about Him.
The easiest way to remember a dream is by allowing time in the morning prior to physically getting out of bed. For those who set their alarms, make adjustments to your morning routine and allow for about ten minutes of free flow thinking. Allow yourself to remain conscientious of dream thoughts and write down key words you recall such as a person's name, place or an action that has taken place.
Another possible solution (if you’re single) would be to set the alarm on your phone or watch to ring at a certain hour of the morning. Each person would have to determine what hour would best suit their sleeping habits such as midnight or 4 a.m. It’ll trigger you to wake up during a dream sequence where you’ll be able to mentally make note of what was occurring at that time in your dream before you return to sleep. I promise you’ll start to recall your dreams if you implement this external buzzer for a week or so.
I’ve read books and searched the Internet for common biblical dream symbols. These were very helpful to get me started, and I recommend buying a book of dream symbols or printing a vocabulary dictionary off the Internet like I did. I made my own binder to make it easy to access. Remember that these dictionaries are incomplete because we all have different meanings attached to moments in our lives. For instance, sea food may be a pleasant memory for some while it may be a bad memory to another because of allergic reactions or serious health issues. To each his own.
I want to encourage you to begin to list common dream themes and assign a meaning to them as they arise in addition to a biblical dream dictionary. The following dream references are only an example of what I’ve developed for myself. I’ll give an example of the standard meaning followed by my expanded meanings that occurred specifically in my dreams.
- STANDARD MEANING OF EYES:
- Longing for God; window of the soul; foresight; blindness; envy; intense desire.
- MY ADDITIONAL MEANING OF EYES:
- EYES SITUATED UNUSUALLY FAR APART - The future. Growing and maturing. Growing into your eyes or your vision. Ability to see FAR.
- EYES SITUATED CLOSE TOGETHER – The present. It’s a now vision. Ability to see or concentrate on the present situation.
- THIRD EYE: Holy Spirit insight. Trinity vision. Deep revelation.
- STANDARD MEANING OF BATHROOM: Repentance; confession; desire; cleansing; removing; expelling.
- MY ADDITIONAL MEANING OF BATHROOM:
- Also known as a restroom in the building trades. It’s a time to rest. Give yourself room to rest.
- NINE: COMICAL TWIST OR PLAY ON WORDS
- LADY BUG: A LADY who is BUG-ing you
- BOARD GAMES: Someone who is BORED with games literally or in relationally.
- COINS: Common Sense (CENTS)
- CHER: (SHARE) Same sound
- ISLAND: (I LAND) Self focus; looking at your territory; your area of responsibility; your area of authority.
- FACE MAKEUP: To make up or to restore a relationship. Base makeup is also called a foundation. Applying Godly foundation to your spiritual life.
- WEIGHT ROOM (OR WAIT ROOM): A gym or work out place. A place to build work out your spiritual waiting muscles.
- SCALE: Measures your weight (WAIT).
- WAITRESS: One who waits. Serves the Lord by WAIT-ing.
Practicing Phase I – Dream Journaling will lead to a natural desire to learn more about the meanings and the author of these nighttime dramas. That will be addressed during Phase II. In the upcoming Phase II, I will address the following:
- Dreams and visions
- Dream levels
- Message Dreams
- Simple Symbolic Dreams
- Complex Symbolic Dreams
- Intrinsic Dreams (Dreams about ourselves)
- Extrinsic Dreams (Dreams about others)
- Metaphors and parables
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