So my buddies at High Calling Blogs (which I’m still trying to ease myself into) recently put a post up about dreams that was inspired by the movie Inception. Great movie, by the way, I was completely blown away.
The thing that the writer and founder Gordon Atkinson says about dreams is that He isn’t sure if God still uses them to speak to us. I totally respect that, it’s hard to wrap your head around it, but I’m writing about a specific aspect of dreams with certain assumptions because of a comment that one of the readers made.
“I have nightmares.”
Ok, so brief background here. I firmly and completely believe that God speaks to us through dreams and gives us messages hidden in images and parables of the night so that we can dig into them and through understanding, come closer to Him. PS, if you weren’t sure, I am a 3rd Wave Charismatic and believe in the active presence of the Holy Spirit through the supernatural Charisms.
“So what’s the deal with nightmares?” you ask me. “If God loves us why would he give us terrible dreams that leave us shaking under our sheets wondering if my wife would be upset if I spent the rest of the night with the light on.” (this was me for a while and it still happens sometimes.)
Nightmares fall into two categories.
- The ones that are from God.
- The ones that are NOT from God.
The dreams from God can be identified by a series of contextual clues that can be as inane as the color scheme of the dream or as philosophical as a lion at the top of a stair case. These dreams, while from God, are frightening because we’re human. Why do you think that every time an angel appears or God shows up in the bible we see people falling on their faces or the divine visitor saying “Do not fear”? Reverence yes, but it’s scary stuff! Have you read the description of the Angels in Ezekial 1? I don’t know about you but if I ever saw an angel like that I’d run as fast as I could screaming bloody murder at the top of my lungs.
Dreams not from God just suck. These can be spiritual attacks meant to disrupt your sleep (been there done that), they can be dreams designed to make you doubt yourself (also been there and done that), or even lead you down the wrong path for your life (also been there and done that).
The thing is that to some degree we cannot trust our emotions to guide us through dreams and must take a look at the symbolism instead. We have to think of every dream as a parable that Jesus gave to us and then left without giving us the meaning to. Given that, a dream where I am being chased by a lion is equally terrifying as a dream where I am being chased by zombies, but the interpretation is that in one I am being chased by God, and the other I am being chased by a Liar, Thief, and Murderer.
On a practical note, if you suffer from chronic nightmares or even get to the point of night terrors you absolutely need to make sure you’re talking to SOMEONE about them. Be it your pastor, a therapist, or that sympathetic ear you always go to, no one should ever stare down nightmares alone.
I could go for days here, but here are some links that might prove helpful.