A Dream Interpretation Tool
"That Dream Felt So Real!"
Have you ever had a dream and woken up thinking, “That felt really important” or “That seemed so real!” Then it usually fades away and you go throughout your day as normal. But then sometimes something will happen that makes that dream bubble up into your conscious thoughts and you think, “For some reason, this feels connected to that dream.” Or perhaps you’ve had dreams that are even more clearly related to an event. You dream of some impending danger and then it sort of happens. A friend of mine, for example, had a dream that her company was laying people off. She looked and saw her name on the list. She woke up with a very uneasy feeling. Sure enough, she went to work that day and was told that the company would be laying people off. She was on the list! Lucky for her, they were able to transfer her to a new position. But why did she dream that? How did a part of her sense that such a reality was occurring?
I could write numerous Hubs sharing dreams that I’ve had and the strange real-life connections that occurred. The first dream I really remember being “strange” was when I was in 6th grade. Here’s the dream:
I was at school and it was time for recess. I went into the bathroom with my friends to check my hair before going outside. A girl I was friends with karate-kicked the door open and said, “Hi-ya!” I kept fixing my hair. Then she used the bathroom and yelled, “Wait for me!” The end.
Is that dream interesting? No! But what is interesting was that the next day it happened EXACTLY as I had dreamt it. I had actually forgotten about the dream but as soon as she kicked the door open with a “hi-ya!” I thought, “Oh my gosh—I dreamt this!” I began to pay more attention to my dreams. In the many years since then, I’ve had many more “strange” dreams from which I am able to glean relevant and helpful information. I eventually decided to take some classes on dream interpretation and to learn how to best understand my dreams. I’ll be sharing some of those tools in this Hub today.
But let me first say there are many theories on dreams. I believe that possible theories can co-exist at the same time and many can be true. Sometimes dreams are probably just random images—your brain running a “disc defrag.” Other times your dreams may reflect your subconscious thoughts—perhaps fears or worries that you haven’t yet resolved. I would like to suggest, however, that sometimes dreams are something more. I believe that the supernatural realm intersects with our dreams. The focus of this article is not to provide compelling evidence to convince you of this. My purpose for writing is to provide some tools that can be used to help you interpret your dreams if you already believe that your dreams are more than random images or repressed fears. I will be writing from the point of view that one of the ways that God communicates to people is through dreams, and He communicates for multiple purposes, including helping us figure things out, heal, or to teach us.
What's Beneath the Surface?
Is there a Biblical purpose for dreams? The Bible indicates that God communicates regularly through dreams. Although our dreams in the night can be difficult to understand, there are basic steps, principles and skills that can serve as a guide to assist us. We can come to understand more and more clearly what our dreams mean and what God is seeking to communicate or reveal. There are actually many verses and stories in the Bible about how dreams were used--here is just one verse:
“For God does speak--now one way, now another - though man may not perceive it. Indeed God speaks once, or twice, yet no one notices it. In a dream, a vision of the night, when sound sleep falls on men, while they slumber in their beds, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction.” (Job 33:14-16 NASB)
Steps to Dream Interpretation
A. Record dreams as soon as possible. Dreams are easily forgotten.
B. Record the date and significant events that occurred prior to the dream.
C. Give your dreams a title. This will serve as a summary of the dream and often will give significant clues to the meaning of the dream.
D. Ask God what the dream means and/or what He is communicating.
E. Ask: What is the central focal point of the dream story?
F. Ask: Where is the dreamer? Is the dreamer in the dream?
G. Determine if the dream is intrinsic or extrinsic.
· Intrinsic – about the dreamer (up to 95% of dreams are about the dreamer)
· Extrinsic – about others (occur frequently; most often for the purpose of prayer and rarely to be shared with a person or group as a warning or a prophetic word)
Principles of Dream Interpretation
1. Develop and nurture an intimate relationship with God through Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit is Our Teacher and Our Guide, Our Counselor and Our Comforter. We can cultivate a personal relationship with Holy Spirit. Communicate with Him regarding everyday issues and concerns in your life. Ask Him to guide you in your daily decisions, whether big or small. Get to know the voice and guidance of Holy Spirit and become comfortable with listening to and recognizing God’s voice. James 1:5 states “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him”. Holy Spirit will use our dreams in the night to communicate with us. He will give us wisdom and understanding regarding what He is communicating when we diligently seek Him.
2. God communicates with us. We can follow a process to receive and respond well to what He is saying.
In general, be attentive and receptive whenever you sense God is speaking. Record your dreams and ask God for the interpretation. Faithfully respond to what you believe God is saying. For example, you may want to talk with God in prayer or in your journal about the issues that are surfacing. Ask Him for guidance on how to proceed. Seek to discern what you are to do and what part God will do.
3. Dreams are often symbolic.
The images including people, animals, objects, numbers, etc. in our dreams normally are symbolic. These symbols are God’s creative way of communicating. They often do not represent what they appear to represent. For example, just because you dream about a person that you know, doesn’t mean that the dream is about that person, God may be using that person symbolically to communicate something to you.
4. God often uses dreams to reveal issues of the heart.
You may want to consider what significant issues you have been dealing with, thinking, or praying about recently. Holy Spirit will often address these issues through your dreams. Our dreams may reveal emotions, longings, opinions, issues of the heart or soul, areas where we need freedom or healing, the status of our relationship with God, ourselves or others.
5. Other Potential Sources of Dreams
We acknowledge that some dreams in the night result from our God given mechanism to resolve the daily stimuli that comes from living. Sometimes the enemy seeks to torment us as well.
1. Familiarize Yourself with Common Dream Symbols and your personal dream language
There are thousands of dream symbols. You cannot memorize them all, but you can become familiar with some of the more common symbols that come up in dreams. For example, “House” typically symbolizes the person whose home it is, in other words if you dream about your house, it is symbolic of you or your life. God customizes His communication in a way that is personal to each of us. We can become familiar with our personal dream language.
2. Consider Various Aspects of the Dream
Dreams are often filled with symbols and can be very complex. It can be helpful to consider various aspects of the dream before attempting to interpret it. Consider the setting - where did the dream take place? Consider the people - Who is in your dream and what is their relationship to you? Activities - what are the individuals in your dream doing? Symbols - objects, colors, numbers, animals, etc… What feelings or emotions did you feel during and after the dream?
3. Determine the Focus of the Dream and Look for the Theme or Story Line
4. Follow Basic Steps of Dream interpretation:
· Draw a diagram with the focus of the dream in the center and significant sub-focuses or symbols radiating off of the focus.
· Ask God what the dream means.
· Seek to understand the meaning of the basic symbols and numbers in the dream.
· Seek to understand who or what the people in the dream represent.
· Look up the meaning of significant names when appropriate.
· Look for plays on words – God is often playful, fun and funny in the ways that He communicates, even when the message is serious.
· Summarize the meaning or the “gist” of what God is saying.
GIST: - The main or essential part of a matter- the essential summary of the meaning.
5. Test the Interpretation: Does it Line up with Scripture? Does it Resonate as Correct?
Once you come up with an interpretation, test it. Does it line up with the Word of God? If the dream instructs you to do something, it should line up with God’s Word. Does the interpretation resonate with your spirit? Ask God to confirm that you are understanding the meaning of the dream correctly.
For more in depth information about this topic, I recommend this PDF article “Principles of Christian Dream Interpretation.”
Here is another site that lists some Dream Symbols and possible meanings for them in your dreams.
Note: Remember that the dreamer is always the best interpreter. If the symbol suggested or another person's interpretation doesn’t really make sense, then don’t force it to fit. You can develop your own “symbols dictionary” based on your own experience with things and what they mean to you, personally. For example, the word “meatball” means something very different to me than it does to you because I have a silly incident and joke with a friend related to meatballs. So when I hear this word, I think of the silly experience and I laugh. For you, it jut may mean a meal!
There is so much more to say about dreams, but this shall be all for this Hub. Please take note that this Hub is NOT meant to cover every aspect of dreams and dream interpretation—this is simply a slice from a much large pool of information on the topic. Thanks for reading and sweet dreams!
Information for the tips in this article has been assembled by:
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