Are dreams the result of my mind processing the day, or a side effect from eating too much cheese?
Or do they actually contain useful communications from God Himself?
One day I decided to put dreams to the test. Read on to see what happened!
Why ask the question?
I have always dreamed. As a child I would often wake up in the night after a vivid dream and run into my parents’ room for comfort.
I have frequently woken up in some funny places, such as the bathroom, or grovelling the corner of the bedroom! My husband has got used to this and just tells me to go back to bed!
I have even blundered into someone else’s room in the middle of the night, when I was a student. That caused great hilarity among my house mates the next day, as you can imagine!
But are my dreams just funny stories that we can amuse ourselves with? Are they the result of my mind processing the events of the day, or a side effect from eating too much cheese? Are they primarily a tool for psychologists, or do they contain useful communications from God Himself?
For many years it never occurred to me that dreams could be anything more than random craziness. So back in 2006 when I heard the late John Paul Jackson mention ‘dream interpretation’ at a Christian conference I was intrigued enough to purchase his teaching series on dreams.
Listening to his stories and examples persuaded me that it was a subject worth checking out, and it was then that I decided to put God to the test.
Test 1: ‘God please give me a dream tonight’
One evening I watched an interview where a dream was shared and John Paul Jackson gave an interpretation.
That night I asked God to give me a similar type of dream to the one I saw on TV, and I went to bed full of expectation. In the morning, I woke with excitement, only to find that I couldn’t remember having any dreams. “Oh well,” I thought to myself, “maybe there’s nothing in this after all”.
But then, as I made my morning cup of tea, my husband come in and told me that he had just had a dream. Just for the record, I had never before heard him tell me about a dream. He proceeded to recount a dream extremely similar to the one I had watched the previous evening.
This experience was eye opening, because of two factors:
- My husband did not know abut the program I watched on TV, or about my prayer, so his dream was not subconsciously influenced by those factors.
- If I had dreamed that dream myself, I could have argued that it was my mind processing what I watched the night before, but it wasn’t my dream.
Therefore, at a personal level this was compelling evidence for me that dreams can come from an outside source, and it truly felt as though I had just had an interaction with God over the matter.
Test 2: ‘Does this dream mean anything?’
By now my attention was well and truly captured, so I decided to take my dreams seriously. I prayed, and said, “God, if I have a dream tonight, I will assume that it is from you and follow the interpretation steps l have learnt, to see if it means anything.”
The next morning I did have a dream, but straight away I dismissed it, thinking it was just reflecting my feelings of inadequacy, (a common experience!). But then I remembered that I had said I would take it seriously, so I wrote the dream down:
“I was working in the pharmacy. My friend came with a prescription for medication to be dispensed at three times a day, but this drug should be twice a day. I looked in my yellow folder for information about this, but the file was empty. I decided that I trusted the prescriber, called Dr Reigner, and dispensed it three times a day as prescribed. Afterwards I found a big red folder which was what I actually needed.”
Applying what I had learnt about dream symbols, I discovered the following:
- WORDPLAY: The prescriber was not a real doctor that I knew, and when his name was written down I could see that it was a wordplay for ‘Reign-er’. The God who reigns! I trusted this doctor in the dream even though I did not understand his prescription myself.
- NUMBERS: Secondly I looked at the numbers. In the bible three is the number of God, and I had heard someone say that two can be the number of man.
- COLOURS: I looked up the meaning of colours on John Paul’s colour chart that I had bought. Red indicated wisdom from God, whereas yellow indicated the mind, or our understanding.
Therefore, I realised, this dream was not about my literal work at all. Three things in the dream were all saying the same thing: “Trust God and not your own understanding!” There couldn’t be a more relevant answer to my question about whether dreams are more than just our subconscious minds. The answer was an undeniable, “Yes!”.
This whole dream could be summed up with my favourite bible verse: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5.
Note: These are not the only possible interpretations of the numbers and colours in this dream, and I have since learnt much more about these symbols. But these were the only meanings I had heard about at the time of having this dream, so God worked with the information I had.
God, in His kindness, gave me a powerful confirmation that dreams are not just from ourselves, and that He is willing to engage with us through them if we are open to it. This turned out to be the first of many similar experiences, and set me on a path that I have followed for nearly fourteen years.
I have literally documented thousands of dreams over the years, and checked them out in a similar way to the one I just described. I have cross-checked them with real situations in my life, and revisited them with hindsight to see whether the interpretation checked out.
Why not test out your own dreams?
For me, there is no longer any doubt. But what about you? Are you willing to put God to the test? Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to trust our hearts, and put aside the things we have been taught about dreams by Western culture.
I can testify that if you are willing to investigate for yourself, a treasure box of discovery awaits you…. it is just waiting to be opened!
If you’d like to know more about the biblical model of dream interpretation, please do get in touch! You can also check out my Facebook group where you can meet other Christians who are learning about dreams.