Wondering if it’s worth the effort of interpreting your dreams? Or are you feeling bogged down with it all?
Read on to be inspired and encouraged to keep going, because dream interpretation should be fun!
1. Dreams are like puzzles to solve
Do you believe that there is a God? I do – I find that there are just too many ‘co-incidences’ for me not to anymore. For example, consider what happened to me while I was writing this article:
I had been contemplating writing a new article for my Biblical Tools series, based on puns and wordplay, and I was thinking how understanding dreams is a bit like solving puzzles. I remembered how my parents loved doing the Telegraph crossword (the cryptic one) and thought I might take a photo of one to use in my blog post.
I arrived at their house and went into the kitchen. Look at this photo I took of what they had open on the table:
They had literally only filled in one clue, and the answer was … ‘DREAMS’! The clue (6 across) even says, “Daughter has lots.” I am their daughter and I have lots of dreams – in fact that’s what my blog is all about. I couldn’t have planned a more appropriate example even if I’d tried, so I think it was a prompt from above to share this with you today!
The cryptic crossword is more than just a simple crossword – you have to think outside the box to get the answer. Let’s take the above example:
- The clue: Fantasies? Daughter has lots
- The answer: DREAMS
The word ‘fantasies’ tells us the straightforward meaning of the answer: The word ‘dreams‘ can also mean ‘fantasies’.
The rest of the clue is more cryptic: The first letter of the the word ‘Daughter’ gives us the letter D. The next part of the clue, ‘has’ tells us that we need to add something else to this. The final part of the clue, ‘lots’, gives us the word ‘REAMS’. (‘Reams’ means ‘lots’). So put them together D + REAMS equates to ‘Daughter has lots’.
- Fantasies = DREAMS
- Daughter has lots = D+REAMS
So that was a nice example of what I’m talking about. Did you get it straight away, or did you have to puzzle over it for a while?
The reason dreams are like this crossword is that the language is metaphorical, like in parables, and needs interpreting. Often there are several parts to a dream that say the same thing in different ways, and when you see how they fit together the meaning becomes clear. You can learn more about this subject in my previous blog posts, ‘Dreams as parables’ and ‘Symbolic language in dreams’.
It takes practice and experience to be able to unravel the dream symbols and identify which part of our lives they are about. It feels a lot like solving a puzzle. So, if you enjoy doing the crossword or other types of puzzles, you will enjoy solving dreams!
2. Dreams give us wonderful moments of understanding
So going back to the crossword clue above: When you saw the answer, did you get a glorious feeling, as though you ‘knew-that-you-knew’ that the answer was right? Did you have an ‘a-ha’ moment when you understood how the answer fitted the clue?
The wonderful thing about dreams is there there is a similar feeling when we hit upon the right interpretation. There is a sense of elation, or ‘rightness’. This is secretly the main reason that I enjoy dreams. I am addicted to that moment!! It feels as though I have just solved a puzzle that ‘someone’ has set for me.
“I am addicted to that ‘a-ha’ moment of understanding.”
I believe that someone really is sending us these dream puzzles to unravel. This is the key to my enjoyment of the process. I have become convinced that our Creator God crafts these dream messages for us night after night.
As a follower of Jesus, I have found that listening to Him can be very subjective, like a more simple crossword, where there could be a number of potential answers to any given clue. But with dreams, there comes a moment when I ‘know-that-I-know’ that I have heard from God, because all the parts of the dream add up into a glorious picture.
When I cross-match this with other dreams I have had and the other ways God has been speaking to me, I have that ‘a-ha’ moment of understanding – that confidence that I have heard God correctly. That moment is worth it all.
3. Dreams contain puns, riddles and wordplay
Another reason I find dreams fun is that God uses puns, riddles and wordplay to get His point across. It’s a bit like ‘dad’ jokes as our family calls them. Some of you will know what that means – if you don’t, you’re lucky you haven’t had to endure them!
The easiest way to spot these in dreams is to write the dream down, and then try to detach yourself from the actual object in the dream. Rather, listen to what the word sounds like when you say it out loud, and then consider whether it sounds like a similar word.
Here are a few examples from my own dreams so you can see what I mean:
- I saw a bee. It turned out to be a word play on the word ‘be’, as in ‘be still and know that I am God’. God was telling me just to ‘be’ and rest in Him at that moment.
- I stuck a post-it note on a wall. It turned out to represent ‘posting’ something on Facebook (my social media ‘wall’).
- My sons were playing on the grounds/site of a school. It turned out to be about the time I was spending on my website – or ‘site’.
- There was a doctor called Dr Reigner. He represented God as someone who reigns, as in ‘reign-er’.
I think the comedian Tim Vine is the king of these type of word-play and double-meaning jokes. I can’t demonstrate them as well as he can, so I’ve included a YouTube link so you can see for yourself:
I hope watching that clip lifted your spirits – my son just came in to find out why I was laughing so much! Dreams have the same effect on me in those moments when I realise what they mean. I usually groan, but I also love it!
So to conclude this point, it may surprise you to find out that there are many examples of riddles and word-plays in the bible. I have devoted a separate article to looking at how they can help us with dream interpretation.
Real dream example
I have chosen to share a dream I had in 2010, which was early on in my interpretation days. I think it captures the spirit of what dreams are like for me, and the attitude I take as I try to understand them:
Dream: Searching for clues
I was in a room like a study in a university . In the dream I was a student there along with one of my very good friends.
We had been set some sort of quest or treasure hunt; some clues had been hidden behind pictures on the wall. Some other clues had been written on paper that needed unravelling, and there were puzzles to solve.
The dream ended with a sense of us having fun.
Being a student: The setting of the dream told me the context: that it was about something I was meant to be learning. I had just started learning about dream interpretation at the time, so I could relate the dream to that part of my life.
My friend: This particular friend in the dream was the embodiment of life and good fun, indicating the attitude I should take to the whole dream learning experience.
The clues: These indicated some of the methods I would need to learn in order to understand my dreams. Some meanings would be found in the metaphorical language (‘behind pictures‘). Some things would need a bit of ‘unravelling’ in order to understand them.
This dream was encouraging me to apply myself to learning to understand dreams – to treat it like a fun treasure hunt with symbols and pictures to interpret, and clues to unravel.
4. Dreams are an enjoyable conversation
For me, this is the whole point: Dreams are a conversation, and the person I am having it with is great fun.
Dreams are an integral part of my relationship with God. I sit down every morning with my thoughts turned towards Him and my journal in hand. If I have had a dream we look at it ‘together’, and discuss the meaning. Obviously He knows the meaning and I don’t, but that’s all part of the game! My job is to listen to Him, and try and figure out the answer to this puzzle He has set me.
As I pray through my dream journal, He seems to step out from the page and I can feel him laughing – not at me, but with me! The image that comes to mind is of two friends enjoying a good joke together.
I think it’s really important not to lose sight of the fun in the journey. It takes quite a bit of dedication to learn the language of dreams and it’s so easy to get discouraged or give up. If we remind ourselves that it is meant to be enjoyable, it can help us not get bogged down in the process.
There is an aspect of needing to persist and put some effort into it. But hopefully you can tell that I personally enjoy it a great deal. This mainly because I feel I am getting to know a real person. And that ‘person’ has turned out to be the Creator of the Universe!
If you haven’t thought about dream interpretation as being a way of relating with God, why not put the idea to the test, and try talking to Him about a dream right now? Maybe you’ll get that sudden feeling of sharing a joke with someone. That moment is worth all the effort – believe me!
So, to conclude, I hope you have caught that sense of fun, and feel encouraged to press on and learn some more about dreams!