Dreams make sense of your life: Finding purpose and direction in a crazy world

Do you hate being caught out by life’s surprises?

Would you love to know where you’re going in life and what your purpose is, so you can plan ahead and make good choices?

So do I… and I have discovered that my night dreams can help with all of these things! Read on to find out why they could help you too!

Do you like to be prepared?

I am definitely the kind of person who likes to be prepared.

If I am planning a holiday I research the place in advance so I can make the most of my time there. When I embark on a long car journey I familiarise myself with the route so I’m not caught out if my phone dies.  When I’m hiking I like to know where I am on the map at any given time.

In the same way I like to know where I am in life, and which direction I’m headed!

Caught unawares

The events of 2020 took most of us by surprise.  In 2019 we could never have imagined the changes that would come into society, and indeed into the whole world, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

You may have already seen this comedy sketch by Michael McIntyre, musing on what it would have been like if we’d had a crystal ball in 2019 – but I am including it here anyway, as I think it illustrates my point well, and it’s funny!

By the way, I’m not advocating visiting a fortune teller – I would not personally advise that – I think there is a better way, which is the subject of this article.

In sharing the video I am just highlighting the fact that life events can catch us out! 

Finding the right path

I believe that every person’s life has a purpose.  I also believe that there is a God in heaven, who knows why things are happening and what is coming next. I also believe that this same God is committed to our success, and will guide us if we are willing to walk with Him.

I don’t believe that fortune tellers – or their spiritual information sources – have our best interests at heart.  But I am firmly convinced that God DOES – and that makes all the difference.

‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’. Jeremiah 29:11

The conviction that God has good plans for us, and wants us to succeed in the things we were created for, is fundamental. It gives us the assurance that He wants to help us make sense of our life.

I believe that God wants to help us find our true purpose and direction, and prepare us for what’s up ahead!

God prepares people

Try reading the bible and noting how many times God prepared people for what was coming.  Mostly, He did not expect people to have faith without giving them a jolly good reason for doing so. For example: by personally showing up, sending angels, or speaking through a prophet! He also visited people in their dreams.

Consider the example of Abram that I mentioned in The power of dreams: A picture is worth 1000 words. God visited him in his sleep, gave him a pretty impressive personal encounter from which he could step out in faith, and thus set Abram on the path to fulfilling his destiny.

The bottom line is this:  God loves us and enjoys being in relationship with us.  

It’s all about relationship: having someone who will walk alongside us and guide us – and that person is Almighty God who carries our personal life-navigation map!!

He walks with us, explains things to us, prepares us, encourages us and guides us. We do not have to walk alone!

But do we need dreams?

I have discovered that, for many people, dreams are a missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to guidance and our relationship with God.

I would suggest that if we desire to navigate life well, we certainly need to hear from God one way or another.  And the detailed insight that comes through dreams is hard to find elsewhere – for most of us anyway.

I can testify from my own experience, and from conversations with  friends who listen to their dreams, that we have come to depend on them for that very reason: through dreams, we have experienced the same level of guidance that we read about in the bible accounts.

Examples from the Christmas story

Most of us are familiar with the story of Jesus’ birth.  But have you ever noticed that there are five dreams recorded in the biblical narrative? They can be found in the first two chapters of Matthew’s gospel.  Take a look at them below:

Bible ref.Purpose of the dream
Matthew 1:18-21Telling Joseph that he should marry Mary (because he was planning to call off the engagement).
Matthew 2:12Telling the magi not to go back to Herod (because Herod secretly wanted to find out where baby Jesus was to kill him).
Matthew 2:13Telling Joseph to take his family to Egypt (to be safe from Herod).
Matthew 2:19-20Telling Joseph to take his family back to Israel (because it was safe again there now).
Matthew 2:22Telling Joseph specifically to go to Galilee.

Can you see how these dreams gave them essential direction?  

Where would the Holy Family have been without them?  Mary would have been left to raise Jesus on her own.  Herod would have found baby Jesus and killed him.  Joseph wouldn’t have known when it was safe to return to Israel, and it would have just been a guessing game for him.

But the point is… that they knew what to do – because God told them – through their dreams!

Living in a crazy world

The world was a pretty crazy place in the time surrounding Jesus’ birth.

And our world can feel rather crazy too, particularly with current world events! More than ever, it is important for us to know our purpose, be prepared, and have God’s help and guidance.

The events recorded in the bible are meant to be a springboard to our own personal adventures. I am convinced that God speaks to every single one of us in dreams, and desires to be intimately involved in our lives today, just as He was then.  

A real dream example

To illustrate the point, here is an example of a dream that a friend of mine had earlier this year. She has given me permission to share it here:

The dream: A snake in the grass

I was standing by my washing line.  From the overgrowth came a small baby snake, suddenly trying to strike my ankle. I jumped back but stopped to look at the snake. I wasn’t scared of it because it was a baby.  It was beautiful!  The markings were very bright, vibrant, perfectly geometrical diamonds of orange, red and amber. 

Then all of a sudden, someone said, “Be careful- even a baby can give you a nasty bite. It might not kill you but it’ll still give you a horrible headache!  Besides, where there is a baby, there must be a mum close by, so I’d get the heck outta here very quickly!”  So I did. I ran away.

The context: I have explained in my article Considering the context of a dream that the setting of the dream helps identify what area of our life it is about. This dream was set in my friend’s current garden at the time, indicating it was about her current situation at the time of dreaming.

Notes about the interpretation process

The snake: Snakes in dreams are usually negative, and it seems so in this case, as it was trying to bite her. They can often represent a lie. So this part of the dream was alerting her that there was a wrong idea or thought in the mix!

Colours: The main snake colours were orange-amber based. I have previously written about colours in dreams. The colour orange carries a sense of longevity: either perseverance in a good sense, or something that has gone on longer than it should. Amber also suggests warning.

The spoken message in the second paragraph was the clear guidance part. The message indicated that something short and seemingly harmless could lead to something much longer if she wasn’t careful. The advice was to ‘leave now’!

Relating this to the real life situation: At the time my friend was seeking God’s guidance about her current job. She was feeling that it was time to leave. But out of the goodness of her heart, she was thinking that she might stay on and help a little longer. This dream was confirming that she was right to leave, and that she should not delay, otherwise it could turn into a much longer delay.

The outcome

As you can imagine, this dream was a great encouragement, and gave my friend the confidence to ignore those niggling doubts. She did leave, and now has a great new job.

This dream is an excellent example of how God still uses dreams today  to give very clear guidance, and to help us avoid potential pitfalls.

Conclusion

My experience is that our good, kind, heavenly Father wants to share with us insights about our lives: to help us understand our purpose and make good choices, and to prepare us for what’s coming.  

Most of all, He longs to walk with us every day, and dreams are an ideal vehicle through which He can do that.

Would we set off on a journey to an unknown place without some kind of map or direction? Probably not. Then why do we try to navigate this life without the guidance of the One who knows the route?

If that’s you, then why not make a decision to change that today?

If you’d like to know God as your friend and guide, but don’t know where to start, please get in touch! I’d be very happy to help.

So why not give it a go, and start listening to your dreams today? It does take time and effort, particularly to begin with.  But the benefits are worth it!

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