How I learned to interpret dreams while working, raising 3 boys, and running a church!

Would you love to hear God’s voice regularly? Do you suspect that God is speaking through your dreams – and want to understand what He’s saying?

But you’re too busy?

No problem! In this article I share some practical tips for incorporating dreams into everyday life.

I approach dream interpretation from a biblical perspective. My belief is that our dreams can come from God, and understanding them is best understood within the context of an ongoing relationship with Him.

Is your life already busy?

Time is precious. All of us have busy lifestyles. We have families to feed, jobs to hold down, and responsibilities to take care of. We have interests and hobbies to enjoy too.

And if you’re a Christian – or have any kind of faith – you will want to make time for prayer and regular meetings with fellow believers. All of this takes time.

So you might be thinking: “How on earth can I find time to understand my dreams? I don’t think I can even begin to fit that into my life.”

I’ve been there. My life was busy too.

My life was busy too

When I first began to suspect God was speaking through my dreams it was at one of the busiest times of my life.

I was a young mum. I had three sons, all of whom were under ten. One of them had been diagnosed with diabetes and coeliac disease – which took some dedicated time and effort to manage. At the same time my husband had an international role, which meant being away for weeks at a time. l was left to keep things together at home.

When I first began to suspect that God was speaking through my dreams, it was at a very busy time in my life.

On top of that I was working as a hospital pharmacist. Thankfully, it was only part time! But it did mean that from the moment I dropped my boys off at school I was thrust into intense hours of critical work that needed full concentration. Once I left work it was straight back to school pick-up and family responsibilities.

Oh, and did I mention, my husband and I were essentially leading a church through all of this? We had a shared minister, so the day-to-day running of the church fell to us. We led the worship team, the children’s work, the home groups, the youth groups, etc.

If anyone had an excuse that they were too busy, it was me. So I am here to tell you that if I can do it – so can you!

You can naturally make time for dreams

So how did I manage to learn to interpret my dreams though all of that?

It took a bit of juggling – but from that time I have identified seven things that I learned through trial and error – that enabled me to do it.

These tips can help you naturally fit the process of understanding dreams into your everyday life – and make your own journey into hearing God through them.

My prayer is that dreams would not become another burden or ‘thing to do’, but rather a tree of life; a blessing from which flows life and strength from heaven to you and your family.

For he will be like a tree planted by the water
That extends its roots by a stream,
And does not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green

Jeremiah 17:7-8, NASB

1. Make a decision that dreams are worth your time

Every charge of habit or lifestyle starts with a choice; a shift in mindset to decide to do something differently.

The key moment for me come when I realized that God might be speaking though my dreams; that they could be messages from heaven. All I ever wanted was a close relationship with God. For me, that was enough motivation to reorganise my life.

The key moment for me come when I realized that God might be speaking though my dreams; that they could be messages from heaven.

Is that something you want?

  • Would you like every life decision to be grounded in a Living relationship with your Creator?
  • Would you like insight and understanding into why things are happening to you – rather than vague impressions and feelings?

These are things that I have discovered though dreams. It has taken some years, but it is bearing fruit now.

Choose today which way to go

Unless you make that decision to prioritise dreams, it will always be just a vague interest. You will keep having to ask other people to help you interpret them, and you will miss out on being personally mentored by the Holy Spirit in that area.

God wants to communicate with you daily though your dreams. Is that something worth prioritising?

  • If so – then read on!

Everything that follows comes from a decision that hearing God’s voice is worth the cost.

2. Get some good training on dreams

When I first started learning about dreams, I purchased a teaching series by the late John Paul Jackson. It is still available at the Streams Ministries International shop. I listened to this over a few weeks and made some notes. It was an invaluable starting point for me.

I never realised that dreams are symbolic until I listened to that teaching. John Paul unpacked the basic language of dreams – and gave lots of examples to show the possibilities.

I used that for around four years, but eventually I become disillusioned because, to be honest, I still didn’t understand many of my dreams.

In 2010/2011 I booked onto two weekends away with Streams UK. These were courses written by John Paul Jackson: The Art of Hearing God and Understanding Dreams and Visions. These weekends were a turning point for me.

The best part was meeting other Christians – sensible and knowledgeable Christians – who had experience with dreams. After that I had a much better biblical and historical foundation for understanding dreams, and I ran with it!

There are many ways you can learn

There are even more ways to learn these days. For example:

  • Books
  • MP3 downloads / podcasts
  • YouTube
  • Online courses
  • Physical courses (post COVID hopefully!)

It is easy to access good teaching on dreams. Consider what format works for you.

  • Do you listen to talks in your car? Purchase some teaching sets on dreams.
  • Do you like to read? Buy a book or download one onto your mobile reading device.
  • Do you love connecting with people? Book a place on a physical training weekend.

The trick is to find good teaching that will provide a solid biblical foundation on which you can build. With that in mind I have compiled a selection of my favourite dream interpretation resources.

You can also subscribe to my blog – and receive regular nuggets of helpful tips and encouragements.

Consider what works for you – then plan it – and book it!

3. Make dreams part of your time with God

If you are a Christian, the chances are that you already spend some time with God. You may have a daily prayer routine; you probably also try to read the bible or use a devotional. We call these things Christian disciplines.

It can be a struggle for most of us to make time for the basic disciplines – so it is a daunting prospect to add dreams into the mix! I understand this dilemma!

It can seem a daunting prospect to add dreams into the mix!

I came to the point where I had to make a decision: If, as the bible says, dreams are coming from God – then, surely, I could incorporate them into my normal devotional time?

It made sense, so that is what I decided to do. I think of it as reading my morning ‘emails from heaven’, before I get distracted by other things.

If dreams are communications from God, then it is reasonable to incorporate them into our regular devotional time.

Give yourself permission to be flexible

I gave myself permission to put aside my normal bible reading program on the days I had dreams. I would spend the time talking to God about my dream and listening to what He had to say. Often that would naturally lead me to a relevant bible passagep.

I read my bible on days when I didn’t have dreams – plus at other opportune moments.

I realised that I was allowing God’s Spirit to determine our daily time together – rather than following a man-made programme.

Heads up: The religious spirit in us will fight against this!

Ideally, we would all have plenty of time to read the bible and pray through our dreams every single day. But, in the real world, that’s not always possible.

Give yourself a break; reject those religious spirits that want to keep you stuck and feeling condemned; make some adjustments to your expectations and allow dreams to feature. And be flexible!

4. Record dreams so you can access them anywhere

During those busy years, I would wake up with a dream, quickly type it into my tablet, then rush around getting my family to school and me to work. Although work was busy, I did get a lunch break. Everyone would sit in the tearoom scrolling through their phones.

At that moment, while eating my lunch, I would pull up my dream which had synced to my phone that morning. I would tidy it up, adding any additional details I could remember. I would note things that were going on in my life at the time. And I would think/pray about what it could mean.

So, record your dreams where you can access them anywhere. I use OneNote, but any note-taking app would do – if it automatically syncs to your mobile device.

This helps most on busy days – when morning devotional time goes out the window! It means you can look at your dream later.

Make a plan for where you will record your dreams – and make sure it is by your bed ready!

5. Identify your opportune moments

Your day will look different to mine.

My opportunity was usually while on lunch break. Your moment might be on a train or after the children go to bed. But you can probably identify a time – maybe when you would normally be scrolling though social media.

In those moments, make a deliberate choice to revisit your morning dream for a short while. You may be glad you did – once you receive God’s messages for your life.

Take a moment to identify potential opportunities in your typical day.

6. Keep a personal list of dream symbols

When I first started with dreams, I often had to look up potential meanings of symbols. I would research them in the bible and use dream dictionaries. Eventually I would come to my own conclusion about what that symbol meant to me personally in a particular dream.

Maybe you do those things too. Don’t let all that effort go to waste!

I recommend keeping a list of symbols and what they have meant in your dreams. Keep this in the same app as you record your dreams, so it is always accessible.

Keep a personal list of dream symbols where it is always accessible

I now have a list of colours and a list of numbers; I have a list of people and a general list of objects. And because it is online, I can search for any of my dream symbols and find my notes quickly. This has saved me a lot of time!

This takes discipline, but you will reap the benefits – and save a great deal of your precious time – in the long run.

7. Plan for reviewing your dreams

Some dreams address things that are happening at the time, but others are about things that will happen months or years later. I found that:

  • I would forget my dream messages amidst the busyness of life.
  • I had dreams I didn’t understand at the time – but with hindsight I did.

What that means is that we must review our dreams regularly to gain the benefit of them. This is a manageable task if we plan for doing it!

Here are a few ideas:

  • You could keep a dream list with a one-line message to remember for each dream
  • You could add prophetic words and other significant revelation to this list
  • Plan a weekly slot for updating the list and revisiting ones you didn’t understand
  • Set aside a few times each year for reviewing what God has said to you

When I review my dreams regularly, I feel in touch with God. I understand His heart for me and His specific plans for my life. When I don’t, I start to feel as though I’m lost. I forget what He has communicated to me.

I forget the things God has communicated to me!

In my busiest years I sometimes booked days off work to review my dreams. At other times I have risen at 4am to do it while my family was sleeping. It was worth it – every time!

If you are taking this seriously and want to hear what God is saying to you through your dreams – then it is worth putting a plan in place to remember what He says.  

Conclusion

Learning to interpret dreams means adjusting your priorities. It means being intentional with your schedule to carve out time for it. But it doesn’t have to be a burden.

You can naturally work dream interpretation into your lifestyle if you are intentional and wise about it. I know, because I have done it – and you can too.

It is time for you to count the cost – and make a decision:

  1. Make a decision that dreams are worth your time
  2. Get some good training on dreams
  3. Make dreams part of your time with God
  4. Record dreams so you can access them anywhere
  5. Identify your opportune moments
  6. Keep a personal list of dream symbols
  7. Plan for reviewing your dreams

If you want to know more about understanding dreams, please do get in touch. You can also join my Facebook Group to connect with others on a similar journey.

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Picture of lady juggling with text: How I learned to interpret dreams while working, raising three boys and running a church

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