Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass—that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophecy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.
Dreams have fascinated people since the beginning of recorded history. In ancient Egypt, people with vivid dreams were considered to be blessed with special insight, and many of their dreams have been found recorded on papyrus. In fact, the Egyptians believed that one of the best ways to receive divine revelation was through dreaming, and some people even slept on sanctified “dream beds” to gain wisdom from the gods.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, scholars largely abandoned these supernatural ideas. Prominent figures such as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung instead concluded that dreams provided insights into the inner workings of the mind. Your subconscious mind is telling you that there is an issue of fear, or worry you need to examine within yourself.
To be perfectly honest with you I have mixed feelings about my thoughts on dreams probably because they have such a broad range of dreams from time to time. Recently I had a difficult dream which had me waking at 4 in the morning in a cold sweat. In the dream I was cramming for a final exam that I was completely unprepared for. I was downing cups of coffee and was in an acute panic. I was so relieved when waking to realize it was after all just a dream. According to the likes of Freud or Jung and a whole host of others the dream probably was reflecting some deep seated insecurity. After all sometimes I really do feel ill-prepared for life. I try to work hard in preparation for the challenges that are before me—but still like the rest of us I sometimes find myself in over my heard.
But within a month I had a very different dream which included a wonderful backpacking trip with a few people—and after a very arduous climb up a rock formation we ended up overlooking a spectacular waterfall—with sunlight piercing through it—who knows maybe we were seeing a reflection of eternity. But the point is that within the same month I had a dream that included great fear and dread—and another that involved a very real physical challenge—and then the reward of encountering a glistening water fall. It seems to me there is a lot of mystery surrounding why and when we dream what we do.
I wish there were some way we could choose our dreams—just dial up the ones we want each night before we go to sleep. I would no doubt choose the waterfall dream quite often—as well as a host of other nature scene related dreams. Unfortunately that is not how the brain works. But this I can say with great conviction: We do get to choose which dreams to pursue in the waking moments of our lives.
There is an enormous amount of power and freedom to invest in that choice. We can dream of being part of a world where people love God and love to serve others; we can dream of our role in creating a better world for those around us. We can dream of living more fully in the moment—with a sense of gratitude and awe over the gift of each day. We can dream of creating the kind of life that will bring pleasure to the heart of Abba God. We can dream of investing our time and talent in eternally significant ways. We can dream of a world where we choose to love and value ourselves and thus accept our limitations as well as our potentialities. We could choose to make these dreams and others a reality in 2019.