Many dream teachers are of the opinion that almost all of our dreams should be interpreted as being about ourselves. They tell us that when we see other people in our dreams, those people are most often there to show us character qualities or flaws within ourselves. My response? Yes, and no.
Seeing other people as symbols of ourselves does happen, and we come to recognize it over time. One of my daughters frequently represents me in my dreams – but not always. Sometimes we show up together in a dream, and both of us still represent me. How do I know when she represents herself and when she represents me? By revelation, as I ask the Lord to help me interpret the dream.
Asking the Lord to interact with us about our dreams is the key to correctly unlocking dream revelation. We will not become accurate in our dream interpretation if we merely grow adept at logically putting clues together or assigning to our dreams what dream dictionaries say symbols mean. Non-Christian dream interpreters do that, but we shouldn’t be, if we want to hear God accurately.
Why did I say “yes and no” about dreams being primarily about ourselves? It depends on whether we are involved in a lot of intercession and what our realm of influence is. Intercessors are going to dream about the things they are called to pray about. Are you a personal intercessor for your church leader? You will have dreams revealing prophetic information to assist that leader, or so that you know how to pray for him or her more effectively. Do you intercede fervently for your city, region, state, or nation? You are going to receive information about that in your dreams, so that you know how to pray. One of my prophetic callings is toward the American Church at large, so I often dream about the Church’s current condition and what God wants to do for her in this or a coming season. If you pray about international events, God is going to show you things to come on the international scene.
But the intercessor or prophet who dreams on subjects outside of himself will have personal dreams as well. If we start assuming that all of our dreams are about things outside of ourselves, we’ll miss the mark.
Dreams in which we are a participant in the action are usually about ourselves – but they could also be about our realm of influence. We are portrayed as interacting with that realm of influence, within the dream. Dreams in which we are not a participant, where we seem to be an onlooker, are often about things outside of ourselves – but I have personally had quite a few observer dreams which actually were about me. Whether you are a participant or an observer should be used as a guideline, not an unbending rule, as you interpret whether your dream is about you or something else.
In fact, all the “rules” dream teachers may give you for interpretation are really meant to be viewed as guidelines, not laws. They are not set in stone. The way to know for sure is to bring your dreams before the Lord and ask for His revelation. He wants to talk with us about them. It was never His intention for us to interpret dreams based only on dream dictionaries, rules, methods, and patterns. We Christians have often tried to make God’s principles work by reducing them to methods and forms. This has never been very successful; it devolves into legalism every time. And it is no different with our dreams.