“Self-dreams,” or “soul-dreams” are those dreams which appear to originate in our emotions or minds. They may involve attitudes that need to be dealt with, repressed fears, deep desires, thoughts which we have been focused on, or stress that we might not even know we are carrying. These dreams are useful in making us aware of things that we should be bringing before the Lord so that He can help us to get them in order.
We might have dreams concerning parts of our body that need attention. Here is an example:
One of my teeth had been hurting whenever I chewed anything firm. I saw my dentist about it and had an x-ray, which detected hairline cracks. The dentist said the cracks could mean a weakening of the tooth, but she thought there was no imminent problem, and suggested considering a crown at some time in the future.
Six days later, I dreamed that there was a gaping hole in that particular tooth. In the dream, the dentist was peering in my mouth, but she entirely missed seeing the hole.
That was it. When I awoke, I wrote it down, but it was a busy day, and I did not take the time to ask the Lord about the dream right then. That evening, I bit down on a popcorn kernel and broke the tooth.
Whether I had paid attention to the dream or not, I would have required a crown. But if I had been tuned in, I would have realized that the problem was in more immediate need of help than the dentist had thought. I would have scheduled the crown work right away, and I would have stayed away from eating hard foods until I could get the crown, so that breaking the tooth could have been averted.
Was the tooth dream a warning from God, or was it a self-dream trying to tell me something was wrong? If I have a dream that reveals a need for an attitude adjustment or stress that I am experiencing unawares, is that just my mind and emotions revealing themselves, or is God speaking to me directly about it?
My personal opinion is that many “self-dreams” are really God revealing to us what is going on inside of us. The idea of self-dreams being our inner person trying to talk to us sounds New Age to me, and I don’t think we should go there. I don’t usually try to differentiate between dreams from God and dreams from self in my dream journal, other than to note that a particular issue I am having at the time could be affecting my perspective in the dream. I know that whether it is a God-dream or a dream stemming from what’s on my mind or in my heart, God wants to help me take appropriate action.
Many dreams are a mixture of what is going on in our own thoughts and emotions and what God has to say about those things. This should not surprise us, as even in our waking hours, the Holy Spirit influences our thoughts with His inspiration or else breaks in on our thoughts to correct us, comfort us, or lead us in a different direction. He does that in our dream life as well.
Sometimes a dream which seems to be a mish-mash of confused images will have one scene that sticks out. That one scene may be God breaking in to give His message, and the rest of the dream might not be of huge importance, except as a backdrop or context for what God wants to say. Write it all down, and then ask the Lord for understanding about whether the surrounding dream parts are important, or if He is only concerned with the one scene. God works in such a variety of ways through dreams, that the way He does it one time may be different from the way He does it the next.
Next time, we will talk about what to do when we have dreams of bad things to come.