Hey all! So, I’m just gonna go ahead and make this a general discussion about what dreams are and what role they play in our lives, especially as artists and Rabbits. I’d love to hear your thoughts! As for me, I’ll start this off with a story below …
[If this is a duplicate, just ignore it. Thanks!]
I awoke with screaming in my bones.
Please don’t misunderstand. The screaming was not from fear. The dream was no nightmare, or night terror. In fact, it was quite a nice dream — a curiosity, not even one of those all-too-common dreams which leave me sickened with disgust or disturbia. No, the screaming was from something else entirely …
He’s an old friend, that screaming — that pressure like steam within you chest that makes you want to voice release! … but I might as well have no mouth, for all the good it does to scream.
I fold inward, groaning into my pillow. Yet again, I’d stumbled across those books: an incomplete (though, as I write that, now I’m not entirely sure) series of five. Each book (they are in sleeves) has on the front an illustration of a dragon’s head, intricate and bright — crisp and clear! – with that defined contrast of lines only findable in digital painting. The books are equally rich and magnificent, from the originality and depth of the plot, to the vast host of characters each more real than some of my acquaintances …
I grip the sheets. The screaming intensifies. But I don’t make a sound.
How I knew these things about the books, I don’t know — and yet … no: I do know. The very reasoning for the question leads to the answer: How could I know the books when I’d never read them? Ah, but I’d never read them, because I’d only met them in my dreams! And dreams are curious, magical things, full of knowledge we’ve never learned, and memories of things we’ve never done, of lives we’ve never lived …
… and yet, these false-lives (though are they truly false?) with their memories sometimes seep into our own.
This was the second time I was meeting these books, after all. The first time, I remember — and it was also in a dream. I was in a Barnes & Noble (or a Borders, if anyone remembers that beautiful place), and I came across these books on the shelf (I can almost even see the layout of the store in my mind!). The fifth book had just come out, and on an old impulse (for I had no intention of reading the books, though part of me still longed to), I picked it up and flipped to a random page halfway through to read a paragraph or two.
And the screaming began.
I put it back on the shelf. Yes, I put it back on the shelf, just as I put the (auto?)biography of C.S. Lewis back on the shelf, and for the same reason: the screaming.
But that latter choice was not in a dream. That was a few years back, in a Christian book store.
See, the screaming does not merely come from dreams. It comes whenever I try to read non-fiction books, especially about what God is doing through his church (and in this very era). I read one of those, once — and I almost couldn’t get through it, for the screaming was so strong I had to keep stopping, resisting the urge to throw the book across the room with all my strength!
And, in fact, I felt that screaming when I first came here — especially for that month(ish) before I was finally able to post.
What is it?! … well, now I remember.
The screaming is longing.
When I read those books of how God moves, everything in my being screamed, “HERE I AM!! USE ME!!” When I hardly began to read of Lewis’ life, or stumbled across this RabbitRoom (which bears the image of the ministry God has promised me, much like a brother bears the image of their Father), everything in me burst with the longing for God to move through me the same. It’s the same screaming, every time. It’s the screaming which (before I knew our Father) was provoked by the evening light, which proclaims the knowledge that this world is not our home. It is a magnificent light, thick with glory, which spears through the sky, piercing into our chests, wrapping tendrils around our hearts to compress us like olives in an olive press — and the oil which drips is the longing for our Far-Off Home, about which Lewis so eloquently penned,
“[T]he secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence […] the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both.”
– from The Weight of Glory, page 3.
This screaming drove me to fantasy novels in search of my Father. And now that I have been found by Him, my reason to read has … disappeared?
But still, I long for Home. Still, I long to know His Majesty, His Power, His Fierce Love, which is so easily whispered of in the image of a kindly, Gandalf-ish, Aslan-ic Dragon. I long to live in and explore these fantasy worlds, because they are the shadowlands which speak of my Father!
But more than that, I want to WRITE!! I want to CREATE these lands WITH my Father. And so, as I cross paths yet again with these dragon books in a dream (for the second time), everything in me screams, because they too are the image of the relationship which Papa has promised, the work He will do THROUGH me!!
… just as this RabbitRoom is your relationship with God.
… just as C.S. Lewis’ work is his.
… and more.
And I would not have the words for this, if not for that dream, yesterday.
It’s been a long, dreadful, painful journey. I feel passions that cripple me: from a longing that overwhelms, to the hand of fear (of pride) which I used to strangle myself for most of my life. They continually murdered me for my love, destroying my hope (for a Father and more) … and so I taught myself to suffocate my hope. For when you do not hope, then nothing can take it away. And when you are dead, nothing can kill you …
… but, then you’re dead. And I longed for a Father who would let me live!
And I have Him. And He has been teaching me to trust Him, and hope once again.
One of my hopes, one of the things I now have the peace to trust and believe will come about, is that this 5+ book series about dragons is a prophecy: it is something I will write. Even just yesterday, the world, the plot, the characters began to come about. That’s how all my worlds and stories have come about, actually …
Dreams and Prayer.
And that’s how I’ve been brought into the understanding of what I’ve written in this post …
Dreams and Prayer.
Therefore I’ve learned that my dreams have been Papa’s voice to me in the night: shaping me, teaching me, leading me like a trail of bread crumbs left for a hungry dog. I’m reminded of what the Spirit says through Elihu, in Job 33:14-16a,
“For God speaks in one way,
and in two, though man does not perceive it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on men,
while they slumber on their beds,
then he opens the ears of men…”
– from Job 33:14-16a; ESV
At other times, He’s even terrified me with warnings (verses 16b-18; although, that’s a story for another time).
Unfortunately, my dreams are usually not so wounderous. They seem pointless, ranging from pleasant to disgusting (or disturbing) — and I’ve definitely had a few that were undeniably demonic.
What about you? What are your experiences with dreams? What have you learned?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I have received what I’m fairly confident were encouragements and warnings from the Lord (only 5-10 dreams out of years and years of normal everyday dreams). Sometimes I asked for them after a long night in prayer. Sometimes they came unawares. Every time though, they needed to be tested against the truths of scripture.
One dream significantly increased my burden to pray against false teaching in young churches around the world. Another dream reminded me that I must prioritize learning and memorizing the scriptures if I’m going to live faithfully and stand against the enemy (that one gave me a good scare!). Another dream reminded me that no other god stands a chance against the one true God and those he chooses.
@newcreature I would be careful in thinking that this dream is showing you what will happen in the future. It’s possible, but I’d seek the counsel of some elders in your church to get their perspective. If it is of the future, then it probably comes with a command (prophecy almost always does in the scriptures), and you need to walk in it. But do ask some godly men in your life about it, especially the elders at your church.
I have rarely, if ever, had dreams that carry a command or a message about the future. But I have had several dreams that I think have been more significant than the standard meandering “brain videos” that play at nighttime in my head. (I have a lot of those too.)
For me, my dreams are often a place where my emotions and deeper thoughts or ideas come to the surface or untangle themselves. My dreams rarely tell me about the world or about other people, but they do tell me a great deal about ME, about the hidden things that I do not understand and cannot always access directly. They usually do it in the form of a story or experience that sticks with me in a way that just abstract concepts cannot. I don’t know whether I want to try to explain that any farther or not. Unlike some of the people here, I am not that gifted at putting things into words so that other people understand what I am talking about, and I am not sure I am up to the challenge with something as tricky and abstract as my dreams can be.
Is this God speaking to me through a dream the way the Bible talks about? Or is this simply dreams doing some normal function in “cleaning up” the mess that my waking life leaves in my thoughts and emotions? I do not know. But I know there are dreams that have been very meaningful and have given me much more clarity about what I want, what I fear, and who I am. Those are the dreams that I try to remember and continue to learn from.
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