“Listen, then, and learn what the parable… means” (Matt. 13:18, GNT).
With today’s post, we will start examining the actual process of dream interpretation. When you begin to learn to crack the code that Holy Spirit crafted for your own personal discovery, it can be amazingly rewarding and exciting. Read on for some valuable tools to aid you in this very special art. (For those of you just now joining us, the beginning of this list can be found here.)
17) Identify the most impactful image of the dream. Remember how in grade school, you had to find the topic sentence in your reading comprehension assignments? In a similar way, each God-breathed dream will have a “topic.” Whatever imagery sticks out the most in your memory will be connected to that topic. Here’s another helpful hint. Did you give the dream a title? If so, the title you gave it often will identify the topic. Here are several dream titles taken from my journals, to help illustrate this principle:
– “Eye Surgery”
– “Safe in the Storm”
– “Contending for Contentment”
– “Missing Cell Phone”
– “Flying Low”
– “Birthing Too Early”
I’m sure that you can quickly surmise what the topic of each of those dreams was. The title, and the topic, both reflect the main point of the dream. The imagery that “jumps out” the most in your memory also is an exhibit of the main point. As you draw near to God, seeking the meaning of the dream, inquire about that imagery. Ask Him what it means. Ask with expectation. He is an eager communicator.
18) Compile a list of symbols that Holy Spirit highlights for you. This will go in the space that you left underneath your dream description. The most impactful image should usually go near the top of the list. Next to each listed symbol, begin to write in what Holy Spirit is showing you about it. Again, here is a sample from my dream journaling:
–> Eyebrows: symbolic of expression
–> Face: identity
–> Phoenix: bird that rises from its own ashes
–> Cell phone: communication
–> Green: new life
None of these symbols were from the same dream, but I put them together as an example of what a list of symbols might look like. Remember, though, Holy Spirit will often use the same symbol in different ways for different individuals. For this reason, we can’t just look up the meaning of a symbol in a dream dictionary (although I have several, and use them regularly). Any given symbol might signify something that is common to everyone, or something very specific to you. The only way to know for sure what He means in each case is to hear from Him personally about it.
Even symbols in the Bible sometimes vary in meaning. A seed in some passages symbolizes the Word of God (Matt. 13:19-23). In others, it symbolizes a financial offering (2 Cor. 9:10-11). In others, faith (Matt. 17:20). In still others, it represents acts of obedience pleasing to the Holy Spirit (Gal. 6:7-8). Similarly, you might have a certain symbol appear in different dreams with different meanings each time. We can conclude, then, that our loving Daddy has once again set us up to be completely dependent on Him as we seek to understand His night parables.
19) Look up the meaning of your dream characters’ names. Who is in your dream? Holy Spirit always chooses the cast of a dream very carefully. I have found that many, many times, researching the meaning of names has been His chosen key for unlocking the dream’s meaning. I regularly look up the significance of both first and last names, and sometimes even middle names if I know them. Names in general, even apart from the context of dreams, are rich in meaning.
Oftentimes, a smile spreads across my face when I discover one of Holy Spirit’s hidden clues through this kind of investigation. For example, I had a dream a couple years ago about God’s provision. In it, a man with the last name of Hess was handing me bills of large denominations. Joy lit up my heart when I found that Hess means “Gift of God!”
Keep this in mind as well. Individuals in your dream may vaguely resemble someone you know personally, or a famous person you see on tv. Don’t dismiss the similarity. Again, Holy Spirit likes to communicate through subtleties. Write down the person’s name who comes to mind, even if the resemblance is not exact.
Sometimes, it may not be the person’s name that is Holy Spirit’s intended symbolic meaning. What else might that person mean to you? If you had a good earthly father, he might show up in your dreams as a symbol of Daddy God. A well-known prophetic minister might represent a prophetic message from God for you. A legendary athlete could represent agility, speed, or strength. Alternately, Holy Spirit might be using a play on words. In one of my recent dreams, the name “Marcus” symbolized a mark that had been left on my life by a series of events I experienced.
There’s still more to come! Swing by tomorrow for the next installment of this list 😊.
Do you have a favorite memory of a particular symbol Holy Spirit used in one of your dreams? Something that was personally very meaningful to you?