I had a dream that a cat was biting my collarbone.
I know. Weird.
I couldn’t get him off until I physically grabbed him and pulled him off. Which was when I woke up and realized I had been sleeping on my side in such a way that my shoulder and collarbone were compressed enough to cause me pain. A cat biting your collarbone is a stupid dream. Why would my subconscious go there? It’s not even creative.
It’s just a cat.
Biting my collarbone.
I have had creative dreams before. Some of my favorites involve me witnessing to superheroes or bad guys. Like the time Dracula was chasing me. I just stopped, at one point, and thought to myself; this guy needs to hear about Jesus. So, I turned and shared with him. Right there, in my dream, Dracula knelt, prayed, and became a Christian. A couple of years later I was dreaming Batman was chasing me. I don’t know why these people keep chasing me (and why cats keep biting me), but as I was running, I remembered how well my experience with Dracula had gone down. I immediately stopped running, turned and shared with Batman how Dracula was a Christian. Everything was straightened out in short fashion.
Dreams are weird. We’re not sure what purpose they serve. They appear, at times, to be completely random. Other times, it’s pretty obvious that dreams become ways our subconscious attempts to help us work out real-life issues, problems, and tension while we sleep. This brings up an interesting point, though, because not all dreams happen while we sleep. All of us have been captivated by some kind of dream. All of us are trying to work out issues, problems, and tension. All of us are on a journey, attempting to get somewhere, accomplishing, be someone.
All of us have a dream.
Dreams are powerful. They captivate our heart. They drive us and motivate us in hidden, but very real ways. We have dreams of making ourselves better, of improving, of gaining wealth, of relationships, of social status, of power, etc… In our society, it’s pretty easy to know what we’re dreaming. Just look around. See what’s driving us. Look at society’s extremes… celebrities, dictators, super models, and the super rich hedge fund investors. Take a look. Not in a judgmental, false humility, kind of a way. Just observe. Ann Lamott says, “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the lives of those who have a lot of it.” The point is, whatever you observe, that’s where the dream of money, appearances, and power will take you. That’s pretty much it. That's where it's going.
You might say, wait a minute. It’s not like I’m a military or political dictator conquering and subjecting nations and peoples. But, we have all known of the dream to conquer. Maybe we haven’t dreamt of conquering another country by killing its people. But, we’ve dreamt of conquering our former associate, friend or spouse by killing their reputation through gossip.
Maybe we’ve never become super rich by taking advantage of others through the use of illegal Ponzi schemes, but all of us have taken advantage of others. (To take the thought further with money, it’s relative and tricky, isn’t it? Truthfully, most of us reading this are living in a Western culture that has, in some ways, been the beneficiary of systems of power and greed that have given us a leg up on competitive countries, and cultures. Sometimes, we don’t even have to be aware of the dreams that most influence. And no, I do not hate the West, or our government, or our democracy. I love living where I live. And no, I definitely do not think that if you are rich, or attractive or powerful that you are automatically evil. The powerful aren’t automatically excluded from God’s grace. They often self-select out… because they don’t think they need grace… but, they aren’t excluded simply because they are powerful. I’m just attempting to unmask the worthless dreams that so often motivate us.) Like water finding the lowest level, these dreams easily seep down into the caves of our soul infecting our motives and desires.
But, thank God, there are better dreams. And we do thank God because He is the source of these better dreams. My daughter, I believe, was captivated by a really good dream. I’m thinking about her dream right now because we’re preparing to head back to Haiti in a few days. She went to a place called Cascade Pichon, Haiti a few years ago and fell in love with the people, the land, and most of all, the idea of returning to serve. The last few months of her life were marked by the dream. It was obvious. She wrote about it, talked about it and studied to prepare for it. She, of course, was not the only one who's ever been captivated by really good dreams. There are countless examples, both living and deceased, of people giving their life away. Interestingly, the dreams of giving are often more difficult than the dreams of preservation.
I say the following in the new book... As the ocean is fed by the river, kept flowing by the mountain stream, the source of which is the first snow melt on the highest mountain, so our daughter found herself swimming in an ocean of a dream, fed by a river of love, kept flowing by a stream of sacrifice the source of which is the first blood drops at Calvary’s Mountain. It’s the snowmelt that brings the greatest oceans. And it’s the blood drops that bring the greatest dreams.
I do not know what dream has captivated your heart, but if Christ is involved, then your dream will be creative, difficult, and worthwhile. But, if Christ isn’t involved, then your dream is not only uncreative, it’s boring. (Like a cat biting your collarbone uncreative and boring!) It does not take creativity to scheme, plot, gain wealth and abuse power. It’s all been done before.
If you want something challenging, try forgiving. Anyone can hold onto bitterness, but laying down your resentment takes courage.
If you want something creative, try being self-controlled. Anyone can strike back, but to absorb violence rather than meting it out requires imagination.
If you want strength, try meekness. Anyone can impatiently seize what he or she wants, but forbearance takes discipline.
Dreams. They are all around us. From the silly and random, to our deepest desires, they are windows into our soul.
What are you dreaming?