Why It's Important to Remember Your Dreams

Reviewing our dreams can help us lead a godly life. Here are 3 tips to help recall them.

Posted in , Jan 12, 2022

Keeping a dream journal

God speaks through dreams. We know that from many biblical stories. How did Jacob know what his future would be? Through a dream—with angels ascending and descending on a ladder. How did Joseph know about the Child that Mary was carrying? An angel came to him in a dream. How did the wise men know to avoid Herod on their return to the East? A dream.

But what about today? Some will say God no longer works this way. I would beg to differ. Witness the wisdom of the great Carl Jung and his contributions to the valuable practice of psychotherapy. Dreams are a way of the unconscious to speak to us. They can guide us to life-saving realizations and understanding.

When I bring up the subject, people often say, “I don’t ever remember my dreams.” I used to agree with them. What dreams could I ever recall when I woke up? Few…if any. But in the last few years, I’ve taken a few steps to reverse that. Here they are.

1)  Write your dreams down. I used to type anything I remembered, even vaguely, into my phone in the morning. Now I keep a paper dream journal next to my bed. When I wake up in the middle of the night, with a dream in my head, I scribble it down in the journal.

“Doesn’t that keep you up at night?” some ask. On the contrary, it helps me get back to sleep when I do wake up. As I put myself back into bed, pulling the sheets over my head, I close my eyes and visualize the dream I was in. Bingo. I’m back to snoring. (Okay…I don’t actually hear myself snore, but my good wife says I do. Not for nothing do we both keep earplugs handy!)

2)  Look at what you wrote. Sometimes my midnight scrawl, admittedly, is hard to read. I’m best able to decipher the words first thing in the morning. I look at the handwritten sentences or phrases and type them into my computer. That gives me an opportunity to reflect on the dream.

The other night I wrote, “Go to visit family in Jerusalem.” Do we have relatives in the Holy Land? Not at all. But this sure felt like a nudge about taking prayerful consideration of what our holy mentors have to say, including the Holy Family.

3)  Pray through a dream. I’ll look at what I’ve written down and might have no recollection of the dream I’ve described. But God certainly does. I linger on a phrase and close my eyes, trying to picture it. Jerusalem, say. Or family. Associations come up. Images. Part of what the dream was communicating.

As the prophet Joel said (in a verse that’s repeated in the book of Acts), “I will pour out my spirit upon everyone; your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions.” (Joel 2:28)

Not all dreams are earth-shattering, but some are. Let’s keep talking about them. And how they can help us live a godly life. Take it from one of those “old men.”

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