Monday, August 02, 2010

Caution Applicable

"Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. "Listen," he said, "I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me."

10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, "What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?" 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind." Genesis 37:9-10

I was literally just browsing Genesis this morning, flipping the pages looking for nothing in particular when I paused on this chapter, and these verses really stuck out for me. I fully and truly believe that God talks to us in our dreams more often than we may think or even believe. I have had many an experience where I mention to someone a dream I had, and I just get this blank smile back. Especially when I go on to say what I think the dream is saying to me- what God is actually saying to me. It's a smile followed by some glib statement like "that's nice" and then the subject quickly changes. I have an inward sigh then, because I know they think I'm off my rocker. But more so, I actually feel bad for them, because I think if we all paid more attention to our dreams we would learn better to discern God's voice, and see the things he wants us to know or to work on.

These verses in Genesis this morning simply remind me that not everyone is receptive to some ideas. In this case, the idea that dreams could be from God. Even Joseph's own father was poking fun at Joseph's dreams, and all his brothers developed bad feelings from Joseph simply sharing the dreams he had. And this is where caution can be applicable. It can be really exciting to think you have had a significant dream from God. Well, it IS really exciting, the first time I had such a dream I was very excited to tell it to everyone... except that blank smile I mentioned? I got it over and over, and I got plenty of looks which got worse as I went on to share the meaning. And while I was excited about the dream experience, it also, well, it also made me doubt a little. Not necessarily that that particular dream came from God, but it made me doubt that I wanted to understand these dreams. It kind of put my dreaming on hold so to speak, because I certainly didn't want to become the crazy lady on the block, if you know what I mean.

Thankfully, God had other plans and what I simply decided was that I needed to be more discerning as to who I shared dreams with. And so mostly now, I keep them to myself, because most often, they are speaking just to me anyway. Many of the dreams that I've had over time have been about things in my nature- in my character that needed to be worked on. I'll share that one of these things that I would have repeatedly was about anger. I would have these dreams that Andy and I would be fighting and just shouting really hateful and angry things at each other, and it would escalate as the dream went on. And so, I have spent a lot of time and energy and thought working on anger on my part. When a situation comes on me where I am instantly getting angry, I take a moment to recognize that anger, say a quick prayer, calm myself, and then deal with the problem more rationally. Overall, I have to say that having those dreams about being so angry really made me stop and take a look at how I was dealing with situations. Do I still get angry? Yes, I'm still working on it, but the dreams spurred me on to work on it in the first place, and I think I am a much better person because of it- I am getting to the point where I really am slow to anger- which is one of the very characteristics of my Heavenly Father.

"But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." Psalm 86:15

Had I listened to those original thoughts I had concerning dreams, after telling other people and having a cold reception, I would have never been open to the idea of recieving correction from a dream. And I would still be getting ultra angry and having issues to deal with. I am so thankful that God chooses to show me things in my dreams, and I pray often that He will continue to talk to me in that way, but really, more than that, admittedly, I'd like to know what a lot more of my dreams mean. By reading the accounts of Joseph and Daniel in the Bible, and of Ezekiel, I can see that God does indeed talk through dreams- and He often gives the interpretations as well. But when I look in my word, I see that often times the interpretation doesn't come until after a time of seriously seeking God. Of bending knees in supplication and praying and fasting.

"Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven " Daniel 2:17-19

I am thankful that God can use our dreams as a way to communicate to us, and I pray that He continues to open my eyes-and my mind- to the things that He has to say to me.

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