What’s On Your Mind?
Our dreams, imagination, and thought life play a big role in how we live our lives, and navigate our relationships. Here are the top eight questions Moral Revolution answers about dreams and fantasy.
1. WHAT IS A DREAM?
A dream is the succession of images, thoughts, and emotions passing through the mind during sleep. Dreams are involuntary and do not necessarily reflect whomever is having them.
Your dream life can be affected by three sources: God, the enemy, or you (your body, soul, and spirit). For example, if you are crushing on someone, and they keep showing up in your dreams, that could be your soul “talking out loud” at night. A second example may include, you dreaming about things you’re worried about, like a promotion, a move, or a break-up. If your dreams are being influenced demonically, you may experience dreams that are violent, scary, or leave you feeling gross, confused, or hopeless upon waking. God also speaks through dreams.
We suggest, when you wake up in the morning, ask God this simple question: “Is this dream coming from me, the enemy, or You?” Then ask for the wisdom to discern and interpret it.
2. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT DREAMS?
Throughout the Bible, God used dreams to speak to His people. The word “dream” is mentioned 85 times in the Old Testament and 8 times in the New Testament. Acts 2:17 says that in the last days, dreams will be frequent and prevalent. In the Bible, God uses dreams to communicate direction, warning, future events, wisdom, and promises, among other things.
Remember, your spirit never sleeps. Just as God used dreams to speak to Jacob, Daniel, Joseph, Paul, and John, oftentimes, God will use night seasons to minister to and counsel your spirit. If you dream a lot, it may be that God is speaking to you during this quiet, uninterrupted time at night.
3. WHAT IS A FANTASY?
Fantasizing is the activity of imagining things, especially things that are impossible or improbable. It is a ficticious mental image that we focus on, or an idea with no basis in reality.
Fantasies are the imagination unrestrained; unrestrained implies that the imagination, is in fact, manageable. Although no one completely controls what sort of thoughts they may or may not have, or when they might occur, it is clear that our thought life must be stewarded well.
4. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT FANTASY?
In short, the word “fantasy” does not appear in the Bible. However, the Bible has a lot to say about a believer’s thought life and the importance of stewarding that well. For example, Phillipians 4:7 instructs us to check our thoughts against this standard: Is it true? Noble? Right? Pure? Lovely? Admirable? Excellent? Praiseworthy? If not, we must take it captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Proverbs 4:23 and 23:7 tell us that what we allow our minds and hearts to meditate on will manifest in our lives. Therefore, it is important to guard our imagination and our fantasies, if we are to live holy, healthy, happy lives. These are just a few examples of the many directional words that the Lord gives us about using our thoughts and imagination. Our team invites you to further explore what the Bible has to say about managing your thought life.
5. WHY DO PEOPLE FANTASIZE?
There are many reasons people fantasize. Here are a few reasons our team has discovered:
For some of us, reality is painful and disappointing. We use fantasy to soothe ourselves because it’s easier than dealing with our pain and disappointment. Other times, we feel powerless in our circumstance, and our fantasy world is a place where we can feel in control. For example, a man who feels helpless in trying to raise his kids may fantasize about extreme sports, climbing mountains, getting his “big break”, or leaving his family for an easier, more perfect world, full of adventure. This helps him escape, if only for a moment. A woman who struggles to feel beautiful and desirable spends her time day-dreaming about Prince Charming; he will come sweep her off her feet, save her, and take her back to the golden castle of ease.
We have found that people who are dissatisfied with their life often fall prey to the temptation of living in a fantasy world.The danger all of these scenarios (pain, disappointment, dissatisfaction and powerlessness) is when we exchange vision for fantasy and childlikeness for childishness, we become God over our own life. We begin to worship our idealism instead of submitting to God’s will. As we plan, play, and replay our imagined scenarios, we begin living in a false reality. We set ourselves up to be disconnected from God and His ability to give us comfort, wisdom, guidance, and the power we need to function in the reality that is our own life.
6. I THINK I HAD A DREAM THAT IDENTIFIED WHO I’M GOING TO MARRY. WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH IT?
The idea of receiving a dream specifically identifying who you will marry is Biblical and can be accurate, although rare. If this happens, both parties in the relationship need to receive a word from the Lord for themselves.Throughout Scripture we can see that even though God may have helped bring two people together, ultimately it became the individual’s choice. In no way should a dream violate someone’s freedom to choose.
Once both parties receive this same direction to marry from God (as a dream, vision or response in prayer) and feel peace about moving forward, we suggest they share their process and intentions to marry with safe and discerning leaders, mentors, spiritual parents, friends, etc. By doing so they are not isolated with the dream and have invited feedback into their lives.
7. WHAT IF MY DREAMS TURN SEXUAL?
FOR EXAMPLE, WET DREAMS?
Sex dreams, like most dreams, are not necessarily a reflection of the individual having them, or what’s going on inside of them. There is nothing to feel guilty about; you can’t control your dreams.
It can be perfectly normal to have occasional wet dreams (dreams that culminate in an involuntary orgasm), and there is no need to be ashamed; it’s part of how you were made and is part your body’s natural response to hormones while you sleep. For example, many young men, when they reach puberty, begin to experience wet dreams. This is normal! Men and women may both experience involuntary orgasms, in response to erotic dreams or hormones, especially during REM sleep.
However, if you find yourself having recurring sexual dreams, there may be some habits that you are feeding during the day that are being released in your dream life. For example, if you’re filling your day with highly sexualized movies, music, conversation or images, don’t be surprised if they revisit you at night. Similarly, if you find that you live with stress or high anxiety, your body may try to relieve itself at night by looking for a sexual release in your dreams.
If you find this to be true, there is hope for you! First, be kind to yourself as you grow in awareness and begin to filter your daily “input”. You may also want to take some practical steps toward organizing your life, lowering your stress levels and taking care of your body (exercising and eating well). Second, before you go to bed at night, invite the Holy Spirit to speak to you through happy, healthy, holy dreams. Third, ask the Lord to cleanse you of anything you’ve been exposed to, or experienced during the day. Fourth, when you wake up in the morning, ask the Lord to help you remember what you dreamed, and for wisdom and discernment on how to interpret the dreams.
If the sexual dreams you have are reoccurring dreams about an actual event, like trauma, abuse or promiscuity, it may be wise to seek professional counseling.
8. IS IT DANGEROUS TO FANTASIZE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE? HOW DO FANTASIES AFFECT ME AND OTHERS AROUND ME?
God has wired people for relationship and intimacy. When you fantasize relationally or sexually about someone other than your spouse (i.e., the cute cashier at Target, the anointed worship leader, that sex scene in a movie), you are exchanging reality for fantasy. This, in itself, sets you up to easily slip into idolatry, codependency, and transference.
The danger with fantasy, is that it can actually rewire your brain and become more powerful than your reality. You could begin to bond with and crave these “perfect” scenarios or people. Additionally, fantasies can lead to disappointment, dissatisfaction, and pain, because eventually they will show themselves for what they are: your glorified imagination. We have also found it makes it harder for individuals to have a real connection, with a real person, in a real relationship. This is the opposite of what God wants for you.
Finally, a sanctified imagination, when submitted to the Lord, is a beautiful thing. However, when it comes to people, relationships, and sex, you must tread carefully. Be cautious that your imagination doesn’t turn into a fantasy world. Vision is powerful (knowing what and whom you’re waiting for), but if your hope for the future is coming from a fantasy, rather than the Lord and His promises for your life, you’re treading on dangerous ground.