On average we spend about thirty-three percent of our lives sleeping, and sometimes we dream. But why? What's their purpose? And is there any point to dreams that seem crazy or just totally meaningless?
In her book, Hearing God Through Your Dreams: Understanding the Language God Speaks at Night, Charity Kayembe, Ph.D. says dreams are God's contingency plan ensuring that he will always have a way to connect with us. She joined CBN's "Prayer Link" program this week to tell us more.
Q&A With Charity Kayembe
Are dreams really that important? Why should we pay attention to them?
Dreams are important to God. Scripture tells us that He speaks over and over through our dreams at night, but people just don't recognize it (Job 33:14-18). In fact, He promised that He will speak through visions and reveal Himself in dreams (Num. 12:6). We know that when we are asleep, our heart is awake to commune with our beloved (Song of Solomon 5:2). And in the last days He declared He would pour out His Holy Spirit, and our sons and daughters will prophesy, our young men will see visions and our old men dream dreams (Acts 2:17).
Sometimes we don't realize it, but a lot of very significant scriptural events actually happened while people were asleep. For example, Solomon received his legendary gift of wisdom in a dream (1 Kings 3:5-15), the Abrahamic covenant was established in a dream (Gen. 15:12-18), and Jacob received his lucrative business strategy with the striped and speckled sheep in a dream (Gen. 31:10-12).
Another way God highlights the importance of dreams is illustrated by the fact that one-third of the Bible is related to dreams. Therefore, because they are important and significant to God, they are important and significant to us. That's why we wrote the book "Hearing God Through Your Dreams."
I have some weird dreams, crazy and even scary. Are all dreams from God?
God is speaking to us nightly. Satan can't stop that. So what does the enemy resort to? Lies. He tricks us into believing that most of our dreams are not from God. That way, we dismiss the revelation. God is speaking, but we dishonor it, we disregard it. The enemy tells us that was a pizza dream, soulish, satanic, scary, sexual – surely God can't speak through those kinds of dreams.
But He can and He does! In the Bible He did, and He's still doing it today. Does God use sexual symbolism in the Bible? Just look at the Song of Solomon. Can God use terrifying nightmares to somehow speak to us or bless us? Look at Abram. Did God use strange or silly symbols? Look at Gideon and the Midianite soldier's dream about a loaf of bread. Consider Joseph, with stars bowing down. Were those dreams weird? Certainly. Were those dreams from God? Absolutely!
God speaks oftentimes through dreams, we just don't perceive it (Job 33:14-18, 29-30). Expect to hear from heaven through your visions of the night, every single night, because dreams are God's contingency plan ensuring He always has a way to communicate with us.
It's challenging to understand the crazy dreams. Do you have a process for dream interpretation?
My process for dream interpretation is very simple: I use the acronym "DAESI" where D is for the dream, A is for Action, E is for Emotion, S is for setting and I is for interpretation.
You are the best interpreter of your own dreams and it's so easy, even an 8-year-old boy named Will was able to help a friend, Jim, interpret his dream. Will had just attended our weekend workshop on dream interpretation and asked Jim the key questions to unlock the dream's meaning.
"Jim's Dream: Jim was riding a RipStik (skateboard) and fell down and got hurt. Then he got back up and continued riding."
So Will walked Jim through the steps to hear what God was saying:
"Action: falling down, getting hurt, then getting back up.
"Emotion: fear, hurt, then comfort.
"Setting: In his waking life, Jim's grandfather had recently been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
"Interpretation: He has felt a lot of pain and sadness with his grandfather's sudden and serious illness and it hurts a lot because he is close to his grandfather. God wants him to know that He is with him in this pain and that even though he feels like he has fallen down, he will get back up."
Jim and his entire family were encouraged by God's message of comfort through the dream!
Do you have a dream example of your own that you can share?
One of my own dreams seems silly, another pizza dream, right? In the dream, I was on a pole-vaulting team. And everyone on the team was able to pole vault, everyone except for me. I was too weak and too sick, and I couldn't get over the high bar.
So what's the main action in this dream? I'm trying to get over something. And the feeling is that I'm struggling because I can't do it. So then I just ask the question, where in my waking life am I experiencing these things? Where am I struggling to get over something?
Well, in waking life I had actually been talking to God about someone who had said something to me and I was a little bit offended. I'm like, God, should I confront them? Should I tell them they hurt my feelings? Or should I forgive them, walk in love, let it go, and just get over it?
God gave me this symbolic picture at night showing me, "Everyone else who was on your team, they were able to get over it. If you're spiritually strong, if you're a spiritually healthy person, you should have no trouble getting over it." Pole vaulting was the picture, but getting over something was the problem. God was calling me to "rise above" the offense.
So by looking at what's going on in our waking life and matching it up with the dream, we're able to see what area of our lives God is speaking to.
Are you saying we can interpret our own dreams for ourselves?
If we look at Scripture, only unbelievers needed help interpreting their dreams. It was the Spirit of God in Daniel who helped him interpret dreams, and Joseph himself said that interpretations belong to God (Gen. 40:8). So if you have the Spirit of God, which you do as a believer, and He leads and guides you into all truth, you don't need a mediator or translator between you and God, other than Jesus and Holy Spirit. So that's why I see our ministry as more of an equipping ministry.
That is, I don't want to give you a word from God, I teach you how to hear from God yourself. I don't tell you about the vision I'm seeing, I teach you how to look into the spiritual realm and see visions yourself. And I don't interpret your dreams for you, I teach you how to interpret your dreams yourself.
Everyone can do this.
Further, interpretation is not just a special gift reserved for a select few; it's a skill. So anyone can learn the language of dreams, just like learning Spanish or French. The dreamer herself is the most qualified expert on her dreams because she knows the setting from her waking world better than anyone, and she knows what the symbols mean to her personally better than anyone. Power to the dreamer!
Do you have a biblical dream symbol dictionary you prefer?
Glad you mentioned dream dictionaries! I actually don't have one, and don't use them. The reason is people often feel confused as symbol meanings rarely resonate. For example, what a dog represents to me could be the opposite of what it represents to you. Same thing with a lake – if I almost drowned in a lake or was attacked by a dog, those symbols would mean something completely different (even opposite) of what they would mean to an animal lover or someone who enjoys the water.
This is why the dreamer themselves is the best person to make sense of their dreams, as they intuitively know what the symbols mean to them personally. God handpicks, custom designs and tailor-makes symbols for each of us in our own heart language.
Go back to Scripture – Did one symbol always mean the same thing for everyone at all times? Let's consider the symbol of leaven or yeast. Does that represent wicked hypocrisy (Luke 12:1), or the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 13:33)?
Or what about the symbol of a lion. Is that representing Jesus, as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5)? Or is that a picture of our adversary, the devil, who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8)?
This is why we don't rely on dream symbol dictionaries, because one symbol can mean different things depending on who is dreaming it.
Can I use a dream to make life decisions like finding a spouse?
Regarding major life decisions, I encourage and emphasize that everyone should let God confirm their dream revelation with the other ways He speaks. For example daytime revelation through visions or prophecy – us receiving a word from the Lord or someone else sharing a confirming word. What does Scripture say about the situation? Do you have peace in your heart? What are your spiritual counselors saying?
Therefore, for big decisions that involve a lot of time and/or money, we recommend that all these different ways God speaks align and confirm the direction and decision.
What about those that say they don't dream?
The fact is everyone dreams; sleep studies have proven we all do dream every night. The problem is not that people don't have dreams, the problem is that they simply don't remember the dreams they are having. There are several ways to improve dream recall which we cover at length in the book.
In a sleep laboratory they can monitor you and know when you begin to dream because when you dream, your eyes begin to flicker back and forth in what's called REM sleep, R-E-M, rapid eye movement. And if they wake a person up whenever they see their eyes begin to move and don't let them dream, after just three days that person begins showing signs of a nervous breakdown, which shows how important dreams are for our emotional well-being.
Can you share one tip on dream recall?
The first step to recalling your dreams is: Expect to hear from God through your visions of the night, every single night, because according to your faith it's done to you. God is speaking through your silly and strange dreams, and they're really not silly or strange, they're simply symbolic, and the message is actually sacred.
I've heard it said that Jesus is the Word of God, so it's hard for Him not to have something to say! And I totally agree. God created us for communion and fellowship with Him, so I believe that He is always speaking. God is always speaking to us, all day and all night, and the only question is, are we listening?
You have a unique approach to dream interpretation. What are some leaders in the Body of Christ saying about your method?
Many leaders in the Christian community have been impressed by the simplicity of my DAESI method of dream interpretation and here is some of what they are saying:
"So far the simplest teaching I have ever heard on dreams – and possibly some of the most profound – is coming from Charity Kayembe." - Shawn Bolz, Bolz Ministries
"Charity picks up where I leave off and my ceiling has become her floor! I trust you will be impacted, educated and inspired by this next generation revelatory voice!" - Dr. James Goll, From the Foreword to Charity's book
"The best teaching I have ever seen on interpreting dreams. Team Virkler has made dream interpretation easy. No more 'pizza dreams.' Only messages from God!" - Sid Roth, Host of It's Supernatural!
Do you have any tools to help with dream interpretation? Any news from your ministry?
The most exciting news at Glory Waves Ministries is the release of our new Dream Keys app. Many asked for it, we've been working on it for a while, and it's finally here! A powerful tool to help you steward prophetic revelation and equip you to unlock the meaning in ALL your dreams… even the crazy ones. It guides you through the simple five-step process that I mentioned earlier, the DAESI method, and by using it you will learn how to become your own master interpreter!
But you don't use generalized dream symbols, so this app doesn't have a dictionary?
This tool is unlike any other app out there which often have symbols and purported meanings that just end up leaving you even more confused! Instead, the Dream Keys app places our profound interpretation approach at your fingertips, and makes it almost automatic.
The app provides a cloud-based dreams library with a step-by-step form so that it is ridiculously simple to record your entries. All this helps ensure there are no roadblocks getting between you and the meaning of your dreams.
In addition, we believe that symbols are personal to the dreamer, so we guide you into formulating your very own dream symbol dictionary. So there is a dream symbol dictionary, but you create it yourself. You prayerfully consider the symbols, and type in what they mean to you.
What are users saying about this app? Are they finding it useful?
We already have thousands of downloads in more than 100 nations. Users are really excited about this app, giving it many 5 star ratings and glowing reviews! They include:
Deshani G. who says "As I'm typing, I actually get the interpretation."
Shaun Morrison said: "God is speaking to us all the time, and to lose the messages that He has for us in our dreams is a tragedy. This app helps me organize, break down and look at my dreams, with an ear to understand what He is saying; stewarding well His guidance. Thank you for this wonderful resource."
Matthew Spurlock says: "This app has been a huge key for me hearing from the Lord in my dreams. I've realized how intimate He speaks to my very situations and how loving He is. I'm so thankful for the videos explaining Charity's method to interpreting dreams!! Praise God!"
Is the app free?
Yes! It does not cost anything to download the app. We decided to provide as much of the app as possible in the basic version, which is free. You will find multiple quick video teachings that will get you started documenting and interpreting your dreams in no time. And we have not included a single ad on this app. Why? Because user interruption is not part of our vision. Our goal is to provide the best experience possible and we honor your quiet time.
You are welcome to dive deeper into dream work by taking advantage of the Dreams Master Class. With a one-time in-app purchase, the class is yours to keep for a lifetime! We also provide a subscription to access premium features such as adding a drawing, searching, sharing, sorting dreams by date, etc.
Where can I download the app now on my phone?
The app is available for both iPhone and Android phones. We invite you to download the Glory Waves' Dream Keys app directly from the App Store or Google Play by clicking HERE.
Dr. Charity Kayembe is co-author of "Hearing God Through Your Dreams" and Founder of Glory Waves Ministries.
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