Dreams and visions sometimes have the ability to shake us up. Scary dreams or nightmares can come from seeds planted in the murky soil of uncertainty. However, reality can be pretty scary if we get lost at the end of a career path, realize our age when physical limitations keep us from reaching an important goal, or struggle with the ambiguity of our future. We may wish for a crystal ball to help guide us as we feel an escalating internal pressure to make the right decision. But for many, the situation or circumstance is completely beyond their control. As a result, making the right decision can cause anxiety and we can feel like there is a monster lurking in the darkness just waiting to pounce!
Recurring dreams may contain some message but we often have a difficult time interpreting the meaning. Dreams and visions are sometimes our internal way of dealing with situations that we cannot control. There will be times when circumstances like timing, geographic location or economic indicators dictate how our situation unfolds. Other times, personal hopes and dreams are dwarfed by the giant of reality. In truth, some dreams may not have any meaning at all and that queasy feeling can be credited to the chimichanga eaten the night before.
Dr. John Townsend is one of my favorite smart people who understands the important role Christian psychology plays for the church. Dream interpretation is discussed here.
Autonomy plays a huge role in our lives. The tricky part is how we handle this freedom. Most of us want the freedom to choose but we fear making a wrong decision. Making the wrong decision feeds our fear of being a failure. The fear of being controlled will be our focus this week as we read about Daniel's dreams and his interpretation of things to come. Daniel's dreams are deeply symbolic and are designed to bring us hope. God gave us the freedom of choice and longs for us to include him in our decision making process. We all struggle with the future and making the best decision possible. Here's the bottom line: perfect love casts out all fear. God's love for us is the reality. Let's focus on that.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. I John4:18 NRSV