Monday, January 26, 2015

What If We Aren’t Dreaming the Dream We Think We're Dreaming?

“You’re not dreaming the dream you think you’re dreaming!” 

The actor on the science fiction TV show my husband was watching sounded desperate. Me? I was merely strolling through the living room, minding my own business, making my way from my office to the kitchen for some coffee. I still have no idea what the guy was talking about, don’t know whether or not he meant actual, while-asleep dreaming or some kind of illusion. Maybe someone thought he was only dreaming aliens were after himbut this guy knew they actually were. For some reason, anyway, the man was alarmed on behalf of one or more of his colleagues and he was issuing a wake-up call. 

Naturally, I had to take this completely out of context and think about it, sans aliens. What if . . . sometimes . . . we aren’t dreaming the dream we think we’re dreaming? 

Like any good Christian, I looked up the word dream in the Bible to see what I could also take out of context there to help me with this question. Surely something would turn up that did not have to do with while-asleep dreaming or visions, which I know perfectly well permeates the Bible’s story, especially, I am pretty sure, in the Old Testament.

Good idea or not, I found this in Isaiah 29:7–8 (NIV, italics mine). Through Isaiah, the Lord is telling it like it is.   

Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
    that attack her and her fortress and besiege her,
will be as it is with a dream,
    with a vision in the night—
 as when a hungry person dreams of eating,
    but awakens hungry still;
as when a thirsty person dreams of drinking,
    but awakens faint and thirsty still.
So will it be with the hordes of all the nations
    that fight against Mount Zion. 

The Lord, of course, was not talking about my question, but He was using dreams vs. reality to help make His point. Taking what He said out of context as promised, I was struck with how someone can dream of eating and still wake up hungry, dream of drinking but still wake up thirsty. In other words, the dream of food and water does not satisfy because it does not address what's real. Maybe some of our dreams (plans, goals), even when we realize them, skirt reality just as much.  

I recently wrote about not having a big dream—or goal—for 2015 like so many others seemed to have, though I do have little dreams. But no matter the size of our dreams, do we assume they will quench our "hunger and thirst"? What if we aren’t dreaming the dream we think we’re dreaming? What if some need we want to satisfy, some result we are after, lies beneath the surface of our dreams? 

Example: the dream to reach an ideal weight (which I, uh, borrowed from a friend)

  • The goal:  Ultimate, eventual success. An ideal weight we can retain. 
  • The plan:  A specific eating plan and exercise routine.
  • The hoped-for results:  We will be healthier and our clothes will fit and we'll look good . . . and . . . and . . . we won’t feel so bad about ourselves.

Ah. Maybe we would do well to look beneath the surface and think about what we truly long for, what will, in the light of day, quench our true hunger and thirst. Whether or not the aliens are real. Whether a dream that pulls us is in reality a wake-up call.

Can you share a dream that turned out to be something more than you at first thought? How did it make a difference in your life?

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