Monday, February 8, 2010

Modern . . . Dreams

Don't forget to enter Friday's giveaway for Christa Allen's debut novel, Walking on Broken Glass!

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Who among us hasn't ever soothed a frantic child--or even ourselves--with the phrase, "It's only a dream." ? I know I've chanted that to myself a time or two after waking up from a nightmare, and I've said it to my daughter too. I've even had one of my characters repeat the phrase to herself time and again after a series of nightmares. But isn't it kind of interesting? Dreams can have a profound impact on us . . . and yet we try to dismiss them in this day and age, write them off as Freudian wish-fulfillment or random firings of synapses.

I always find it interesting how important a role dreams play in the Bible, for instance. In the Old Testament especially, we see God speaking to people quite a bit through dreams, or raising His children to power through the ability to interpret them. I think most of assume that's just something that happened "back then." Sure, we're willing to grant that dreams can mean something. Sometimes. In a way.

Even if we dismiss any prophetic qualities they could have, though, dreams shouldn't be dismissed so easily, should they? I like to make use of the normal, everyday variety of dream in my contemporaries as ways for the characters to see something about themselves. Who hasn't had a dream about a person they hadn't yet admitted to themselves they were interested in? Kinda hard to deny it after that, though, right? Or how about those times we dream something bad about our spouse and wake up angry with them, even though they haven't done something wrong? That affects us throughout our whole day and can often force us to examine our own hearts and fears to get over it.

And I'd love to see a poll of how many authors came up with story ideas based on dreams. Lots, I know!

But the fact is, dreams can still be the whisper of God too. Let's remember that He doesn't change--if He spoke through dreams Back Then, why would He stop doing it now? More likely, I think, is that we don't listen to them so much anymore. My friend Dina shared a story on her blog a few weeks ago about how, when they were trapped in a war-zone, her young son had a dream that, as it turns out, thousands of people had around the world that week, and it guided them to safety. (Oo, shivers up my spine just writing that.) She also shared with me that thousands of Muslims have converted to Christianity in the last few years because they had dreams about Jesus.

We can't discount those amazing stories, though all too often we do--or we say, "Wow, that's awesome. It would never happen to me, but it's awesome." And maybe it wouldn't happen to us. But maybe it would. In my stories, and in my life, I like to keep an open mind. I don't like to "resort to" these "tactics" when writing--but I also want to write reality. And reality is that our dream world has a profound effect on our "real" world.

Have you encountered that?

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