When I first began learning about dreams and biblical dream interpretation, one of the trickiest things for me was to train myself to think metaphorically. That logic side of my brain always wanted to kick in, and I kept approaching dreams far too literally. But dreams are highly symbolic, and we have to grow in our ability to decipher the meaning behind the pictures we see and the symbols that are often used. And one of the things I’ve discovered is that sometimes, certain images, people, vehicles, places, etc. show up in our dreams as a play on words.
For example, have you ever had a UHAUL Truck show up in your dreams?
And in that dream, I just so happened to be the one driving the “YOU-HAUL“. (Get it?)
Through understanding the interpretation of that particular dream, I knew God was addressing an area of my life in which I was trying to carry and move something forward in my own strength. Needless to say, there were some adjustments I had to make. But thank God for giving me that dream, and not letting me go on and on until I made a mess of things!
Metaphors, wordplays, similes, parables, exercising our ability to think creatively like this can really help with our ability to interpret dreams. And if you struggle with logic-bound thinking like I did, here are some things you can do to help you flex out of that:
THREE EXERCISES TO HELP YOU THINK METAPHORICALLY:
1.) Pick an object and consider how it could be used metaphorically in a dream.
It can be any random object in your home, on your desk, or in your car. But take a moment and think about what that object could represent. As I write this, I glanced over to my right and noticed the lamp sitting on my desk. What immediately came to mind was “you are the light of the world…no one takes a lamp and puts it under a basket…” So in a dream, God could use a lamp as a metaphor of The Church, or my role within The Church. God could also be calling me to shine and not cover or hide what He’s placed within me. It could also point to the light of His presence.
With this exercise, there are no “wrong answers”. Just have fun with it. The goal is to simply exercise your creativity and engage that side of your thinking.
2.) Look up the meaning behind people’s names, brand-names, or company names.
This one’s huge, because a lot of times people, places or things are highlighted to us in our dreams and the reason they were used in our dream is because of what they represent, or because of what their name represents.
3.) Read through the parables recorded throughout the Gospels.
This of course doesn’t just help us metaphorically, but we grow in our understanding of the ways of God and the ways of the Kingdom – which is really one of the greatest keys to unlocking our ability to interpret dreams.
Search for all the times Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like….” And don’t just read what He said, envision it, meditate on those parables until you get a clear picture of what is being communicated. Why is the kingdom like leaven? Why is it like a man who cast seed upon a soil? Why is it like a treasure or a mustard seed? Don’t just focus on the information, ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp and visualize what Jesus was communicating.
I do little exercises like this often, just to keep my metaphorical wheels turning. And what I’ve learned is, the more you exercise this part of your thinking, the easier the metaphors will start popping out at you. The good news is you CAN learn how to think metaphorically. It just takes practice. And combine that with becoming more grounded in the Word of God, His ways, and His good nature towards us, the more your understanding will unlock to an even greater degree.
As always, thanks for reading, and until next time…. keep dreaming!
Linda G. Riddle