Dreams are a fascination of mine. I’m not talking goal-oriented kind of dreams, where you might dream of being a homeowner, or being a successful doctor, or of accomplishing something great. That’s another topic for another day. I’m talking literal dreams that happen when you are unconscious. I have crazy, movie-esqe, “it felt so real” kind of dreams.
Lately, I have been having car-related dreams. To give you a little backstory, driving is a big part of my life lately. I live a half-hour away from my work, and I do the morning commute in stressful, stop-and-go traffic each day into Minneapolis from the ‘burbs. And more recently, my husband took a pastoral job in a suburb about 45 minutes away from our home. Though we are in the process of moving close to that church, we are now commuting there a few times per week. So I log some quality drive-time each week. And driving pops up in my dreams often.
I decided to write this post about dreams because in the last two weeks, I have had three nearly identical dreams. They all involve a head-on car crash on the freeway that would inevitably lead to death. Crazy, right?! In each one, I was the driver and it was my fault. And in each one, I woke up before impact, thankfully. I didn’t wake up scare or shaky, as I have in the past. Just curious about what it means.
The process of studying dreams and understanding meanings of dreams gets quite tricky, if you are a person of faith in Jesus and the Bible, as I whole-heartedly am. Dream interpreters are often clumped in with psychics, astrologers, and the like, which scripture is very clear that Christians are to avoid. So I have been very careful and thoughtful in my study of my own dreams.
The amazing thing is that God does not need an astrologer or a psychic to explain dreams to us. He doesn’t need a dream encyclopedia, or a special website. God can speak directly to us, no filter. He actually WANTS us to come directly to him. So that’s what I did. I started praying about what these crazy collision dreams were about. God reminded me that he had already told me!
Several months ago, I had a dream about driving, right as Paul and I started the new ministry position I mentioned earlier. It was in the early stages, before we could even tell people, and when I was going through somewhat of a grieving process. Going to a new church was a huge transition for our family, but even more so for me personally. I had grown up at the church we were previously at. I had literally been in that church since I was 4 days old. The congregation was not just a group of people I sat in a pew next to once per month, they were figuratively and literally my family. My parents and my brother and his wife attended too. Leaving this church was going to rock my world, as much as moving to a whole new part of the country might feel to someone else.
With that background, I had a life-changing dream. I dreamt that I was driving with my two little girls in the backseat, safely buckled in their car seats. They were chatting and babbling, looking at books and eating goldfish. Totally typical scenario in our busy lives. All of a sudden, it started to rain. Just drips and drops at first. Then enough to turn on the wipers. Then it started pouring. The kind of pouring that comes down so hard and fast that the wipers can’t keep up and you’re forced to slow down. However, in this particular dream, I couldn’t slow down. My brakes were not responsive to my attempts to slow the car to a safe speed. So here I am, careening through sheets of rain, unable to see what’s happening in front of me. Immediately, I completely panic. I’m pumping the brakes, I’m checking the wipers to see if they are actually on the highest speed, to no avail. Then I lose control, similar to the feeling of losing control on black ice in the dead of a Minnesota winter. I am screaming now.
In the midst of this most awful part of this dream, I glance back to see my girls. They are not screaming. They are not holding on for dear life, as I am. They have no fear on their faces. Actually, they have continued the babbling, eating, reading, and chatting that characterized the beginning of the dream. They are completely oblivious to the storm. I’m shocked.
And that’s when I awake, thanking God it’s not real.
And in those quiet moments, between sleep and alertness, I heard God interpret my dream for me. I knew it was God’s voice in my heart and mind, because I would not have had the insight to come up with this.
He said that I will not be in control as we transition into a new life he has ready for us. He said it will feel like panic and stress at times. He knows me so well. Me and my to-do lists, five-year plans, control-freak tendencies. He said my girls will be oblivious to the pain of transition and leaving family and friends. They will continue on in the happy, peaceful life they have always known, because Paul and I will be their steadfast foundation, with the Lord as our foundation.
He said you will not know the whole plan, I will sometimes not even show you what is directly in front of you. Trust that He has it figured out. That we would not crash. That we would not be overtaken. That we would come out the other side of the storm, unscathed.
So now, months later, as I reflect on that night, I feel a strong sense of peace. I feel like my current dreams of collisions are just my unconscious again letting go. It may feel like I’m heading straight for impact, but feelings are deceptive. I know the Lord will never leave me or forsake me (Deuteronomy 31). I know that he is the God of the wind and waves and he can calm my storm (Matthew 8). And I know he is with you, even if you’re driving through the biggest storm of your life.