I will make it no secret that most nights I dream.

I usually dream of practical things, resulting in me checking the fridge in the middle of the day to see if we really did buy ketchup, only to discover was all a figment of my (rather dull) imagination.

Other nights my dreams are a bit more fantastical. These are the dreams that make their own world and invite me in, the ones that I am sore parted from and seem even more real than the reality of day. They are poignant visions of places and people that consume my mind  and my heart. Often when I wake from these dreams and I sit in bed for several moments and wish to be back, the places and people my mind created manifesting themselves as an emotion that I feel.

Then there are nightmares. Monsters hunting me and those I love, being pushed into a giant vat of dirty, cloudy water, a baby slowly melting in a lava flow, screaming in agony. I used to have night-terrors regularly as a child. A sub-category lies within this one, of dreams not so blatantly frightening, yet more emotionally draining. Like having your own mother treat you like a worthless piece of nothing, or having  a fight with your dad when you know the end result is him never seeing you the same way ever again. Usually I wake from those with a knot in my chest where my heart usually is, and it takes me a few moments before I realize the whole thing was as real and solid as vapor, and I sigh deeply while I rub my eyes wearily.

Dreams are rather an elusive experience for me; I’ve never realized that I’m dreaming while I dream, and I find myself carried through, rather than manipulating things to suite my tastes. I’ll dream about someone, and sometime I feel like my unconscious mind is revealing things that it’s figured out, deep inside, but haven’t solidified yet in any real thought or attitude. I’ll understand someones situation with more empathy. Other times I think insecurities manifest themselves in my dreams, where a person acts annoyed with me or disappointed, shrugging me off casually, are just being plain…mean. This could be any random somebody, or it could be someone I secretly already get that vibe from. Or it could be the exact opposite, and I feel part of a close community that accepts me. Who knows

I’ve had two dreams, exactly, where I think was supposed to be accepting a mission. I don’t know if they were from God, or if I really did feel a yearning in myself for it. There are children, always African, and I know I have to leave any moment, and I’m telling them goodbye. I don’t know if they are saying anything, or if I’m hearing it in my head, or if I just know, but over and over again — “Who will tell them about Jesus? How will they know? Who will come and take care of them and love them? How will they know Jesus? And hastily I try to share the Gospel before I leave, before I run out of life’s most precious commodity: time.

Of course by now you’ve noticed I’m rambling. But (Aha!) there is a purpose.

Listening to a sermon by a preacher whom I have the utmost respect for, I heard him claim you are the same exact person in your dreams as you are in the waking world.

Now, this was hard to swallow. Many things I have done while dreaming, I would never do in real life…and then it hit me that the proper way to phrase that answer would be ‘I would never have the courage.’

I have never been a different person in my dreams. I like the same foods, activities, have the same fears. Yet there is a belief that has taken over that when you do bad things in your dreams, it doesn’t make you a bad person. I’ve heard blatant confessions from men you have graphic, sexual dreams with woman other than their wife, and they don’t even blink.

In fact almost everyone, Christians included, believe it’s completely permissible to act any way you please in a dream, and it does not reflect who you ‘really’ are as a person.

Thinking about that mentality, I found something didn’t quite connect. Usually when people claim that, it’s because they’ve done something while dreaming that they would be slightly embarrassed to admit to doing in public. But isn’t God the one that said he searches the heart, not the actions, of man? No one is possessing you while you dream, no one is forcing words down your throat. You don’t ‘become’ someone else. It’s you. You + none of the social restraints this world has hedged around us. You may not consciously decide that in your dreams, but you mind knows. I’ve learned a lot about myself from my dreams, and sometimes some of  the things I learn give me warning of my weaknesses, my shortcomings. If I can mouth off to my parents in my dreams, it doesn’t matter that I don’t do it during the day– it’s what’s in my heart that made me guilty.

And I guess that’s what I’m trying to say ~Dreams are often times chances to prove the worth and caliber of your heart. What treasure your heart contains will be reflected in your dreams.

And now you can ask yourself with this knowledge, like I did, how ‘good’  a Christian are you now?

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