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Monday, September 23, 2013

"What Your Dreams Are Telling You" (Cindy McGill)

TITLE: What Your Dreams Are Telling You: Unlocking Solutions While You Sleep
AUTHOR: Cindy McGill
PUBLISHER: Minneapolis, MN: Chosen Books, 2013, (176 pages).

"It's a dream come true!" is a statement of exhilaration. "Thank God it's only a dream" is a statement of relief. We all dream about things or thoughts from time to time. The Bible too has a fair share of dreams and the interpretation of them. There is Joseph the dreamer, Daniel the interpreter of dreams, in the Old Testament as well as Peter's vision of a ladder in the New Testament. What if dreams can be a way in which our lives be guided wisely and spiritually? What if dreams can help us make better sense of our role in the world? What if we can learn how to get the best out of our dreams? In this book, McGill shows us how our dreams can be understood and learned from. A popular interpreter of dreams, she has been highly sought after by people wanting to make sense of what their own dreams are about.

McGill arrests any skeptic right from the start, saying point blank to them: "You are not my audience." Obviously, she is interested only in people who are open about dreams and the interpretation of dreams for our own benefit. She shares her own journey in dreaming, interpreting, and applying her learning with compelling conviction and belief. Her success at Best Buy Marketing literally launches her career in dream interpretation and business marketing. McGill believes that once dreams are unlocked, the potential for good and prosperous business results are immense. She provides seven interpretive principles.
  1. Believe that dreams are for our good
  2. Dreams are personal
  3. Dreams are likened to parables
  4. Timing and frequency are important
  5. Dreams can come from different sources
  6. Dreams require our own actions
  7. Connect our dreams with the Giver of our dreams.
The chapter on "common dream themes" contains fascinating insights about dream situations like losing teeth, falling, being chased, naked in public, losing stuff, seeing reptiles, and other elements. For example, in the part about one dreaming of falling, her take home message is encouraging, that even when things seem to be falling out of control, eventually, everything will fall in place. For Christians, they have the trust that God is in control and instead of giving in to fear about the worse, one can trust God for the best. Some of the dreams occur in the spiritual realm like one person sharing about demons trying to kill him. The take home interpretation is that instead of giving in to fear of the demons, or to assume they are just false make-belief, we can affirm that the spiritual realm is real but also full of deceptions.

There are four main types of dreams, each requiring a different kind of interpretation. McGill shows us how to identify, interpret, and respond to "Warning dreams," "direction dreams," "self-revealing dreams," and "spiritual realm dreams." Stressing that it is important to interpret one's dreams, the author reminds readers to be discerning as well. The three steps to adopt are:

  1. Determine the source
  2. Determine the message
  3. Determine your action

When determining the source of dreams, distinguish between self, lie, and truth. When determining the message, ask if it is for our observation or participation; what is the focus and what are the peripheral issues. Finally, our responses have to flow out of the preceding two steps. Interpretation needs to be as simple as possible. Application needs to be done constructively. There is also a section on God and dreams, and how God speaks to us through dreams. This chapter alone can be a Bible study in itself.

So What?

Many of us dream but not many are able to understand or know how to interpret them. Sometimes, we simply forget or want to forget about them, especially nightmares. For most of us, it takes dreams to recur several times before we even sit up and take notice. There are not much science or empirical methods to prove the authenticity of the dreams in this book.  That is probably because dreams by themselves often sit between the visible and the invisible world. The author's overarching conviction is that dreams are very much a part of our real world. With one-third of our lives spent sleeping, why not harness whatever dreams within that time span for the other two-thirds? Why not get the best out of our dreams?

I find the motivation for this book a noble one, even a brave one. In our technological society that prefers facts and figures, numbers and knowledge, it takes an open mind to accept the things written in this book. Even for Christians, there are some who will resist dabbling in the unknown sphere of dreams and visions. Often these are due to fears of misinterpretation and misunderstanding. For McGill, each time to ignore dreams is an opportunity lost in harnessing the dream for our benefit. That is helpful for many people, but I want to argue the other way. In trying to use the one-third of sleeping time for the benefit of the other two-thirds, we may unwittingly fail to appreciate the sleeping and the dreaming in themselves. After all, not every dream necessarily needs interpretation. Not every vision must have some kind of an immediate application. Discernment must be needed in all circumstances. That includes learning to pay attention as well as ignore certain dreams. Remember again that the Bible do have things to say about sleep.

Sleep is a gift of God (Ps 127:2). Sleep is also a reward for hard labour (Ecclesiastes 5:12). At the same time, too much sleep is criticized as unhelpful (Proverbs 6:10). Dreams can occur in a manner that need other people to help us interpret. They need to occur several times to wake us up. That said, I think we cannot overstate or understate the importance of dreams. What I can suggest is what I call the "posture of Mary." When Jesus was born, the hosts of angels appear and shepherds came to pay respects and honour the baby. Seeing all of these amazing events happening must have been rather overwhelming for Mary who has just given birth to Jesus. Luke's record is very instructive.

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:19)

That is the attitude I will suggest for anyone of us seeking to understand or to interpret dreams. It can be attempted but not forced. It can be subjected through an interpretive framework but must be discerned. It often takes time. This book can be a helpful guide for those of us interested in dreams in general.  For Christians, do so with lots of prayer and with plenty of godly counsel.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Chosen Books and Graf-Martin Communications in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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