Typically, I don’t dream much, or if I do, I don’t remember my dreams. But for the past couple of weeks, it seems like I’ve had nonstop dreams every night. Some are disturbing, some are strange, most are pretty ordinary— thank goodness! But they keep me busy all night. Some mornings, even after eight hours of sleep, I wake up wanting a nap.
When I asked God about this a week ago, He reminded me that my brain doesn’t spend much time in idle when I’m awake, either. There seems always to be a lot of noise in my head—if you’ve ever been in a room of adolescent girls, you have the idea. The strange thing about it is, I don’t pay much attention to the clamor. I can have a dozen completely unrelated thoughts going on at once, and I don’t really tune in to any of them. Weird, I know.
“Is that why my dreams have been so wild recently, God? Are all those unattended thoughts sneaking into my dreams?” I asked God to tell me more.
Take every thought captive to obey Christ, He seemed to say.
I’d never thought of applying 2 Corinthians 10:5 as practically as that, but I decided to give it a try. I grabbed my journal and pen, and started writing.
I reviewed the previous five minutes and wrote down every thought I could remember having. I nearly filled an entire page. Some thoughts were obvious and familiar—projects at work, concerns about friends and family, items on my do-list, complications with my schedule. But some of thoughts I captured were complete surprises—people I’ve lost touch with, blessings I don’t take enough time to enjoy, financial issues demanding attention, friends who need care and prayer. Most surprising of all were the feelings I hadn’t been aware of—anger, longing, regret, and worry—emotions I’d stuffed down, but apparently had not forgotten.
Hmmm. No wonder my dreams have been so busy, I realized. There’s a lot going on in my subconscious, but I never take time to listen to it. I asked God what to do with everything I’d just written.
Cynthia, Cynthia, you are worried about many things, I thought I heard Him say, reminiscent of what Jesus once said to Martha (Luke 10:41). You can have the mind of Christ!
Don’t stuff them down—instead, lift them up! Then He invited me to go through the list with Him, one thought at a time.
So we did. Many of the thoughts He asked me to simply hand over to Him. They were out of my control, so He wanted to carry them for me. But some of the things He handed right back to me. That tiny niggle about friends I hadn’t thought of in ages? He wanted me to try to reconnect with them. The anger I felt? He wanted me to forgive. The blessings that go largely unnoticed? He wanted me to celebrate them. The person I was worried about? There was specific mercy He wanted me to extend to her.
I grabbed a notepad and made a short list—the takeaways from our conversation. Over the next few days, I tried to follow through on the various action steps He’d directed me to take. I felt peace and a sense of His pleasure each time I obeyed.
God is showing me that all those “random thoughts” in my head may not be so random, after all. They represent thoughts and emotions that deserve my—and His—attention. Sometimes they are thoughts God Himself has planted there. When I ignore them or try to stuff them down, I may be missing out on something important—and they may start sneaking into my dreams at night. How much better, then, to lift them up to God! Capturing my thoughts like this is a new way of sharing life with Him and experiencing Him. And that’s one of the coolest thoughts I’ve had all day!