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How to Deal With Nightmares

How to Deal With Nightmares
image courtesy of Joe McLean

My oldest, a 5 year old, had a nightmare the other night. I had gone for an early morning gym run, so I missed the action but I thought what happened was beneficial to what we had been discussing.

The nightmare was pretty basic. In the dream we were at a local kids’ park and a tornado started coming. We got in the car and went home.

She woke up scared and came to our bed to hunt for comfort. My wife asked her, “What do we do when we are afraid?”

“Ask Jesus for help.”

“Can you do that?”

“Yes. Jesus can you help me?”

“Do you feel better?”

“Yes.”

Since it was almost morning, we stayed in bed and snuggled.

It is important to remember the earlier post because we had to first deal with the pride that was keeping her from coming to Jesus. This is important because if we hadn’t done that first, the fear and anxiety would have no outlet besides just parental protection. Don’t get me wrong, a little snuggle with the kids is quite wonderful, but it is also important for them to learn the true source of peace. She needs to go to Jesus herself. She needs to see that Jesus is there for her and not only for Mom and Dad. There will come a time she will not come to us for every nightmare, and we want her prepared for how to deal with them besides just stuffing down the fear.

We could have possibly talked her through how we did not need to worry about tornadoes where we live; tell her that God would protect her. And, this would have been good counsel, but it would in effect belittle her feelings and not point her to the true source of peace.

In reality we could have earthquakes and wildfires in our area. If the dream had been about that, to tell her she had nothing to worry about would only lead to doubt if she were to experience an earthquake or see smoke from a wildfire. As parents we need to give her a more complete answer, which for us is Jesus.

Jesus can meet her at the true source of her fear, and as her parents we can guide her through that process. Not every nightmare will be so easy as this experience, but every one of them can be taken to Jesus.

If I only my parents had known to teach me this, I wonder how long I would have had my reoccurring dream of Bigfoot chasing my family to our car?

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2 Responses to “How to Deal With Nightmares”

  1. Dear Kevin,

    this will work for children, but not necessarily for adults. The reason being that the spiritual inspiration and source of a child’s nightmare is usually quite immediate.

    For an adult, a nightmare is usually something from the past that needs to be dealt with and sorted out. Therefore asking Jesus to help with the present feelings and fears will not eliminate the actual source.

    First of all, you need to pray for peace, not having the Lord’s peace prevents a person in distress from hearing the Lord. To find the actual source you need to ask Jesus, “can you help me understand the source of this nightmare.” The answer to this prayer is usually quite immediate, they will begin to remember things or understand things.

    One lady woke up convinced she was going to be shot, the Lord explained that this dream was a caricature of four bad men in her life, father, boyfriend, and others.

    Once you have this understanding, and have had a chance to express any feelings which arise and why each feeling is there. Then when you ask the Lord “what would you like me to know about this”, then healing will come, through whatever he says or inspires. Don’t stop asking the Lord what he wants to say until he says, “thats it”.

    hope this helps.

    Prayer_Activist

    • Generally I let comments go to spam that don’t give a real name, especially those that our critical. The spirit of discernment is not licensing for being critical as it is still under the authority of love.

      You’re first point follows that exact same line that we implemented with our daughter and proposed in this post… going to Jesus, the source of our peace. For the majority of people’s dreams and nightmares this is all they need. Our enemy is looking for every avenue he can to distract our focus from Jesus. Fear is really a misplaced focus on our potential situation off of what Jesus is saying or doing. If we can just go to Jesus, fear will abate.

      Now you are correct that there are some dreams that have a basis on some deeper healing or on some potential future events. However if there is still fear in the event, then God is not in the interpretation. Perfect love, which is found in God, cast out all fear.

      I would encourage you to rethink your commenting philosophy. First include your name so you can take ownership and responsibility for your comments. Then, ask yourself if you think this would be encouraging if you received the same comment. Your comment here could have easily found the common ground of going first to Jesus, then stated how you also found it helpful to ask Jesus for understanding. This type of comment would have opened up dialogue and encouraged relationship.

      I hope you continue your pursuit of Jesus through prayer and obedience and may God richly bless all of your endeavors.

      Grace and peace,
      Kevin Shorter

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