New Years tends to be the one holiday Americans have selected in which we are reminded to dream — to hope outside of the box of our current reality.
Studies have shown that approximately 45% of the American adult population makes New Year’s resolutions — dreaming about improving their life and wellbeing in some practical and measurable way.
This statistic tells us at least two things:
- Many people have stopped dreaming. They may be hopeless, having had too many failures and disappointments in the past, or may have reduced their vision to the daily rut of routine, settling for the status quo, instead of pushing towards their prophetic potential to walk in their God-given destiny.
- Some people dream at least one time a year about the possibilities and potential for change to improve their life and fulfill their destiny.
As we are well on our way into a new year, I’m wondering how many us who dreamed of new potentials in January are doing so in March?
In other words, is dreaming a normal part of our life, or just a once a year anomaly?
Research has discovered 5 cycles or stages during sleep.
The first four stages, which range from light to deep sleep, takes approximately 90 to 120 minutes to cycle through.
The last stage, and most important for “a good night sleep”, is REM (rapid eye movement). This is the stage of sleep in which we dream.
If there is any disruption during the first four cycles, REM sleep cannot be obtained. People with sleep disorders are unable to achieve REM, and therefore never get the full benefit of a good night sleep. A person can sleep 8 hours per night but still wake up tired because they failed to dream.
The first cycle of REM normally only lasts about 10 minutes, and then the body returns to the beginning of sleep cycle. Each new REM stage during the night increases in length until the fourth or fifth round, in which the REM stage lasts about one hour.
The longer we sleep well, the longer we dream.
Moreover, studies have shown that dreaming during REM sleep helps with inner conflict resolution, emotional processing, memory consolidation, and overcoming depression.
So then, people who dream regularly during sleep have a greater opportunity for wellbeing than people who don’t dream.
Our wellbeing is contingent upon our dreaming.
Dreaming Our Way to Creative Breakthrough
Studies have also shown that dreaming during sleep is critical in discovering and developing creativity — People who dream are more insightful, innovative, and inventive than people who do not dream.
Dreaming during sleep actually stimulates creative innovation, ideas, inventions, and strategies.
Dreaming is an important step in discovering, developing, and doing our destiny.
So then, sleep is more than just getting rest. Solomon observed that, “Even though I sleep my heart is awake (Song of Solomon 5:2).”
God designed us to dream.
And not just at night during REM sleep, but throughout the day as well.
Daydreaming — dreaming (“visionating”) during the daytime may be more important than dreaming while we sleep.
Wouldn’t it be great to have our hearts awake to dream while we are going through our day?
Dreaming is For Kids
Interestingly, studies have shown that babies achieve up to 50% of REM sleep per night, while adults only achieve up to 20%. In fact, the older we get, the less sleep we get at any one period of time, and the less REM sleep we are able to achieve, and therefore, less dreaming.
On the Day of Pentecost, however, Peter proclaimed the promise of the prophet Joel, which indicated that the older we got, the more we could dream, because of the Holy Spirit’s presence upon us (Acts 2:17).
Maybe this was an element of what Jesus meant when He said, “Unless we become like children we cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” In the Kingdom, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to dream like children.
Children not only have a better capacity to dream at night, but also know how to dream while awake.
Maybe that’s why kids tend to be more creative and express their creativity more than adults.
Kids have the capacity for creativity because they have the capacity to dream.
Unfortunately, the older we get, the more we are frowned upon for dreaming while awake.
How many of us were reprimanded during a school day as we were caught staring out of the window daydreaming?
How many bosses encourage their employees to spend time each day looking out of the window, envisioning what their life might look like in 20 years?
Instead of punishment for not paying attention in class or focusing on the work at hand, maybe it would be more helpful for the teacher or boss to have the student or employee write down the dream and set some goals to reach those daydreams!
Maybe we would cultivate a creative culture that would allow for continual improvement because we allowed people to dream during their waking hours.
As it is, most children are taught to limit their dream times until they become non-existent.
Kids Dream Big
Kids don’t put limitations on themselves – they dream bigger than their resources, talents, abilities, and giftings.
Kids dream about wanting to be: an astronaut…an artist…a doctor…a dancer…the president…a singer…Heidi Baker…David Hogan…a world changer!
Kids will tell you:
“I’m going to be on Dancing with the Stars”
“I’m going to be on the Voice”
“My art is going to be shown in galleries”
“I’m going to invent the cure for AIDS”
“I’m going to end the Sex Trade…Poverty…Racial Injustice”
“I’m going to preach the Gospel all over the world”
Time to Dream
We can literally dream our way to our destiny. Our dreams can change us, and the world around us.
Helen Keller observed that, “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision.”
Dreaming is simply envisioning the possibilities for the impossible to become possible.
Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream and changed the world.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it you can do it.” He also believed that, “All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Charles Lindbergh observed, “Living in dreams of yesterday, we find ourselves still dreaming of impossible future conquests.”
William Shakespeare wrote, “We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”
Ralph Lauren reflects, “People ask how a Jewish kid from the Bronx do preppy clothes? Does it have to do with class and money? No, it has to do with dreams.”
Ferdinand Porsche said, “I couldn’t find the sports car of my dreams so I built it myself.”
Anything is possible in the Kingdom of God. What will you build in your life? Your dreams will determine the answer!
I want to encourage you to take time each day this week to daydream. Envision the good things God has planned in partnering with your dreams for a better future.
If this blog has encouraged you, send it along to your friends so that we can all dream together in bringing more of Heaven to earth.