One of the reasons I sometimes sleep so poorly is because I wake myself up in the middle of a bad dream, rather than attempt to stay and face the challenge. When I started studying lucid dreaming back in high school, I gained the ability to forcefully wake myself up from any dream or nightmare simply by willing myself to. While yanking myself out of a bad dream is a surefire way to flee from whatever’s terrorizing me, it also leaves me disoriented and in a grouchy mood throughout the rest of the day.
I recently had a weird dream where I was suddenly surrounded by a family of raccoons, teeming around anxiously and looking very agitated. I panicked, and made myself wake up before I could be attacked, as I was certain that nothing else could happen.
Immediately after waking up, I had the immediate thought that if I had prayed to God for aid like I’ve done before, there would’ve been no need for me to make myself wake up. I’ve done this many times enough to know that God always answers you, including in your dreams, whenever you desperately call out for help. There are two dreams in my memory that I remember as strong examples of this phenomenon occurring.
This Isn’t Me!
One night during my first semester in college, I had a confusing and frightening dream about suddenly becoming a bully towards all of my high school friends. In the middle of my angry rampage, I snapped out of it and said to myself, “This isn’t something I’d ever do!”
Nonetheless, merely realizing the scene around me wasn’t real didn’t stop the nightmare. Instead, my friends continued to look at me with terror, and plead for me to stop. In a panic, I begged God to help me, and the instant I did, the entire dream paused.
It was like my dream was a video, and somebody had pressed the pause button. I was the only character moving around at this point, with everybody else frozen still like statues. Curious, I said a second prayer for God to grant me peace, and at that, the nightmare transformed into a much happier, friendly dream where the people who had been previously terrified of me where now greeting me amicably, like we do with each other in real life.
This was the dream that taught me that praying in dreams serves as both the key to the ultimate form of lucidity, along with the sole action a dreamer needs to take to change the path of a nightmare. I also suspect that this was the first “spiritual warfare” dream I can clearly recall, given the abnormal amount of anxiety this caused me to feel. God’s hand in the dream making the dream characters freeze up happened again the following summer, in a similarly freakish nightmare where prayer saved me once again.
In the summer of 2014, a few days before the 4th of July, I had at first what seemed to be a typically bizarre dream that started with one of my favorite teachers offering a strawberry milkshake to me. At least, that’s what the pink-red concoction looked like. It may’ve been something else entirely.
The weirdest thing about the milkshake was that as I tried to slurp it down, half of it kept spurting out of the corner of my mouth, no matter how hard I tried to drink it properly. I kept apologizing to my teacher, who was watching me with a wary, confused expression as I managed to down the entire drink.
Throughout all of that, I remember being lucidly aware that I was dreaming, but as the scene changed to more nonsensical images, I felt my self-awareness slip, and I began to feel heavily drugged, as if I had taken Nyquil and my senses were slowing down.
Next thing I knew, one of my friends from college was driving me home in her car, zooming at an impossible speed through the streets of my city, and eventually coming to my neighborhood. For some reason, everything around us looked like a shadowy blur, like the color had been sucked out of the world. To my further confusion, she flew by my house without a second thought, and I innately realized that whatever was going on, I was being kidnapped.
I bolted from the car and ran as fast as I could back to my house, as I watched everything around me further darken until almost everything in sight was black, especially the ominously cloudy sky above. The instant I came to my driveway, my “friend” appeared next to me without warning, and I tried to pray again.
When I did, the words came out thick and slurred, like I was drunk. I remembered the “milkshake” I had drunk beforehand, and realized that I may’ve been drugged within the dream. I managed to force a prayer for help out of my mouth, and when I did, my “friend” was instantly paralyzed, unable to move an inch.
The prayer restored my composure and my speech, encouraging me to face my would-be kidnapper and attack her. Aware at that point that the entity chasing after me wasn’t at all one of my friends, and likely of the same nature as the people from the aforementioned dream, I screamed the following at her (influenced by my heavy interest in The Conjuring):
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, reveal yourself!”
Well, she did.
The last thing I can recall seeing before groggily waking up was, in place of my “friend”, a withered old crone with long, wispy white hair, shriveled lips, and utterly black, pit-like eyes.
When I woke up, I felt haunted by what I had seen, and due to the immediate paranoia the image had given me, I felt almost cursed. My speech was unnaturally slurred for a few minutes after waking up, and I felt sick for a handful of hours afterwards. The notion that something evil in the dream had first drugged me, then tried to kidnap me, freaked me out.
But of course, it was the realization that the entire time, God had cleverly thwarted whatever was being planned against me in the dream by not allowing me to ingest the entire drug, and ensured my safety nonetheless.
I need to work on trusting God rather than my own paranoia when I deal with more nightmares in the future. God’s always stronger than any nightmare, and He always has a way out, after all.
“In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.”