Articles Recurring Dreams

In my experience, a repetitive dream is likely to contain an important message—something God may be trying to get through to you. The recurring dream may be an indication that the same situation is still present and unresolved. In most cases such a dream will have an inconclusive ending. 

Recurring dreams generally point to a matter that is unaddressed and unresolved—an area of frustration or something unfinished that needs attention. Once the message is understood and the appropriate action is taken, such dreams generally cease. 

A recurring dream can alert you to feelings of inadequacy or insecurity in the time leading up to an event. I often dream that I’m on my way to the airport trying to find my passport. In this case, it reveals my anxiety that I may not be organised in time for the trip. Such a dream may also occur when I feel unprepared to deliver a college lecture. It can also take place when I’m due to fly out for a speaking engagement. In each case I am wondering if I’m adequately prepared.

In these cases, the recurrence of a particular dream is more a reflection of my psychological or emotional state leading up to an event than a specific message from God.

It is interesting to note the recurring dream had by Pharaoh as recorded in Genesis. In this instance, the dreams differed, but the theme and message recurred. His first dream included seven heads of grain, his second dream that same night contained seven cows. When God gave Joseph the interpretation, both dreams were symbolic of seven years. The full account can be found in Genesis chapter 41.

When I was a child my parents would often shout my name twice in order to get my attention. It would seem God is no different when wanting to gain someone’s attention, as seen in the references below.

Genesis 22:11

‘But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.”’

Exodus 3:4

‘So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”’

I Samuel 3:10

‘Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant hears.”’

Luke 10:41

‘And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.’

Acts 9:4

‘Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”’

In order to capture the person’s attention God called their names out twice. In each case the encounter signalled a significant change of direction and calling or was reassurance in the individual’s life.

Just as in the examples above, God may also use a recurring dream as a source of direction, calling and wisdom for our life.

In my article on nightmares I refer to a mother who spoke to me regarding her son who had been having a recurring dream.

The 11-year-old boy regularly dreams he is standing alone while a lion steadily circles him. He feels very uncomfortable in the dream.

After asking a few questions I discovered the lady had recently divorced her husband, a man who had violent tendencies. It was apparent the lion represented the boy’s father as the dream seemed to happen when he was staying at his father’s place.  The uncomfortable feeling was likely expressed anxiety about his father’s volatile nature.

This was an example of a dream with a recurring message of anxiety and insecurity that existed in the boy’s life when staying at his father’s place. I’m confident once the mother speaks with her ex-husband and brings the matter to his attention with the appropriate action, the boy’s dream will cease. In cases such as these counseling may also prove to be helpful and beneficial to the boy and the parents. 

It is helpful to identity the pattern in your life that is causing the recurring dream. Some of the more commonly recurring dreams are listed in the Ten Common Dreams theme tab on this website such as being chased (running), losing teeth or finding yourself naked in a public place.