It’s very easy to overlook church dreams if we just focus on the building. To understand church dream meaning and symbolism, we need to go beyond physical structures.
After all, on your daily commute to work, you probably pass by at least a couple of these types of buildings.
But if your dream vision centers almost exclusively on a church, you need to sit up and pay attention.
Your subconscious is trying to tell you a very important message.
The general meaning of church dreams
Churches symbolize spirituality.
But I’m not just talking about religion, I’m not just talking about a specific creed or faith.
I’m talking about a much deeper meaning of spirituality, which involves your role in crafting, interpreting, and affecting your day-to-day reality.
Ultimately, this is what religion does, it basically organizes how we interpret what would otherwise be neutral signals from the rest of the universe.
It’s a lens or a filter that we use to understand the larger world outside of us, which then pushes us to behave one way instead of another.
Different religions have a different emphasis.
When mixed with different personality traits, this leads to different ways of living.
It is a form of mental programming.
So viewed from this context, it goes beyond religion.
It’s about your mindset.
As the old saying goes that “Your attitude determines your life’s altitude”.
Heavy duty stuff.
Think of two computers that you buy from a store.
Both have the exact same hardware configuration, much like human beings have one head, two arms, two legs, and so on and so forth.
But imagine that you installed an operating system on one computer that only allows it to play games.
On the other unit, you install an accounting operating system that only enables it to do accounting.
When you use both computers, you can easily be forgiven for thinking that you are dealing with two different machines because they have two totally different functions.
The same applies to human beings, we may have the same hardware, more or less but it’s our mental operating system that determines our lives.
But here’s the good news.
The mental operating system that we all operate with, is chosen by us.
Now you may be thinking, “Well, I’m unhappy. I’m desperate to feel helpless and hopeless. How in the world would I choose this operating system?”
I understand where you’re coming from because it may look so bleak that you may have convinced yourself that things happen to you and that you’re some sort of victim but the truth is you choose to keep whatever mental operating system you have.
You can always choose to look at things differently, you can always choose to change and this is the reality so many people find offensive, this is the type of realization that most people want to avoid because this requires self-ownership and responsibility.
You are responsible for your life, not your parents, not your past, not the people that you normally point to blame or look for justifications from.
This is the sad reality of life that we are ultimately alone in our choice of life to live.
Understand this, embrace it, accept it, and live it out and you’d be living a more empowered life.
You get to choose your future once you start taking responsibility for yourself.
This is the ultimate meaning of spirituality because just as the spiritual traditions talk about things that are immaterial manifesting themselves into our day-to-day world, the same applies to this level of spirituality, your assumptions, expectations, and who you think you are, and who you think you should be.
All of these are choices, which can then manifest themselves in your behavior.
Once you start acting differently, the world starts treating you differently.
That’s how it works.
Of course, it doesn’t happen overnight.
You are what you do repeatedly.
So once you make that switch, don’t be shocked when the results you get are much different from the ones you were getting before.
But to make this all happen, you have to decide and then you have to commit to doing, saying, and thinking about things a certain way going forward.
You have to make the switch.
When the central focus of your dream is a church building your subconscious is trying to shine a light on this reality that maybe you’ve spent a long time avoiding.
Because who wants to be wrong?
Who wants to be told it’s your fault?
Who wants to come to this crashing realization that I chose my life when it’s so much more convenient to blame other people even the government or even genetics, for whatever shortcomings and frustrations you have.
The problem is, the more you continue to blame others, the more you give them the power you could use to make the best life possible for yourself and your loved ones.
Think about it, if you are convinced that your parents are the cause for whatever problems you have, by logical implication they also possess the solution.
Where does that leave you?
It leaves you a victim, you’re constantly waiting for other people to get their act together to fix your life.
What’s wrong with this picture?
You have to seize the moment.
I know it’s inconvenient and oftentimes painful but there’s really no other choice if you won’t change.
What does it mean to dream of an abandoned church?
If you find yourself wandering into a church building that is completely abandoned with all furniture taken out and even the stained glass windows removed, this dream symbolizes a sense of personal disempowerment.
Your ability to change your mindset to affect whatever assumptions and expectations you may have about reality itself is completely gone.
Of course, this is an illusion.
You will always have that power but it feels like you don’t have that power, it feels like you are just this piece of plastic being tossed back and forth on the great sea of life with absolutely no control as to where you’re going and what will happen to you.
What you’re seeing is a dream image of a sense of loss regarding self, you have convinced yourself that you are helpless.
Now, please understand that people won’t consciously do this to themselves.
Instead, you reach this stage when you constantly give in to the easy temptation of blaming others or passivity.
You have to understand that you can only sweep hard decisions under the rug for so long until you feel that you have no power to make decisions.
That’s how it works.
That’s where it leads to.
You can’t coast through life, you just get weaker and weaker, the more you avoid hard choices and hard decisions.
What you’re walking through is the husk of your personal power to shape your reality, feels lonely, and it feels hopeless.
But the good news is, that you always have the power to change how you look at yourself, your reality, and your ability to change that reality.
That power never leaves you.
And once you start claiming that power, again, your ability to respond to reality and be responsible comes back.
What does it mean to dream about being trapped inside a church?
If you find yourself in a situation where you try to head for the exits, and they’re barred and you find yourself and you seem stuck in a church full of people who don’t know, this indicates a creeping sense of conformity.
You feel like you are another face in the crowd or a sheep in a tightly packed pen.
Your subconscious is trying to get across to you that your sense of conformity has gotten the better of you.
You’re so focused on being just like everybody else and being “normal” that you have lost sense of who you are.
It’s as if you are living your life not because you have this specific direction that is the product of your own passions, interests, and personality but instead, you’re afraid of what other people think.
You march to the beat not of your own drummer, but to the dictates of what you think other people want from you.
Accordingly, this can indicate a very heavy influence on your parents, your friends, and family or people who you respect.
To some extent this makes sense but eventually, you have to become your own person, eventually, you have to make your own way forward, you have to claim this world so that it makes sense to you.
The irony of all of this is that the more you live out your life according to other people’s expectations and the paths they have set down the more faceless and anonymous you feel.
At some point, you will realize that whatever accomplishment you may achieve in life is ultimately not yours.
They’re just an extension of somebody else’s ambition, they are just the fulfillment of somebody else’s hopes and wishes.
Do you see how this works?
Your parents live their lives, it’s time to live yours.
While it’s great that your parents may have all their dreams and ambitions, you should also find your own dreams and ambitions.
Be your own person.
Of course, this is easier said than done.
Because this means a very deep, heavy personal analysis of where your parent’s influence ends, and who and where you truly begin.
This is the kind of work that you need to start right now.
What does it mean, to dream of an empty church?
Suppose you find yourself in an otherwise fully well-maintained church, where there’s absolutely no person there, in that case, this is an indication that whatever religion, faith, or even mindset you may have right now, isn’t doing it for you anymore.
In the religious context, this is very easy to explain.
You have to understand that most of the people that call themselves a member of a certain faith actually didn’t choose that faith on an individual personal level.
They may say the words, “Jesus is my Lord and Savior”, but they may just be repeating what other people have said before them.
For instance, if you are born in an Evangelical protestant family, and people say you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and it’s your personal choice, you may be going along to get along because that’s the world that you were born in that’s what you were supposed to do.
If you’re a Catholic, you have your own version of that.
But what’s missing?
You didn’t personally study the Bible to the point that it makes sense to you personally and your life as it is.
Instead, you like most people, inherit that label and you think that is your identity.
My grandmother was Catholic so that means I am Catholic, that’s my identity.
But what does it mean?
The same can be said of Baptists, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Methodists, Muslims, both Shia and Sunni, I could go on and on.
On that level, your religion is just the label.
The question is, does it make sense to you personally?
Were you truly born again?
Or in an Islamic context, something else?
Do you see how this works?
There’s a big difference between your religious “identity” and your personal spiritual identity.
For too many people, these are separate and that’s why a lot of people are frustrated with their faith.
They say “I pray and pray”, or “I’m a good Christian, but my life is miserable, or these things are happening to me. Why did you fail me, God?”
The truth is, did you really bother to get to know him at all?
Because real religion is rooted in your very core, you have this God-shaped hole in your life, and the only key that will turn it is God himself.
That people try to stuff it with this counterfeit called religion.
It’s not going to work.
So if you call yourself a Christian, try reading the Bible.
But read it not in the way your parents told you to read it or not the way you assume other people read it but read it on a personal level.
Let those words come to life, and let those themes wrap around what you’re truly experiencing on a day-to-day basis.
You’d be surprised.
The same goes if you’re Muslim or Buddhist.
Because the act of reading is not just so you can get some merits or some credit so you can go to heaven.
Please understand that you cannot work your way to salvation.
It doesn’t work that way.
It says so in the Bible.
You cannot go to heaven just by being a good person out of your own efforts.
It doesn’t work that way.
Because if you think that whatever you do will somehow make you qualified to go to heaven and to be saved, you are robbing God of his power.
Why would you need Jesus to come down and die for your sins, and be the bridge between the father in the fallen world when you can save yourself by just being a “good person”?
It doesn’t make sense.
Salvation is by grace and grace alone.
We claim this grace through faith.
This is the earthquake that people will find them dream of themselves in an empty church and eventually can realize because this is the kind of seismic faith awakening that can lead to you truly discovering God in your life.
It may turn out that for all these decades, you’ve been praying to an empty idol that you yourself or your parents set up.
What does it mean to dream about a burning church?
Sometimes we let our attitudes harden to such a point that even when there is a golden opportunity in front of us that’s basically screaming for us to notice it, we can’t see it it’s as if we are blind.
The same goes with problems that can truly derail our lives, problems that urgently need our attention, we don’t see them.
And this is definitely true when it comes to 800-pound elephants in the middle of the room.
Your father is an alcoholic, your mother’s bipolar, your sister’s a nymphomaniac, your brother’s a thief, so on and so forth but nobody sees any of that because everybody’s perfect, an 800-pound elephant in the middle of the room.
But you can see the effects, you can see the beatings, the bruises, the sexually transmitted disease, the financial ruin, and you’re left wondering, “How can this be we’re good people”.
What kind of delusions do you suffer from?
We all have delusions, nobody is immune to this.
When you see a church or some other building that is typically used for religious services like a mosque or a Jewish Temple, go up in flames it indicates a potential spiritual awakening.
But for that to happen, a lot of your delusions have to give away, and a lot of the belief structures that you’ve set up to shelter your denial about certain hard truths in your life need to come down.
When you see everything go up in flames, it’s very easy to feel frightened, angry, sad, worried, confused, and a whole long list of negative emotions.
You should let those out.
Oftentimes you often go through a whole range of negative emotions, first you feel sad and you feel angry, then you feel powerless, hopeless, lost, then angry again.
Allow yourself to go through all of that, and drain it out.
But use the opportunity once you tap out of negative emotions, to see the brightness that is released by the fire and understand that oftentimes a great fire is needed to clear out the clutter.
It may well be the truth that you’ve been living your faith life in a sterile way.
You keep praying to an idol, you keep praying to a fake Jesus, you keep setting up these artificial idols in your life and then the crisis comes.
The same goes with believing that you’re in a perfect family, but then the crisis comes.
Do not miss out on the light that was released by that awful fire because maybe this is what you need for stronger faith.
A religion that truly makes sense to you personally and has a better grounding in reality.
Sure, it’s awful but eventually, just like a forest fire, there will be new growth.
To understand how this works.
Don’t focus so much on death, destruction, and pain.
Focus on what happens next.
What does it mean to see yourself as a church in a dream?
If you see yourself as the embodiment of a church and see people entering your doors and coming into your body, singing, rejoicing, worshiping, and reading scripture, there is a part of you that is waking up to your ability to be a channel of blessing.
There is an old Christian saying, “Be careful what you say and what you do around others because oftentimes, you are the only Bible they will ever get to read in their lives”.
The problem with religion is that a lot of people talk about Jesus but they spent very little time behaving like him and loving like him.
When you see yourself as the embodiment of a church, your subconscious is showing you that now was the time not to be a hypocrite, now’s the time not to be some sort of compartmentalized “believer”.
You know what a compartmentalized believer is, it is the person that pretty much does everything that everybody else does in the rest of the world for six days.
Saturday if you’re a Seventh Day Adventist or Jewish or Sunday comes, they all of a sudden, become pious they talk about Jesus or religion.
Once that day or those few hours end they go back to their old routine.
How do you think people will respond to that especially if you come to them and say, “Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?” Or “I’d like to talk to you about Jesus”.
Of course, they will be polite, but in the back of their heads, they would say “Why? So I can be like you”?
When you see yourself as the church, this is an invitation to analyze, realize and turn away from hypocrisy in your life.
It’s also much deeper in the sense that even if you’re not a believer what you do has value.
So focus on the intensity of the value that you produce.
You may be thinking “Why should I bother I’m just the guy who presses a button of the machine in the factory and just under the face in the crowd, who’s gonna care a barely make enough money to make ends meet as it is so what?”
That’s the problem.
You feel very valueless, you think you’re not being valued much, so you act like you’re valueless.
You’re caught in a feedback loop that you chose.
(I know it’s hard to accept)
Why not act like the most valuable employee?
Why not act like you’re a freelancer, this is the last project that you will ever get.
Pay close attention to the results.
Because ultimately, we are channels of blessings to each other.
And if we’re not feeling blessed, it’s because we didn’t allow ourselves to be a wide channel a blessing.
We’re always looking for an instant payoff.
So if you are an employee, and the factory is saying, “Well, if I come in one day, and I do 110%, it’s not like I’m going to get a race”.
That’s exactly the point because you are what you repeatedly do and if you have this one-time big-time mindset, there’s really no victory in that because you just had a good day.
Everybody has a good day.
But if you were able to have a good day, even though there are problems at home, or you’re not feeling all that well, but you still managed to produce 110% day in day out, month in month out, what do you think will happen?
People aren’t blind.
The universe definitely isn’t.
People are going to notice and you will get what’s coming to you because you are now sending out different vibrations to the universe than you used to before.
Do you see how this works?
Be a channel of blessing.
And once you are be a better channel a blessing.
I’m not just talking about being generous because it’s very easy to throw money at people.
Give yourself, because that’s how people can see, the universe or God in you.
As the old saying goes, “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care”.
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Dream interpretation and symbology have fascinated me ever since I read Freud’s classic, “The Interpretation of Dreams.” Ever since, I have explored Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Buddhist as well as Jungian psychological ideas about the meaning of dreams. Thanks for joining me in my exploration of the amazing intersection between our conscious waking world and the rich expanse of our subconscious-the home of our intuition, instincts, and hidden potential.