Do you ever have dreams located in some past area of your life -- a school, a job, somewhere you used to spend a lot of time?
I don't have them very often, but every now and then I'll dream about being a student again in my old high school. Last night I had one. Normally these dreams are connected with feeling alienated and rejected. Those feelings characterized a lot of my actual school experience, so that's not too surprising.
This most recent dream was different. For the first time I can ever remember, last night I had a "school" dream about performance anxiety.
If I remember correctly, I had two separate tests on the same day, and I didn't feel prepared for either one of them. In the second test I had zero idea how to attack any of the questions -- none of them made a speck of sense to me. (Because it was a dream, it's fully possible that the questions literally made no sense, but my dream-self thought it was HER problem, not the test.)
Actually, now I think about it, the teacher administering that test gave us crayons to write our answers with and pranced around the room singing, like a lunatic. I'm not even sure I was a student in high school, it might have been a reversion to elementary school. Not that I ever remember using a crayon to take a test, even in elementary school!
I find the specific details never matter in dreams as much as the emotional context. This is not about school anxiety, even though returning to school is in my near future. Academic work doesn't scare me, I've always been good at that. (No worries, to make up for it I'm terrible at a whole lot of skills that you need to not make a mess of life in general.)
This dream is about feeling utterly lost NOW, in the work I'm trying to do. I want so badly to expand my reach as a writer, to build a career on this skill, and I feel like I don't at all know how to do it. Episodes like last week's freakout over money just make me feel more wobbly and uncertain.
I've got nothing to do but keep working, keep trying things, keep putting words together. Keep connecting with people. Keep praying and processing what I feel and experience with God my Father. Keep asking him for guidance and opportunities.
Even if I do feel like an unprepared student writing a test with crayon here, that doesn't mean I ought to stop. Lots of wonderful artists started out with crayon and later learned to use paints, pastels, pens. Some even keep making extraordinary art with crayons.
Feeling clueless isn't a sign to stop. It's a sign to keep learning.