Suffocation dreams can be quite disturbing. You may wake up gasping for air, feeling anxious and unsettled. As frightening as these nightmares are, they can provide insight into spiritual and emotional issues. By examining scripture, we can uncover the meaning behind suffocation dreams and receive comfort through God’s word.
In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore the biblical significance of suffocation dreams, provide key takeaways, and reveal how God desires to bring us peace in the midst of such difficult dreams.
Dreams have long fascinated humans. We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, and during that time our minds create intricate stories and imagery in the dream world. Researchers still do not completely understand the purpose and origin of dreams, but one thing is clear from scripture: God can and does use dreams to communicate important messages to His people.
In ancient cultures outside of Israel, dreams were given divine status. But in the Bible, dreams are not equated with God’s perfect law and prophets. At the same time, there are over 200 references to dreams in the Bible. God chose at times to reveal His will through dreams to Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, and others.
While we must use discernment, because dreams can come from three sources – God, our own soul, and demonic influence – paying attention to revelatory dreams is biblical. As Joel 2:28 says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”
Suffocation dreams, specifically, arise from anxiety. They can represent feeling unable to breathe – emotionally, spiritually, or psychologically. Through scripture, we can identify root causes for this perceived suffocation. By recognizing the origins of suffocation dreams, we can take steps to alleviate the anxiety and fear they expose. With God’s truth, we can rest in His comfort and promises.
- Suffocation dreams reveal we are experiencing anxiety, stress, and feelings of being overwhelmed. God wants us to cast these cares upon Him.
- Occult practices like divination and witchcraft can open us up to demonic torment, including bad dreams. We must avoid these spiritually dangerous practices.
- God may use dreams to reveal sin issues we need to confess and repent of, or to call us into deeper relationship with Him.
- Through faith in Christ, we never need to be enslaved to fear. We have power and protection in Jesus’ name.
- The Holy Spirit living within believers offers constant comfort, hope, freedom and rest.
Symbolic Meanings Behind Suffocation Dreams
Let’s explore some of the symbolic meanings that may underlie dreams about suffocation:
1. Anxiety and Stress
Most likely, if you are dreaming about suffocation, you are experiencing high levels of anxiety about a situation in your life. Symbols of suffocation in dreams – like drowning in an ocean, being buried alive in sand, or feeling the life squeezed out of you – all point to being overwhelmed with stress and responsibilities.
Maybe you have taken on too many obligations and feel like you can barely stay afloat. Or you may feel burdened with financial, work, or relationship stressors that leave you gasping for a breath of relief. Suffocation dreams reveal just how heavily the weight of life’s challenges is bearing down on you.
But Psalm 55:22 offers beautiful encouragement, reminding us to release our anxious thoughts to the Lord: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” If you are shaken by suffocation nightmares, turn first to God and lay your worries down at His feet. He will lift the burden from your shoulders.
2. Helplessness and Powerlessness
Dreams of suffocation may also expose feelings of helplessness. In the dream state, you physically long to draw breath but cannot. This reflects how helpless you may feel to change negative circumstances that seem out of control in your waking life.
A job loss, financial crisis, destructive relationship, or serious illness can leave us feeling powerless. Even when things happen that are no one’s fault, we still struggle feeling helpless. Know that this is a deception – because God is always in control, and we always have access to His power.
As Jude 1:2 says, “Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.” Lean into God’s plentiful grace and ability. Bring Him your feelings of helplessness in prayer. Ask for His supernatural peace and reminders of His constant presence.
3. Fear and Lack of Trust
At their core, suffocation dreams reveal fear and difficulty trusting God. When we lose perspective and give fear too much room in our minds, it strangles out our faith. Fear restricts and constricts. Suffocation symbolizes living in fear instead of freedom.
Second Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” We never have to accept a mindset of fear. The Holy Spirit empowers us with constant love that casts out all tormenting fears. Ask Him to help you trust His good plans and intentions for your life.
Proclaim God’s promises about His peace and protection. “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:19
4. Spiritual Attack
Occasionally, suffocation dreams can also indicate spiritual attack from demonic sources. Sleep paralysis accompanied by suffocation and dark figures points to demonic oppression. But we have amazing power and authority in Jesus’ name to banish any evil spirits who try to torment us!
If you suspect demonic activity related to your nightmares, take time to inspect your spiritual life. Have you engaged in any activities the Bible warns against, like tarot cards, séances, witchcraft, or astrology? These give demons legal access.
Renounce and repent of any occult practices or objects you have allowed into your home or mind. Then simply tell any oppressing spirits aloud to leave in Jesus’ name. Luke 10:19 promises, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy.” You have been given power from on high over any harassment.
5. Sin Issues Needing Confession
Dreams can also be revelatory, exposing sin issues we need to confess and turn from. Asphyxiation dreams may reflect sins that are suffocating our connection to God.
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any ways you have grieved God through your choices, lifestyle, or words. Are you holding onto bitterness? Gossip? Impurity? Deception? Pride and arrogance? These choke out vibrant fellowship with God.
First John 1:9 assures us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Bring any confessed sins immediately to the Lord so your relationship with Him is refreshed and restored.
6. Need to Draw Near to God
At their root, suffocation dreams reveal our deep spiritual need for God. They show our desperate need for His breath of life and comfort.
If these disturbing dreams have recurred, recognize it as the Lord calling you to Himself. He desires a closer relationship with you. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Run to Him immediately when you feel overwhelmed or anxious.
God’s presence offers true refuge and rest. As Psalm 31:20 says, “You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.” Call out to Him in prayer and bask in His presence daily.
Finding Freedom From Fear
Whether your suffocation nightmares stem from anxiety, helplessness, fear, spiritual attack, sin, or the need to draw near to God – Jesus offers freedom! Here are some keys to finding freedom from fear:
1. Recognize you have authority in Christ to banish fear.
Scripture makes it clear that as believers we have been given spiritual authority over evil, harmful spirits of fear.
When Jesus sent out his disciples in Luke 10, he gave them power over demonic spirits, including authority to trample snakes. Then in Luke 10:19 he tells them, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
This applies to us today – we have been given delegated authority from Jesus over satanic powers, including spirits of fear.
Speak this truth aloud: “I have authority in Jesus’ name over all harmful demonic spirits.” Then specifically name a spirit of fear, anxiety or suffocation, and command it to leave.
2. Submit your mind fully to God.
We also overcome fear by submitting our minds wholly to God’s truth and lordship.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Ask the Holy Spirit to control your thoughts and reveal any unhelpful thinking patterns that feed fear. The battle truly starts in our minds. Then intentionally fix your focus on God’s word and truth which overcomes strongholds.
3. Lean into perfect love which casts out fear.
The constant, perfect love of Goddispels all tormenting fears.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
Thank Jesus that He freely offers you His all-powerful love moment by moment. Let His love wash through every corner of your mind like a cleansing flood, washing away debris of fear and suffocation.
4. Put your hope and trust fully in God’s protection and goodness.
Believing God’s promises of His complete power and desire to protect us crushes fear.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3
“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
Speak these promises aloud daily until your heart overflows with confidence in His care. God is your rock and refuge from every assault of fear.
5. Permeate your atmosphere with worship and God’s presence.
Create an atmosphere permeated with comfort through worship. Play worship music, sing praises, and call on the Holy Spirit to fill your home with His manifest presence. This builds faith and chases away the darkness.
“But you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:3
6. Immerse yourself in God’s Word continuously.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
7. Pray in the Spirit and build your faith in God’s promises.
Praying in the Spirit and praying scripture out loud bolsters your faith and fortifies your mind against fear’s incursions.
Cultivate constant conversation with the Holy Spirit. Let His prayers well up within and overflow out your mouth, strengthening your inner man.
8. Keep your mind set fully on Christ and things above.
Train your focus to remain steadfast on Jesus, not allowing thoughts of fear or suffocation to distract you.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3
9. Do not allow the enemy to intimidate you.
The enemy knows our areas vulnerable to fear, but we must not let him intimidate us. God’s children have been made the head, not the tail! (Deut 28:13) You have supernatural blood-bought authority from Christ. Do not back down or cower in front of these threats from the enemy.
James 4:7 again reminds us, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Take confident authority in the name and power of Jesus and do not allow yourself to be shaken.
10. Stay in a place of rest through trust and thanksgiving.
Keep yourself in a place of trust, rest, and thanksgiving. From this place of spiritual rest, fear and suffocation cannot overpower you.
“Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” Hebrews 4:11
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4
As you fill your mind with scripture, praise, and thankfulness, you nourish your spirit with nutrients that leave no vacancy for choking fear.
The Holy Spirit’s Comfort and Help
One key to freedom from suffocation dreams is developing sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and His presence. The Spirit lives within us to be our Comforter, Helper, Teacher, and Guide each day. As we learn to recognize His promptings, we experience supernatural liberation from fear.
Jesus explains the Holy Spirit’s ministry in John 14:26 – “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
The Spirit teaches us, reminds us of truth, and guides us continually into freedom from fear. As you read God’s Word, ask the Holy Spirit for revelation of how specific verses apply to your life and for wisdom to walk in that truth.
Romans 8:15 assures us that “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.” Be sensitive to the Spirit’s promptings guiding you to take authority over any spirit of slavery or fear. Ask Him to release greater freedom and boldness within you.
Cry out for the Holy Spirit’s supernatural intervention when you feel overwhelmed or anxious. Ask Him to manifest His powerful presence in your mind. He offers divine comfort, counsel, and supernatural peace that guards our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6-7).
Stay continually filled with and tuned to the Spirit. Let Him saturate your atmosphere with His river of gladness and joy. As you learn to rely on the Spirit’s help, suffocating fear cannot restrain you. Walk in the confidence, power, and self-control He provides each day.
Biblical Examples of Dreams
Let’s examine a few examples of revelatory or prophetic dreams recorded in scripture. These passages demonstrate how God can speak through dreams and visions. Studying these accounts can help us interpret the spiritual significance of our own dreams.
Joseph (Genesis 37:5-11)
As a young man, Joseph had two significant dreams from God revealing his future leadership. In the first, his sheaf of grain stood upright while his brothers’ sheaves bowed down. In the second, the sun, moon and eleven stars bowed down to him.
These prophetic dreams foretold how Joseph’s family would one day honor and depend upon him during a famine in Egypt after he became a ruler there by Pharaoh’s appointment. But initially, his brothers grew jealous and hated him because of the dreams.
This shows that dreams from God can sometimes ignite spiritual warfare and opposition from the enemy. But God protected Joseph until the divinely ordained day when his dreams were fulfilled.
King Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream (Daniel 2)
King Nebuchadnezzar had an alarming dream about an enormous statue made of various materials which foretold the rising and falling of future kingdoms. When he demanded his astrologers and magicians interpret the dream, only Daniel could interpret it correctly by God’s revelation.
This dream, like other dreams and visions throughout Daniel, strengthened the exiled Jews’ faith by proving God alone knows and controls the future. God used this dream to elevate Daniel to leadership in Babylon while accomplishing His sovereign plans.
Joseph’s Dreams (Matthew 1:20, 2:13)
In the New Testament, Joseph was guided on two occasions by powerful dreams. First, an angel appeared to him in a dream telling him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife. Later he was warned in a dream to flee to Egypt with Jesus to escape Herod’s massacre of infants in Bethlehem. Through these strategic dreams, God protected Jesus’ young life.
These instances show God sending timely messages through dreams in order to guide His people into safety and righteousness. For Joseph, the dreams provided clarity and direction in the face of uncertainty.
Cornelius’ Vision (Acts 10)
The apostle Peter was staying in Joppa when God gave a vision to a Roman centurion named Cornelius who lived in Caesarea. In the vision, an angel directed Cornelius to send for Peter.
Meanwhile Peter fell into a trance and saw a vision of a large sheet filled with animals, including those considered unclean like pigs. A voice told Peter to “kill and eat”. When Peter refused, the voice said “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
This vision prepared Peter for his visit to Cornelius’ home to preach the gospel. Peter understood the meaning that God desired Gentiles like Cornelius included in the church. dreams and visions at times guide God’s people into new spiritual understanding in order to advance His Kingdom plans.
In closing, suffocation dreams are unsettling, but by God’s grace they can propel us into a deeper relationship with Him. While these nightmares may arise from anxiety, fear, helplessness, sin, or spiritual attack – Jesus offers total freedom and rest.
The Holy Spirit living within us provides constant comfort, counsel, power, self-control, and direction. As we fill our minds with God’s living Word, saturate our atmosphere with worship, and cultivate sensitivity to the Spirit’s voice – chains of fear are broken. We discover the abundant life Jesus purchased for us.
Even darkness is light to the Lord. Allow Him to reveal any issue causing suffocation dreams so it can be confronted and healed by His light. He faithfully promises in Psalm 91:5, “You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day.” God watches over you and breathing in sync with His Spirit brings freedom.
The enemy aims to steal our peace, but take heart! Jesus has overcome the world and its fear. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Meditate on this promise from the One who conquered death and suffering so we can live unafraid.
No matter the burden weighing on your soul, the answer is found in drawing close to the Father. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Allow these suffocation nightmares to drive you into His arms of refuge and comfort. He promises you can lie down and sleep in peace. (Psalm 4:8)
May God grant you freedom from all anxiety and torment. May your mind be guarded in perfect peace as you fix your eyes on Jesus. And may every restless night lead you deeper into the security of your Father’s hands. He faithfully keeps those who dwell in His presence. The Spirit’s breath within you is greater than any force of darkness. Rest confidently in God’s deliverance and unending supply of grace.