Once, my Bible College Roommate woke up frantic and covered in sweat. Concerned, I asked him whether he was ill. He explained that he dreamed of running away from an invisible enemy.
He was worried the dream spelled doom for him and wanted my opinion. Although I am well versed in the biblical meanings of dreams, I consulted the local pastor and my theology professor regarding the meaning of a running dream just to have a broader perspective.
I shared my findings with my friend, and inspired by this ordeal, I decided to share these meanings in this article.
So, let’s dive into the Biblical meaning of running a dream.
Running in the Bible was how messengers spread news in Israel. In the New Testament, it was associated with the athletic games held throughout the Roman Empire. Paul used it as a metaphor for endurance, obedience, and discipline in the faith (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). Some Christians apply these metaphors to dreams about running today. They also believe dreams about running are a call to ministry. It’s worth noting these interpretations are subjective and vary from person to person.
Join me in exploring the Biblical meaning of running in a dream. I’ll look at the symbolic meaning of running, specific dreams, and their interpretation.
Additionally, I’ll offer tips on what to do if you have such a dream. Let’s get started.
What is the symbolic meaning of running in the Bible?
The word “run” appears over 60 times in the King James Bible. Usually, it denotes the physical activity of running, but some Christians apply a spiritual meaning to it.
For them, the word implies pursuing God’s will, enduring persecution, fleeing temptations, or sharing the good news. Here are four symbolic meanings of running in the Bible.
Running in the Bible is associated with pursuing righteousness. Some Christians base this on the Psalmist’s declaration in Psalm 119:32: “I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding.”
Here, he expresses his desire for a Godly life. He uses the phrase “run in your (God’s) command” to denote this desire.
The Christian life is often compared to a race. We see this in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, where he encourages believers to “run in a way they’ll win the prize.” Paul used the image of athletes preparing for a race.
He commanded the Corinthians to emulate their discipline and focus on living out their faith (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).
Additionally, Paul taught believers to draw inspiration from those who’ve gone before them (Hebrews 12:1).
Some Christians borrow this metaphor and apply it to their lives. They equate life in Christ to a race and urge others to embrace discipline and commitment to succeed.
In their view, running a race to completion symbolizes faithfulness to God.
Fleeing sexual immorality
When addressing sexual sin, the Bible commands believers to flee (1 Corinthians 6:18). The imagery is of running away from temptation like you would from danger.
The idea is borne from Joseph’s story in Genesis 39:12: “She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.”
Here, Joseph was tempted to sleep with Potiphar’s wife. Instead of giving in, he chose to run away.
Some Christians use this as the appropriate response to sexual temptation. They believe running away (literally) is the Bible’s prescription when faced with this sin.
The Old Testament often used running in the context of messengers, perhaps alluding to the ancient method of using runners to spread news about war or disaster throughout a region.
An example is 2 Samuel 18:19-33, where two runners were sent to deliver news of Absalom’s death to King David. Some equate evangelizing to being a messenger and use running to denote obedience to Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:18-20.
Some also reference Habakkuk 2:2, where God commanded the prophet to record his revelation on a tablet so a messenger would run with it. They believe this also refers to evangelism.
What does it mean when you dream about running?
A dream about running has different meanings depending on its context. Some people suggest these dreams reflect your ambition for success, desire for independence, or fear of stagnation.
Most interpreters and psychologists believe running in your dreams reflects your desire to avoid something in the waking world. This could be responsibility, guilt, or conflict.
Additionally, some suggest you’re pursuing change in your life, perhaps a move to a new town or a career change.
Running a race is associated with ambition. Interpreters equate the effort during training and running to the discipline and drive required to succeed.
They believe such dreams affirm your desire for success and motivate you to overcome your limitations and achieve greatness. As mentioned, variations exist depending on your dream’s details.
Running alone is associated with a desire for independence. Interpreters associate the “runner’s high” with this desire. The “runner’s high” is the euphoric feeling runners feel as they crunch the miles during a run.
They believe this feeling reflects a desire to control your life and the supposed joy this independence would bring you. They encourage you to pursue this desire and not give up on it, believing it could bring you happiness and set you on a path of self-discovery.
Some people dream of running in place. This is associated with feeling stuck in life. Interpreters believe this dream results from the frustration of putting so much effort into something without seeing tangible results.
They encourage dreamers to evaluate their lives and make changes to propel them towards their goals. In most cases, these changes involve career switches or re-evaluating current relationships.
Reasons why you are dreaming about running
As alluded to earlier, dreaming about running reflects your emotional state in the waking world. It suggests you’re going through something or are working towards a goal.
Interpreters believe your mind projects these desires and emotions during sleep.
Here are four reasons you dream about running.
Anxiety and stress
Your dream about running could indicate you’re anxious or stressed about something. Interpreters believe this anxiety could result from a fear of disappointing those around you.
They think running in your dream means you want to avoid the implications of this perceived fear.
Uncertainty and confusion
Interpreters believe running reflects uncertainty about a decision you have to make. In their opinion, you’re faced with a difficult choice that will force you to abandon your comfort zone, but you’re afraid of what lies ahead.
According to them, running is your brain’s way of procrastinating this decision and reflecting your uncertainty.
Running from someone is associated with guilt over something you did in your past. Interpreters believe this dream reflects the fear that your sins are catching up with you. They advise you to make peace with your past and move on.
Optimism about the future
Running towards something suggests a determination to reach a goal or optimism about your future. Interpreters believe the Universe is urging you toward your goals.
They encourage you to remain disciplined and focused because you’ll soon be rewarded.
Biblical messages and the meaning of running in dreams
As mentioned, the Bible talks about running in the context of messengers and athletes. It uses it as a metaphor for the spiritual life and the discipline required to live rightly with God.
However, the Bible doesn’t interpret dreams about running. Some Christians rely on the symbolism associated with running to offer interpretations.
Here are three such meanings.
Persevere in the faith.
The Bible encourages Christians to run the race with endurance and persevere through challenges and persecution. This message is prevalent in Paul’s letters as he encouraged believers who faced persecution from the Roman government.
He taught that present suffering doesn’t compare to the future reward in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:18 says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Some believers equate dreaming about running a race to this call to endure hardships patiently and to trust in God’s deliverance.
The Bible compares the Devil to a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8) and urges believers to flee youthful temptations (2 Timothy 2:22).
Some Christians believe running in a dream is the Holy Spirit warning you against the Devil’s schemes. They encourage you to remain firm in your resolve to stay on the path of righteousness.
Call to Ministry
Some associate running in a dream with the call to ministry. They borrow from the ancient use of runners alluded to in the Old Testament and Paul’s exhortation to Christians to participate in the Great Commission (Romans 10:15) to offer this interpretation.
They believe such dreams should motivate you to go into the ministry.
Specific dreams about running and their Biblical meanings
It’s worth noting that the Bible doesn’t provide a model for interpreting dreams. However, some Christians rely on the symbolism attached to running to interpret specific dreams.
They also borrow from psychology’s understanding of dreams.
What does it mean to dream of running a race and winning?
Running a race and winning is associated with achieving your goals. The context helps interpreters understand your goals and how you can best reach them.
For instance, racing against co-workers is associated with career goals. Biblically, some Christians believe this is an encouragement to remain faithful.
What does it mean to dream of running with someone?
Running with someone is associated with your competitive spirit. Interpreters believe this dream reflects your desire to prove yourself in your chosen field. They warn that this desire could morph into comparison.
Some Christians believe this dream reflects the people around you as you go through life. They advise you to pay attention to other dream elements to know if you should maintain those relationships or end them.
What does my dream of running on the road mean?
Running on the road is associated with determination to achieve your goals. Interpreters believe this dream is the Universe affirming your choices. They suggest you’re on track to achieve your goals and encourage you to keep going.
What does my dream of running in fear mean?
Running in fear is associated with anxiety, fear, and stress. Interpreters believe this dream reflects your fear of an impending decision or helplessness about a situation.
They also think you’re facing ghosts from a past trauma. In such cases, they advise seeking professional help.
What do dreams about escaping and running away mean?
Escaping and running away is tied to avoiding something in your waking life. Interpreters believe this could be responsibility for your actions.
Others believe this dream points to repressed memories that you want to avoid. They advise making peace with your past so it stops meddling with your present.
What does running fast in a dream mean?
Running fast in a dream suggests you need to control your life. Interpreters believe you crave independence and autonomy over your life and think you’re speeding up to escape external control.
In contrast, some Christians believe this dream is a testament to your spiritual endurance because God is on your side.
The spiritual meaning of running in dreams
Dreams about running are popular. It’s no wonder they have significance among spiritualists. Here are three meanings attached to running in dreams:
- Escaping negativity: Some gurus believe this dream is a call to avoid people who drain your spiritual energy or influence you negatively.
- Pursue spirituality: Some believe this dream reflects your desire to pursue enlightenment. They advise you to obey the call and prepare for the challenges ahead.
- A search for answers: Some equate running to the disciplined pursuit of answers about life. They invite you to connect with a higher power, believing that’s where your answers lie.
Meaning and symbolism of running in different cultures
Running among the Japanese is associated with endurance, discipline, and teamwork. This is best portrayed in the Ekiden relay. This is a long-distance race where contestants pass a sash(Tasuki) to their teammates at various locations.
This race was inspired by couriers in the Edo period who delivered messages from Tokyo to Kyoto. These couriers stopped at stations for rest and food and passed the message to other runners who continued the journey.
Today, Ekiden is a sport believed to inspire camaraderie and harmony among participants.
The Greeks are famous for the Olympic games. Historians believe the first games were held in 776 BCE and featured one sport – a sprint.
These games were held in honor of Zeus, and some suggested they were founded by the demi-god Hercules. As a side note, the winner of the 776 BC Olympic games, according to historical records, was Coroebus of Elis.
Running among the Mayans was their method of delivering messages. Like the Japanese, the Mayans had a courier system spanning hundreds of kilometers with stops every six kilometers.
A courier ran the six kilometers before passing the message to the next runner. Historians believed this system allowed messengers to travel up to 300 kilometers daily.
Should I be worried if I keep dreaming about running?
There’s no cause to worry if you keep dreaming about running. However, some dreams are disturbing and may cause you to seek an interpretation.
Record these dreams, pray for insight, and wait on the Lord. Additionally, you could consult a pastor or mature Christian.
Remember, dreams do not determine your destiny; God does. Therefore, rest on his promise to help you when you’re in need (Isaiah 41:14).
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.