When expectations about what life “ought to be” go unmet for extended periods of time, our hearts will want to drift into fantasy. It can happen for several reasons.
Longstanding bouts with tough circumstances occur, such as:
- a debilitating illness
- family issues
- sexual frustration
- money problems
- marital struggles
- general discontent
We’ll see some other person’s life and imagine that if we had what they have, then we wouldn’t feel the way we do. If we only lived there, not here, then we would be a different person. If my father would only . . . if my spouse would finally . . . if God would simply . . . then all would be well.
This thinking is bunk. Here’s why.
Are You a Victim of Fantasy?
We are not the victims of life we think we are. We are sinners God has chosen by grace to mold into His image. Think about it:
- Hasn’t the Lord promised to care for our needs?
- And if He chooses to wait to do so, and to cause us to wait to receive them, might He have a reason?
Because He is God, He has the prerogative to determine what’s best for us— including keeping from us what we really, really want— if He deems it wise.
Fantasy, on the other hand, dwells on lies. With very few exceptions, tough circumstances simply reveal the holes in our hearts, not the holes in our lives. Situations only reveal the areas where we need to grow.
Though it sounds strange, remember that even Jesus, “although He was a Son . . . learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5: 8). Don’t get sidetracked with the difficult theology embedded in that verse. The bottom line is that if the Son of God learned obedience through suffering—through betrayal, heartache, temptation, and loneliness—why would it be any different for us?
If Jesus, of all people, could not avoid it, we certainly will not.
Even if we were in other circumstances, we’re still just us. That’s the problem. When we chase our fantasy about life somewhere over the rainbow, we discover the yellow brick road only takes us to another dead end in the labyrinth.
We find ourselves still trapped by our real problem—a discontented heart.
How to Get Away from Fantasy Island
The problem isn’t our meager circumstance as much as it is our hearts’ refusal to trust in God’s sovereignty. Two steps can help:
- Remember the truth about fantasy. Fantasy is a longing to be out of the will of God. When we imagine another reality for ourselves, we set our minds on our interests and not on God’s. (As if we could ever imagine a reality that’s better for us than God can.)
- Rediscover the way of obedience. When we find ourselves feeling marooned on Fantasy Island with no way off, we need to do all we can to discover the way of obedience. Then we take it, regardless of the cost, and wait there for God.
Tell me what you think: How do you deal with fantasy when it comes? To leave a comment, just click here.