Reality

Sep16

I have a confession to make. I am a hopeless daydreamer. Again and again I withdraw to worlds of my own making, even though I know I should stay in this one. Each time, I struggle to drag my unwilling mind back into reality, resolving to keep my head out of the clouds and my feet planted firmly on the ground. But soon I find myself dreaming again. Back and forth it goes. And I grow weary of the fight.

And then I read something that shocks me.

“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth…”

And I begin to understand. I was never meant to keep my head out of the clouds; that’s exactly where I am meant to be. Not the misty dreams of my own creation, but the Reality that exists in the heavenly, spiritual realms.

My mistake was in thinking that reality lay in this world around me; the world I can see and hear and touch. But that’s just small “r” reality. The truest Reality is the spiritual world that exists just beyond the reach of my senses. The Reality of a spiritual kingdom, of battles raging, of a Hero of valor and goodness, an ending so happy and beautiful that it is beyond even MY wildest dreams—and that’s saying a lot!

And in this realization—in this Reality—I find the truest and most noble employment for my imagination. God invites me with a sparkle in His eye—“Try, just try to imagine what My Reality is. Give it your best shot. Make it as glorious as you can. Even then you will fall short.”

And you would think that with such an offer, such a worthy challenge, such an opportunity to explore undiscovered depths of truth and beauty, that my mind would be happily engaged in Reality and never long for fiction again. But still I find myself slipping back into fantasy. And I am disappointed. And I wonder why. But deep down I know.

In my dreams I am in control. I am the central character of the story. And I am amazing. Witty, calm, captivating, brave—the very best version of me I can muster.

But that’s not Reality. It isn’t even small “r” reality, although I sometimes live like it is. I often choose a self-centered perspective, grabbing and grasping for control, desperately trying to present a me to the world that “has it all together”.

But big “R” Reality brings me face-to-face with Truth—that I am a very small, broken part of a story which I do not control—and I am disillusioned and I am overwhelmed. And it turns out I am woefully unprepared for Reality.

But then a glimmer of understanding hovers at the edge of my mind, and although I grasp it imperfectly the paradox leaves me breathless. By becoming nothing, I begin the process of becoming far more than I ever dared hope I could be. By giving up all control I receive the freedom to write a few small lines of my own into this cosmic drama. Only when I am stripped of my illusions can I see my deepest, most beautiful dreams fulfilled.

And so I am left with this. My fondest dreams are self-deception. The reality of this world is mere illusion. Invisible things are the most Real. And that Reality far exceeds anything I could ever imagine. And so, when I run hard after Reality with all that is in me, I receive my dreams back again.

 

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Better Than Make-Believe

Feb2I have always been a romantic. From basically forever I have loved tales of valor, daring, and adventure; knights in shining armor, damsels in distress, heroic deeds and fire-breathing villains. And that’s why I sat up and took notice a few weeks ago when I read these verses in Colossians:

“…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:12–14)

How can it be that I was the object of a King’s quest; a daring rescue from the Land of Darkness and all this time I didn’t know about it? Or at least I never saw it in that light before. And not only was I rescued from unspeakable evil, I was embraced into a new Kingdom—one of forgiveness, freedom and light. This is the stuff fairy tales are made of, except it’s real!

Intrigued, I looked up these verses in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, to see what they had to add. This Kingdom, this inheritance, this transfer of citizenship is not in some distant time and place. It is right here and now. The Greek word “metestesen” (translated as transfer)  “…was used in secular literature in reference to removing persons from one country and settling them as colonists and citizens in another country. It might be rendered ‘reestablished’.” But unlike the pilgrims settling the New World, the EBC went on out point out that this Kingdom of Light, “…is not an area that may be designated on a map; it is the soverign rule of the Lord Christ over human hearts.”

And so we have—in uncomfortable co-existence—two kingdoms side-by-side, mixing and mingling, bitterly at odds. While we go about our day-to-day lives a battle rages all around us. We are, in truth, in the most epic tale of good versus evil ever told. And it isn’t make-believe. And we often miss it. How dangerous to be wandering around on the front lines and be oblivious to the fact that there is a battle going on!

I’ve been pondering this truth now for a few weeks and it’s hard to get my mind around it. Although I still live here physically, I am not a citizen of this world system. Its ways should be foreign to me, and mine to it. I am a settler taming wild frontiers and claiming new ground. I am a warrior princess in a kingdom at war with a bitter enemy bent on destroying it.

If I really believed this, if I really lived it out on a day-to-day basis, how different would my life look? I certainly should be living in a way that sets me apart from those who have not yet come into the Kingdom of Light. I should look radically different to them. My ways should puzzle them. My priorities, goals, and motivations ought to stand out in stark contrast.

Unfortunately, most of the time I blend right in. And what’s worse, I’m comfortable that way.

What do you think? What does being a foreigner in this world, a citizen of a new Kingdom, mean to you? How do you keep this fact in the forefront of your mind as you go about every-day life?

Since this is a blog, we can be much more interactive. Please feel free to comment on anything I write; I would love your feedback!