When we were children and the world was too rough on us, we moved the drama of our lives to a stage within our minds. There we acted out our everyday events and relationships in a way that enhanced the self-image we were building. It was the beautiful land of make-believe where hurts and disappointments, failures and unhappy incidents disappeared with a wave of our magic wand. In our dream version we always emerged triumphant, conqueror of all we surveyed. We did not realize that we were rejecting ourselves as we were building false images.
But when we grow up, we are to put away childish things -- tuck them away with our teddy bear and rubber duck. How many of us really do, however? Instead, we find a seemingly more adult form of fantasy. We watch soap operas; devour novels and love stories; fill our leisure time with television comedies, dramas, sports; join those religious groups that present God as we need Him to be; live vicariously in the sordid world by gossiping about those who do; brag; tell tall tales; exaggerate; lie; become enamored with celebrities; spend time daydreaming. (Daydreaming is withdrawing into a fantasy world to feed our self-image -- stroking it, soothing it, consoling it; giving it in fantasy what it does not have in reality.)
Why all the fuss? Because fantasizing is building false images that separate us from God, those living close to us, reality. It stunts our emotional growth and this prevents us from reaching both human and spiritual maturity. "Fantasy bodes ill for any truth knowing and people must be willing to know their own truth if they are to become mature adults." (Gail Sheehy) If we continue to live in a world of make-believe we will never come to grips with our problems because we dream them away. We never face our sin because we blame others and soothe ourselves. Daydreaming our lives away leaves us immature, self-centered, afraid, childish, and in darkness. We have a cloudy eye.
"The lamp of your body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness."
Matthew 6: 22, 23
A cloudy eye acts as a sentry, protector of the image of ourselves we have chosen and interprets all events and conversations that upset us in fantasy form. We resolve our problems by blaming others -- giving them false motives, criticizing, judging, ridiculing; anything that gives us peace about ourselves. Or we build giant sand castles filled with spectacular accomplishments that prove how great we are, worthy to be loved and admired. We may even fantasize our death to punish those who do not recognize how beautiful a person we "really" are. And it is here in the world of fantasy that lust has its birth! We even build God into what we need Him to be. We cannot know God until we are willing and able to experience Him as He would reveal Himself to us, not as we have decided He must be. Today's emphasis on a God of love and mercy minus a God of righteousness, wrath, and judgment is the result. The arrogant mouths speaking across the land today proclaiming God, are proclaiming an idol of their own making. They are fantasizing.
One last thought. Daydreaming prevents us from developing a personal identity -- discovering in reality and truth who we are, where we are going, what our attainable goals are. If we resolve conflicts in dreams we never know our true measure as a human being for this is only uncovered as we act and react in human relationships, and allow the Holy Spirit to judge our behavior and thoughts through the Word.
Creating false images is inhibiting and detrimental for adults, destructive and separating for marriage partners and friends, and devastating and evil for Christians. Imagine that!