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May 5, 2010 / beidson

The Folly of Fantasy: What Daydreaming Reveals About the Deceitfulness of Our Hearts

I have to be honest: I daydream a lot.  And to be painfully honest, it’s mostly about myself, that is, I’m usually the star.  This has been a constant temptation for me, and I am ashamed to say that it’s in my head because, well, it’s in my heart.

Fantasies aren’t always sexual.  But you know that, right?  But just to be clear.  So that you can pull yourself into this post, understand that by “fantasy” I mean an imaginary reality (isn’t that a contradiction in terms).  To be more accurate (and less nonsensical), it is an imagination unrestricted by reality.  And I do mean to leave out any supernatural or sci-fi element, because I’m broadly referring to the stuff that goes on in your head while you should be doing other things (and not to the things that happen in outer space in the distant future).

I’ll get to my point.  The fact that I often daydream about things that aren’t realistic betrays my lustful, craving heart, which longs to know what God knows so that I can do what only God can do.  I guess daydreams can be good.  Sure.  You can daydream about saving your family from a burning car, or giving a speech that brings thousands to tears and moves masses into action.  Or even less open to the accusation of arrogance, you could imagine a day when a close relative comes to know Jesus.  Okay.  But these are at least somewhat realistic, considering of course the power of God’s grace to do the impossible, namely, raise the dead (talk about imagination unrestricted by reality).

But fools are led astray by passions they are unable to rein in.  Fantasy is the stuff of fools because fantasy is wandering, albeit only in the head.  I am acting like a fool when I dream about how great I am or what reality would be like if such and such were true about myself or my life.  Daydreaming reveals cravings in my heart, for better and for worse, and many times, they are for the worse.  My heart likes to think things about myself that simply are not true.

Pay attention to yourself when your mind wanders (again, nonsensical–can you do these at the same time?).  When you catch yourself rushing out of a burning building with 7 small children, 3 cats, a fish, and your beautiful wife–stop and ask yourself, “What?!”  Or better yet, “Why?”  Why did your heart go there?  And this is a good example.  We often wander off onto not-so-heroic paths, paths we might be embarrassed to mention, like when you dream you are America’s next American Idol, or are voted “How-Could-We-Not-See-He-Was-Destined-For-Greatness” at your 20 year reunion.  Pay attention to the details of your carefully crafted script.  Is it any wonder you got the leading role?

Our hearts are dead wrong a lot of the time.  Not a day goes by that I don’t realize how utterly helpless I would be if the Holy Spirit did not lead me into truth, if God’s Word was not available to me, for my pleasure and instruction and transformation.  My heart is hopelessly deceitful.  It tries so hard to trick me.  I fight myself, literally.  I get angry at my heart.  “Why!!!! Livin’ On a Prayer for the fourth time today!”  I need Jesus, who is Wisdom.  He conquers demons and darkness, and yes, he conquers daydreams too.  I do dream of the day he returns to restore my crooked heart and decaying world, and that is good to dream about.  I just pray he gets me off the stage of my heart before I declare myself an idol.  Clearly, it would be folly to dream a dream so dumb.

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