Living La Vida Make-believe-a

January 13, 2015

If we’re honest with ourselves, we’re all just making our way through this thing called life playing make-believe.  (Points to you if you just picked up the Prince song reference without even thinking about it.  Double points if you also picked up on the early 1960s love song reference.)

Make-believe is awesome when you’re a seven-year-old kid pretending to be a homeboy (while your mama is doubled over laughing) …

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… or when you’re an eight-year-old girl who’s pretending to be Princess Leia, ready to fight all forces of darkness …

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… or when you’re a five-year-old boy in your Protect The World stance as a Power Ranger.

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Make-believe can even be fun as an adult when you go to a party dressed as your best friend’s cat or Cyndi Lauper or Andre the Giant (I am admitting to exactly none of those).

But living la vida make-believe-a only gets us so far.  There comes a point when the only serious progress we can make in this life is when we are ready to look at ourselves for who we really are and for what we have really done (or left undone) and for what has to come in order for the future to be a place worthy of our dreams.  There comes a time when in order for us to make ourselves believe in what can be, we have to learn from – and then let go of – what has been.

When we make-believe that we can go on doing the same things that we’ve been doing and yet somehow get a different result, we are deluding ourselves.

When we work out once a week and eat pretty much what we’ve always eaten and yet think that we’re going to lose weight, become healthier, achieve our fitness goals …

When we believe that we can keep finding the worst in others and somehow end up finding or being the best in ourselves …

When we continue to nag or criticize our spouse and yet believe that we’re making our marriage stronger, healthier, better …

When we continue to spend more than we make and somehow think we’ll wake up one day out of debt and with all our money worries solved …

When we don’t devote ourselves to working harder or smarter and yet we think we’ll get better grades at school or better reviews at work anyway …

When we spend no time reading God’s Word and virtually no time in prayer and yet expect  to grow spiritually …

When we use words to tear down our kids and still believe that they will use their own words only for good and only lovingly …

When we water our souls only with what is of this world and surround ourselves with people who do the same and yet somehow expect to feel fulfilled and think we can pour goodness into everything and everyone around us …

When we do the bad things we do and just call them ‘mistakes’ and refuse to acknowledge our own sin (often while highlighting others’) and think our lives will ever change for the better …

we are playing a dangerous version of Make Believe, one where we can never win.

But if we’re willing to remove the masks we wear when we look at ourselves in the mirror … and if we’ll stop hiding behind the lies we tell ourselves and others … and if we’ll be honest with ourselves – even though it hurts – not only about what attitudes / thoughts / words / behaviors have hindered us in the past that we need to leave behind but also about which ones we need to adopt as we go forward in order to Live In the Real World and not any longer in the Land of Make Believe — and then if we actually put those actions into place — then we might see some of the changes in our lives – and therefore in the lives of those we influence – that we have made believe in the past were happening anyway.

Do you see that?  The dreams that we have deluded ourselves into believing will just spontaneously happen when we are living la vida make-believe-a can actually become reality if we just take off the masks and stop the self-delusions and denials … and then put steps in place to make our ideal reality happen.

(I feel like those last couple of sentences sound like something from a self-help seminar, but since I’m rather allergic to those whole events as well as to most of the wording and pithy phrases that come from them, you can be sure I don’t mean anything ever to come off with that vibe.)

The bottom line is that if you want to live in the Land of Make-Believe, try going to a costume party dressed as Marvin the Martian or Mr. T.

But to live in the Land of Reality … or the Land of What-Could-Be-If-Your-Actions-Match-Your-Dreams (not a very catchy title, is it?!) … leave the masks and the costumes at home and get to work.

One more thing:  remember to put on your armor.  (Ephesians 6:10-20)  It’s hard to get very far without it.

Godspeed.

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