Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dreams vs. Reality or The Sin of Self Justification

Famed British comedian and stage magician Tommy Cooper said, "Last night I dreamed I ate a ten-pound marshmallow, and when I woke up the pillow was gone." While that is a humorous thought, and one that made me crack more than one smile, it illustrates a fundamental truth about humanity and how our minds work. Our dreams are made up of elements of reality, parsed together in a meaningful way, at least for our unconscious. It's only when we wake up that the dream seems strange. Our dreams will also try to cover up an unhappy truth by offering up a substitute (in this case, a marshmallow) to ease our state of mind. I mean, if I had woken up and found that my pillow was gone, I would certainly appreciate my brain trying to make it into a pleasant experience *laugh*.

In our own lives, we can create day dreams, or "fantasies" if you will, to cover up a truth we don't wish to face. It is most often because of a sin we have committed. A man who is committing adultery will promise his mistress that "he will leave his wife", inserting the caveat of "maybe" afterwords. He rationalizes that he can't predict the future, and that it could happen. He creates an unrealistic potential that he has no true intention of keeping. The mistress, on the other hand, knows she is doing something wrong. She either masks her guilt by saying that "love conquers all", and that he will leave his wife, even if she knows he never would take such a giant leap for an "on the side" girl like her. She creates the non-reality based dream of a perfect life started in sin.

Such dreams can eat us up inside,much to the detriment of our families, friends, and most importantly, ourselves. It erodes at our character, at our conscious, and our spiritual walk.
A cheat can rationalize that the end result of no longer being in debt, or acing a test, will justify the means.
Teens, such as myself, will justify rebellion or lashing out as just a "phase", and that we'll get over it. OR, we say it's someone else's fault, such as the parent's. We deflect and re-appropriate blame, so as to make ourselves feel better. We make our sin into a marshmallow, when in reality, we're just suffocating ourselves with our own pillow, aka. our own mistakes.
The parents may be less than first rate, and much blame to bear, but it's your own choice as to how you react.

For me, my reactions towards my dad are like that. I try to deflect, to justify, and to put off any responsibility for my own actions by pointing to his flaws, mistakes, and various wounds he's inflicted upon my family.
It's not up to me though, to change him. I CAN'T change him, and that's a hard fact to swallow. VERY hard. I'm a "fixer". I sit on my white steed and ride to the rescue of anyone and everyone. At times it's my siblings when I see dad reacting towards them in a way that scarred me. At times it's when a friend is in need of comforting because of this messed up world we live in.
It doesn't matter.
What I need to realize is that God says to respect your elders and your "If's, but's, or when's". He says to love your enemy, if it comes to that.
I love very easily. Anyone I consider a friend, I also LOVE. I would do anything for them. But there always seems to be that one person in our lives that pushes our buttons, irks and vexes us, and that we can't seem to keep a Godly perspective or attitude with. Someone we just can't LOVE.
For some, it's a boss or co-worker. Others I know have had boyfriends or girlfriends who've mistreated them, causing the relationship to turn ugly very quickly. Parents, siblings, friends, or that annoying professor who speaks through his nose, has spinach stuck between his teeth and lisps every time he says "Ssso, sstudentssss. How'ssss the weeked been for you all? Mine wassssss * a leaking gas pipe* uneventful. *laugh with a "hiss"*"
Ok. So maybe not THAT bad. But you get my gist.
We all have somebody who we just can't STAND.
For me, my problem person is my dad. But I'm glad to say that people on all fronts are encouraging me to choose God's course over man's....and I must admit that it is the hardest thing I have ever set out to do...forgive him. Respect him. It doesn't mean I have to trust him...but I must treat him as God would have me treat him. And let's just say that in this case, Godly reactions are not my strong point.

But I trust that God will work his wonders and I will be stronger for it. I may never see my Dad change. I may have to help my mum clear up the rubble he leaves behind him and help my siblings recover. But that's my role in this family. Not to change. Not to rebel. But to show respect for the position he fills. And for those of you who have similar situations, you aren't having to show respect to him because of the "stellar" job he's done. You only need to show respect and recognition of God's choice for a father. No more, no less.
If you trust in man, you will only get hurt. Man fails. Man is flawed. Man can never achieve perfection in any part of life. Only God can do that.
So, even if you feel that the dream life you've created for yourself is too vivid for you to walk away from, remember that with God, dreams and reality can become one. You can be both the knight in shining armor AND the respectful, obedient child, employee or spouse God desires you to be.

You don't have to create a giant marshmallow dream to explain the fact that your pillow is somehow missing. Just lay it all on the alter, and God will do his work.
I just pray that I will continue to let him work in me, because, truthfully, my relationship with my dad is my greatest obstacle to true happiness. I have God, I have my friends, and I have the rest of my family. All I need now is the heart change to make it "Family". One, instead of divided. Your prayers could definitely be helpful!

If you guys want to ask for prayer about a difficult circumstance in your life, please...Don't hesitate to ask.
God listens to our prayers, and he will answer them all in his time.

Be well!


Nancy Trosclair said...

Wow - I wish I knew how to respond to this in a way that is helpful and insightful, although it does confirm much of what I have suspected for years. I am proud that you seem to have a plan for relying on God to help guide you through this, but it truly makes me sad that your dad has somehow become the person who "is the greatest obstacle" to your happiness. Sometimes it is impossible for me to even recognize in him the person I knew when we were young. I think you would have really liked him then . . . I sure did. I miss that person. I still love him because he is my brother, but it is a different love for a different person than he once was.

RaeLynn Hitchings said...

*sigh* Yeah. I wish I knew the man my mum fell in love with. It's hard to see him as anything other than what I've grown up with though.

I'm still working on my issues with him. Some days are better than others. But you know what it's like to deal with people you have issues with, I expect. We all have stories. Sadly.

But as I'm being shown, While you may not have hope for another person, you can have hope for yourself. People react to you. They have issues, but you can incite a more illicit reaction. I know I tend to bring out the worst in him at times. So I'm working on it.

Thank you for reading my posts though! I'm very happy that you did!!!

Nancy Trosclair said...

I actually do have hope for other people - I figure if for whatever reason they changed to begin with,then there is certainly the "hope" that another change will take place that is more positive and productive. Keep thinking and writing. You're good at it. It's such a privilege to live in a country where freedom of speech is not only our right but our responsibility.

RaeLynn Hitchings said...

Oh, I definitely plan to keep on writing! There's very little that could actually stop me from doing so! :) I really enjoy it....haha

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