How To Go From Silly Dreams To Solid Reality




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Walter Mitty wanders across the generations as one of the most famous short-story characters in American literature. (You were sleeping in the back the day the class studied him, weren’t you?)

This meek, oatmeal sort of fellow created by James Thurber put up with a dominating wife and a mocking world by drifting into a fantasy life. In the story he morphs into a navy hydroplane driver in his mind when his wife tells him he’s driving too fast. Later he’s a talented surgeon, a cool character on trial for murder, and a pilot volunteering for a dangerous mission in World War II.

The story ends with him calmly waiting in front of a wall, smoking a cigarette while a firing squad prepares to blow him to smithereens.

People laugh about Walter Mitty types, who live boring lives and fantasize great things in their heads.

Stars of Our Story

But, I say there’s a bit of Walter Mitty in all of us.

You see we’re all the star of our own story. Our world is pretty much how we see it in our head. Two people can have exactly the same situation and react differently—one full of peace and the other crying from frustration.

One lady gripes about a husband that ten other ladies would kill for. This fellow laments what a terrible job he has as he climbs into his Mercedes to return to his mansion.

It’s seldom our circumstances that keep us from sleeping. This man can’t snooze because someone at church said something that made him mad. Peter awaited execution, chained between two soldiers, and the angel sent to rescue him had to poke him in the side to wake him up because he was sleeping so deeply.

Are you living an adventure or are you enduring a life of torture? “Poor me. Oh, me!” Or, “Yes!.”

What story are you telling yourself?

All of us are going to face different kinds of challenges in life. Some we’re going to love, others we’re going to hate. But, to keep the joy of the Lord we have to learn to see our circumstances in the light of reality. We can fly off into a world where we’re the hero and all the dragons lay whimpering at our feet, but if we’re going to slay them in the real world we have to take some positive steps.

1.    Make up your mind to be positive. Do what it takes. Look at the world as if you really believed what God said. Really believe He’s on your side. Really believe He’s fighting for you and working all things for your good. Constantly tell yourself that. Look at the world through his eyes.

2.    See the glass half full. Okay, it hurts. You can’t change that, but keep looking up to Him and at the situation until you see the opportunities. You can’t do what you want? This might be the occasion to try something you’ve always dreamed of doing. Or simply do what you can.

I was in a developing-world country once and to me it looked broke. Not a lot of hope. I spoke to some young people from that country, though, and they were excited. They had lived in the West. “There’s so much competition there,” they said. “But, here no one is doing it.”

I saw “broke” and they saw “opportunity.”

3.    Remember, this world isn’t the last word. I’m amazed at the faith of Christians in places in the world where they might be called upon to give up their lives at any moment. There’s no hope of advancement because they’re Christian. At this moment there are probably thousands of our brothers and sisters locked away in prisons. Others have been maimed because of their faith.

If this life was the only story they had, it would be sad. But as one of my favorite preachers wisely observed, “This world ain’t all there is.”

I saw images of Haitian Christians singing and praising the Lord after a terrible earthquake. Their eyes were elsewhere.

And me? Sometimes I’m a bit peeved at the Lord because I prayed and still couldn’t find a parking place. After all, if you can’t use your faith to get a good parking place, what use is it?

Things may not always please me here, but we are going to a life without end in a place that Jesus is preparing for us. That’s real and it’s cause for rejoicing.

Hey Walter, what does your world look like? Are you escaping into silly dreams? Are you staring constantly at what makes you unhappy?

Or, are you looking to the Lord Jesus, then looking at your situation with hopeful eyes?

“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

“They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

“None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” (Rom. 8:31-39, The Message)

He really is FOR US. That way of looking at the world will put power in your dreams! That’s the story you constantly tell yourself.

Hmmm …

“…let difficulty make you ever stronger; let it guide you in adjusting your dreams as needed; let it spur you toward the path that will result in your success, no matter how close or far it is from your original dream.” Rachel Gardner

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