I like to zone out; to sit, relax, and daydream. Lately, I have not had much time to zone out and that has been a purposeful act, because when I zone out and daydream, my time melts away from me and reality becomes harder to live in. Jesus never called me to live in my mind, but in His plan and design for my life, which is right before my open eyes, if only I focus long enough to see it.
The more I open my eyes to reality, the more reasons I have to praise my King for all He has done for me. In a world of daydreams, it is hard to see anything but what I don’t have or could never possibly have. Such “visions” do not lead to gratefulness, but to jealousy and bitterness, since life never quite measures up to what I think it should. Of course, reality is sometimes not pleasant and it then becomes a greater temptation to retreat into fantasy, but if I cannot face the bad as well as the good, then I may be caught sleeping when something beautiful comes along. I cannot afford to close myself off from reality, no matter how harsh it may be, because God does not live and work in my daydreams, He lives and works in the world He created and in the hearts He formed.
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” (For the Gentiles seek after all these things), for your heavenly Father knows that you need these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (25-34)
Jesus told His disciples and those following Him not to worry or think too much of tomorrow, “what might be” or “what will be,” because God is the One who makes “what might be” and “what will be” a reality. In other words, why should I waste my time dwelling on tomorrow, and what I need or think I need, when God knows best and has everything in His hands? In general, I would say that I am not anxious or worried about tomorrow, but thinking too much about tomorrow (at least, in my case), leads to selfish sins that rob the joy and purpose out of life today.
In the past, my daydreams have given me the desire to take control of my own life, because I felt like the One steering was not pointing me in the right direction or getting me where I wanted to go fast enough. I asked Him, “Am I there yet?” and when I didn’t hear an answer, I said, “Let me drive.” (I sometimes get this crazy idea that I know what’s best for me. Seriously, that is the dumbest thing I could ever do, because, in reality, I have no idea what’s best for me.) As I am driving along, I think, “Hey, this looks like a great shortcut, it should be fun!” But God sees what is around the bend, either the cliff or the stumbling block that would leave me flat on my face, so He slaps me upside the head before I get too far. He often smacks me before I see what’s wrong with the path I have chosen, which makes it harder for me to submit to His will, but if I had seen the cliff, it would already have been too late. Don’t get me wrong, I have fallen before, but after I fall, I realize how gracious God was to me in keeping me from falling off the edge of the cliff. God knows this heart of mine – my tendencies, weaknesses, and strengths – so He definitely knows the best way to lead me.
I have learned enough to realize that I cannot control my life. I need a steady hand guiding me, directing me, and encouraging me along the way. But I do not trust in any human being on this planet to be that guide, only Jesus. He knows what’s best for me and only He can make my purest dreams and desires a reality. Sometimes, what is best for me is not always the easiest, quickest, or most fun route to take, but it is where I have the fullest purpose, joy, and rest. It’s hard to see that truth or feel it when I am in the thick of what I don’t want, and/or I am still dreaming about things to come, but it makes it a little easier to see the truth when I stop daydreaming. Even if I am not exactly where I want to be, my open eyes can at least look for the light around the bend or a lesson that I am supposed to be learning while I go through the valley.
A couple years ago, I was driving to Branson, Missouri for a short family vacation. I like road trips and road trips to vacation spots are awesome, but for some reason, I was not happy to be going on that trip. Instead, I thought of how inconvenient it all was; to be driving over five hours right after a long day at work to meet up with my parents and brother and only have one day to spend actually having fun. At the time, I was definitely caught in a daydream phase of life, where I thought my life wasn’t going how I wanted it to at all, and I also happened to not be spending that much time in the Bible or in prayer.
Well, as I was driving along, I happened to be on the phone with my mom. I was coming to a fork in the road, so I did the most logical thing, I asked my mom which way to go… It’s not that my mom gives bad directions or is directionally challenged, but she was not in the car with me, she had very little warning to tell me which way to go, and she was not a GPS (and she still is not a GPS). She told me to go right, and after I was committed, she corrected herself and told me to go left. I was supposed to reach Branson around 10:30 or 11pm, but when my GPS rerouted itself (yes, I could have asked my GPS which way to go), a half an hour was added to the estimated time of arrival. There was absolutely no place to turn around for 15 miles… 15 miles. I considered turning illegally in one of the median lanes, but there were none. So, not long after turning and realizing how horrible my life was, I told my mom what happened and hung up before I completely lost my cool.
For the rest of the drive in the wrong direction, I was yelling, crying, and just plain angry with how unfair life was. Pretty soon, I found myself in Oklahoma, where I had no intention of being, and I decided then that I never wanted to go to Oklahoma again (however, I have been there since then, and it was much more pleasant). When my exit finally came, I took it, and found out that it was a toll exit. I explained to the woman in the booth that I would be turning around immediately and going back the way I came, but she told me I had to pay anyway. Needless to say, this did not help my frustration, and I almost cried as I handed her the 50 cents. When I was finally back on the road again, the crying and anger continued, though I uttered one small prayer in the midst of that display of self-pity: “Dear Jesus, what are You teaching me through this?” That was the only prayer that came out of all of my crying and yelling.
Instead of answering me right away, God let the lesson ruminate for a while. I had a great time with my parents and brother and headed out early Sunday morning to head back home. On my drive home is when God revealed to me the lesson in my detour. The detour wasn’t planned and the overall result had me going 80 miles per hour in the wrong direction, but I was stuck on that road only because I didn’t follow my GPS. It wasn’t my mom’s fault or the GPS’ fault, or anyone else’s, it was mine; it was my choice not to follow the GPS. That’s how it gets to be in life sometimes; I listen to someone else’s counsel or listen to the “whisper of my heart,” follow it without consulting my ultimate authority, Jesus, and I end up going in the wrong direction and paying a fine just to get back in the right direction. It depends on where I took the detour exactly how heavy the fine will be, but that toll booth in Oklahoma was only 1 dollar altogether; the tolls in life are far more costly. I have had to pay life tolls, and felt the scars and reverberating expense for those tolls, but Jesus has always been faithful to bring me back to His Way and heal me along the way. Even if the healing comes a few days down the road, it will come when I wait, trust, and obey.
Ultimately, Jesus paid the greatest toll to turn my life around. When I was reluctant to follow Him and wasted the gifts He gave, He still paid to redeem me. Jesus has been so faithful to hold me tight, even when I was kicking, screaming, and crying. Life doesn’t always seem fair, but that is never an excuse to be unfaithful to God. Jesus has always been so good to me, even when my mind has wandered from His promises and sought the idol of “comfort” that lives in my dreams. For the sake of sleep, money, or time with friends, I have put Jesus on the backburner. But the “comfort” I find in selfish pursuits is temporary and is not synonymous with contentment and joy. Only the presence of Christ in my life can bring me contentment, comfort, and joy in whatever state or situation I happen to be in.
But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but My righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Hebrews 10:32-39)
Nothing and no one in this world could ever compare to, or replace, what Christ has for me in Heaven. So, instead of living in comfort, or dreamland, I want to live having a passionate love for my Savior that breaks through the darkness around me and within me. By the grace of God, I will not zone out and miss His blessings.
By the grace of God.
Thank You, Jesus, for all You have taught me and all You have done for me. I love You more than any dream. Thank You for making Yourself real to me every day and loving me. Amen.