Reality is Real

Photo credit: Lauren Davis
Photo credit: Lauren Davis

When daddy was drinking and in a philosophical mood, he would say, “Reality is real!” My sisters and I would try very hard to hide our grins; but when daddy wasn’t around, we would mimic him by repeating his famous line with serious faces.

As teenagers, my sisters and I didn’t understand what daddy was trying to tell us, but God made it clear that daddy’s wisdom was right on target for my heart. Reality is real, but I have always preferred fantasy to reality. The world of fantasy is a safe one where I can pretend all is as I wish it were. Fantasy is a beautiful hiding place where I can create my own world away from the pain of reality. The problem arrives when reality will no longer be ignored.

Reality sent my heart reeling this week. God gently, but firmly, showed me the futility of fantasy while I was wallowing in self pity on the ground. It takes a while for me to process information, but when I finally do get it, I don’t forget it. God showed me that the place where my heart was hiding was not where He wanted me to be. He has been over and over this same lesson for years, but I keep taking His reality and twisting it into my fantasy.

Whether a decision is made for me or I come to the learning on my own, the results are the same. Transitions and transformations are painful. Leaving the known has never been easy for me, and reality means facing the truth. I’m an eternal optimist and hope to stay one, but sometimes that optimism gets in God’s way. He reminded me this morning that I’m like Charlie Brown trying to kick that illusive football, and that is keeping my heart in limbo.

I never have found the image of Charlie Brown and Lucy on the football field to be a funny one. My heart went out to poor Charlie Brown, and I wished Lucy would stop messing with him. I knew it was never going to happen, but that didn’t stop me from wanting it for him. Perhaps I simply wanted it for me. I am a lot like Charlie Brown when it comes to love. I keep running toward it, but it is always snatched away at the last moment.

Charlie Brown seemed doomed to fail forever when it came to that football, but God showed me there is always hope. Lauren Davis gives Charlie Brown a new ending in her version. I had to laugh when God placed it in my path. The Holy Spirit takes on some unusual forms when helping me find God’s way, so I wasn’t surprised when God used Spiderman, Charlie Brown, and daddy’s words of wisdom to teach an important lesson.

Reality is real, and that’s a good thing. Trying is a good thing, but trying to make things be what I want them to be isn’t. It’s comforting to know that God is always there to catch me when I fall, and His sweet Spirit will teach me a new way to love. Every ending is an opportunity for a new beginning, and that gives me the courage to get up and kick that ball. When I find myself failing over and over, I need to remember that God knows more about love that I ever will and is always right there to help me get where He wants me to be 🙂

 

Bibbity Bobbity Boo!

I’ve spent a lifetime wishing things were other than they are. I love watching my little granddaughters pretending to be princesses and fairy godmothers, but I twinge a little each time because I am reminded of my nagging need to be someone or something other than who I am. I say need instead of want because that’s just what it was. Getting lost in childhood fantasies is fun when playing; but when fantasies followed me into adult life, they kept me from living the life God had in mind.

I’ve often treated God like my Fairy Godfather instead of my Creator, and that has strained our relationship. As a teenager, I imagined that my real father would come for me one day. That fantasy resurfaced in the dark days before I left my marriage. I was looking for someone to rescue me, and I just couldn’t ask God. His patience amazes me, and I wonder at times why He didn’t pull out a magic wand and zap me! I used to see Him as a Smiter, and part of me believed He was the one behind the hurt. I was getting what I deserved! I smile when I think of that now because I realize how ridiculous it was for me to see God that way.

I was taught to fear God, so I kept a safe distance during my adolescent and adult life. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. I knew from my childhood what happened when I got daddy’s attention. I didn’t think I could handle God’s wrath since I couldn’t handle daddy’s. Seeing God as my father instead of my Father shaped my relationship with Him and caused me to retreat into a safe world where fairy tales did come true – eventually – if I was good and waited long enough. It sounds so ridiculous when I type it out, but it was harshly real to me then. I am only just beginning to see that all hearts hurt. It comes from living and loving in an imperfect world.

I’m all for fantasy, and I love a good dose of Bibbity Bobbity Boo occasionally; but fairy tales are for entertainment and not meant to be models for finding happiness. Snow White and Cinderella are happy in their messy lives before their princes arrive, and that was the message this morning. Living and loving where I am is what God desires. Little Mylah loves Snow White, and she cracks me up singing “I’m Wishing” because she says, “I whoosing.” Whoosing is a great word for what I found myself thinking yesterday. I allowed my heart to drift back into those adolescent fantasies, but God called me back before I got lost in the woods.

I asked the girls what they wanted to play before we had dinner yesterday, and they said they wanted a magic wand. We couldn’t find anything suitable, so I made wands with ribbons and colored pencils, put on the princess dresses, and popped in the Bibbity Bobbity Boo video. Their little serious faces tickled me, so I got out my phone and captured one of the many renditions I was privileged to witness. Once again, God made me laugh at myself while learning an important lesson. Research shows that humor makes learning stay with the learner. I used it in my classroom for thirty-three years and believe it works. God knows I love to laugh and learn at the same time, and He used two very convincing little fairy godmothers to transform my thoughts.

I plan to keep enjoying fantasy, fairy tales, and fiction on the big screen, in books, and during playtime but keep my relationships centered in reality. I’m sure God will be glad to see me put up my princess dress and put on something a little more comfortable so I can love Him and those in my path the way He knows will bless Him and me.

Little Fairy Godmothers

Photo Credit Walt Disney
Photo Credit Walt Disney