I used to call it my favorite house.
Every time I dove past in my younger days, I'd admire it's shiny white bricks, the beautiful burgundy awnings and the landscaping that made the whole property pop from the road.
Imagining how great it would be to live in that house, I'd often comment, "That's the house I want to live in someday."
Then one day while I was driving by, I saw a "For Sale" sign on the lawn. Even though there was no way I could even dream of purchasing it, I just had to take the opportunity to check it out.
Turns out, that the inside of the house was NOTHING like I'd imagined based on what I could see from the road. The layout was totally different. That landscape I'd “oohed” and “ahhed” over for years, ended up requiring a lot of maintenance. And the price---well, the price was astronomical. Like every other house, it had issues that needed to be repaired and addressed.
When I actually got out of the car and allowed reality to meet imagination, I realized that this house wasn't at all what I'd imagined. In fact, it was very different.
Lately, I've been thinking about how often we, as women and really just people, play the same game with our lives that I played for so many years with that house.
We look at a situation from a distance and we begin to imagine...
......what it would be like to have THAT job
..... what if would be like to be HIS wife
......what it would be like to have HER life
......what it would be like if we could just afford to buy THAT thing
......if only we went to a different church
......or lived in another neighborhood
.......then we'd be finally be happy and all of our dreams would come true.
As we allow our imaginations to run wild we convince ourselves that the object of our desire is the ONLY thing that will make us happy. If God really loved us, that He'd provide it already. After all, doesn't He want to meet our needs?
In a sense, we set our hearts on things without even knowing what those things really are. In the process, we hurt our souls.
It's like the parable that Jesus told about the man who didn't count the cost.
“But don’t begin until you count the cost.
For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?
Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.
They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’
Like the man in the parable, this practice often leads to heartache and heartbreak on our part.
So how do we overcome the pitfall of living in a fantasy world?
Check out the facts. Like the parable, count the cost.
Find out if the thing you'd got your heart set on is really what you want or if you've just created a mental escape mechanism to avoid dealing with your current reality.
The truth is that I've seen it too many times---someone lets their imagination run so wild that they are convinced they have what they want. Without counting the cost, they jump into a new situation only to find that it wasn't at all like they expected and now they are stuck.
What should you do instead?
First of all, don't set your heart on things, people, or circumstances.
Set your minds on things above and not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:23)
Focus your attention on Jesus and following His will for your life.
Find your fulfillment, satisfaction, healing, and purpose in Him.
The truth is that He is the only One Who can fill the deepest needs of your heart. Nothing else will do. When you set your heart on Him and His ways, so many of the other things that we think we need fall into perspective.
Seek to follow God's will for your life.
Ask God to only place His desires in your heart so that you will fulfill His plans and purposes for Your life.
“Seek first the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33)
Finally, count the cost.
Don't jump into a new situation until you are completely sure that you are following God's will and not your own desires. If you're not sure, ask a godly friend to help you discern.
God is not the God of confusion and chaos, but a God of order.
Even in the times in life when He has required me to take a step of faith, He has always required me to balance that step with practical realities and spiritual disciplines.
Financial faith walks were always accompanied by budgeting.
New adventures were always balanced with practical, good old fashioned hard work and sacrifice.
As wise women, we can't go into a new situation just expecting everything to work out happily ever after.
Instead, we need to avoid the temptation to fall into the trap of imagination and be women who follow God's plan and God's plan alone, count the cost, and expect that EVERY situation in life will be met with challenges, obstacles, hard work, and trials in order before we can enjoy the reward.
Yet, it's only when we mix reality with imagination that we are able to fully step into the purposes that God has for our lives and experience true joy, peace, and fulfillment.
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