Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fantasy VS Reality

This is going to be a very raw and personal blog over something that has dominated my life - yet I have struggled to understand it for a very long time until recently.

Throughout my life I have struggled greatly with any kind of difficulty in my circumstances or in relationships. The slightest hiccup in any of these categories has often sent me into a tailspin where my perception of reality has become clouded by a whirlwind of complicated, mixed emotions. I have only been able to get back to sense of balance and tranquility by taking active steps to make things better - usually by becoming a peacekeeper in situations and circumstances where I really didn't need to (and in some cases shouldn't have) but I did so anyway just for the sake of harmony. Keeping the peace is not a bad thing, by any means - but my motive for doing it has not been for the sake of relationships or anything else - it has been to spare myself of the chaotic whirlwind of emotions any sort of distress or discomfort creates in my inner being.

It has become increasingly more obvious to me that something has been seriously wrong with my thinking regarding real life and real circumstances. Getting upset and distressed at things that go wrong is a natural response but I have seemed to take it to a whole different level. I have been asking God for answers and I felt that He spoke to me regarding what the real problem has been in my life through one, simple yet extremely powerful word - "Fantasy."

This word floored me as I realized just how much sense it really made for me and my way of thinking. I began to realize that I have been living in a world of make-believe. Yes I have operated in the real world - but most of the time my heart and soul was never really there and never really prepared to face the facts of what was around me and what I was truly facing and dealing with. I began to see a pattern emerging in my life of being faced with very real circumstances and very real issues that I had been living in and facing yet instead of doing something to address it or at the very least speaking out about it, I have simply retreated into a world of make believe where I simply pretended the problem away and acted as if it didn't exist. For example - I was once in a situation with an organization where I saw a tremendous amount of backstabbing, gossip, criticism and negativity coming from the leadership and directed towards nearly everyone in the organization behind their backs - no doubt it included me as well once my back was turned. These things ate away at me but I continued to just ignore them because living in my little fantasy kingdom where I ruled everything and kept the peace all the time so I didn't have to face reality was more important than telling the truth and listening to what my heart was telling me. Though I did speak up in the end it took a long time and a lot of wasted energy lying to myself and ignoring the facts.

I realized that the primary way that this wrong thinking has shaped my life has been regarding my circumstances and my outlook on life. I have lived in a fantasy world where I have been at the center of the universe and therefore in charge of everything, where things happened the way that I wanted them to and I could control the future by controlling the present. I lived in a bubble of self preservation and all of my energy and effort went into protecting the bubble that I lived in rather than dealing with the real life circumstances and situations around me. Through prayer and further insight I began to see that this had been a problem my entire life - even when I was a child I used to constantly pretend and imagine that I was somebody else completely different to who I was. Imagination and fantasy among children is very common, granted - but I began to realize that for me it was based on a wrong foundation and from a young age in childhood it had become an obsession.

I began to realize that this fantasy world I had created was all rooted in the spiritual forces I had carried around with me since conception (many of these are explained in my book, No Way Out But Through). I realized that the darkness and pain in my soul was so great I had to basically create an alternative universe to live in where these things didn't exist and I could be who I wanted to be, where I could be in charge and where I oversaw everything including the future. This need for a fantasy world, borne from the need to escape the reality of what I was carrying around with me had consumed my entire life and made me into someone I really wasn't - not to mention it meant I was having very little genuine interaction with other people as most of the time they were not seeing me but rather a mask of illusion I had created over my personality in order to fit in with the circumstances I was facing and keep my fantasy universe bubble intact.

However - you cannot live like this forever. One thing that the last few years has taught me is that God is the master of popping bubbles of illusion in people's lives. What started the transformation from fantasy to reality for me is that I began to realize that I was never really that happy where I was and always wanted to be somewhere else. Even once I got something that I was longing for - such as a good job and financial security - my mind would automatically be wandering to the next thing, wanting for something else on the horizon. Then, of course, once I got that next thing, I would find a way to be dissatisfied with that too and would be longing for something else yet again. I became unable to enjoy anything - even the good things that God has blessed me with because I was always wanting something more, something different.

The main eye opener regarding this whole revelation came from actually receiving things that I had always wanted and then having to see that there were downsides to these things as well. I remember a while back once I had started working again, I became dissatisfied about something and began to question whether or not I was meant to still be at the job I was doing. God spoke to me and in a rather frustrated tone He said "You got what you wanted." I remember seeing a meme on the internet that said "Don't despise where you are because at one time this was exactly where you wanted to be." This helped me to realize that once I had gotten what I wanted, if I was not happy with this fact it was more to do with me and my thinking than it was to do with the circumstance itself. I began to realize that if I wanted to be happy where I was - this place I had wanted to be before I actually arrived there - that it was ME that needed to change and not my circumstances. I began to foresee that if I had continued living my life in a bubble of fantasy that I would have missed out on so many different things - such as the opportunity to speak into people's lives which is something that I enjoy being able to do. I realized I would have come to the end of my life and looked back on it to realize that I had never really lived at all, but just existed, drifting from place to place, working so hard to keep up an illusion while ignoring reality and real life responsibilities.

My reason for sharing this very personal story is because I believe that this way of thinking - fantasy and the constant need to maintain that fantasy - are very prevalent in today's society and contribute a great deal to unrest, dissatisfaction, relationships breaking up that really shouldn't have and people actively seeking to change circumstances when the true nature of the problem actually sits with them and them alone. I want to issue a challenge to each one of you out there - where are you living? Are you really living your life, in the now, in the moment, in the reality of your circumstances and where you are, or are you living like I was, in a zone of fantasy, looking at your real life and saying "I'm not really here - my body is here but my heart and soul are elsewhere." I'm not saying you can't live like this forever. Some people seemingly can. But how much destruction will you leave behind you if you choose to live this way? How many people and circumstances will you overlook and ignore because rather than being concerned with them and their reality your concern is made up with keeping your own little fantasy universe intact by controlling things around you to stop people from piercing your bubble? And, if you continue to live like this - are you really living at all, or are you simply existing, waiting for a point of happiness in the future that will never arrive?

Take care.

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