Fantasy Kills Imagination (and the church)

Last week I read a great post from Donald Miller, How Fantasy is Killing Your Imagination.  It was a convicting piece, forcing me to ponder what kinds of dreams I indulge.

Miller writes,

I’m capable of living almost exclusively in my mind. I can walk and daydream for hours. But some of these daydreams haven’t proved helpful. And the ones that aren’t helpful are daydreams about my own glory.

C.S. Lewis delineated between the two in his book “Surprised by Joy.” In the book, he talks about his early days imagining “Animal Land” which was a world he made up with his older brother. The time he spent imagining Animal Land, he noted, was great practice for becoming a writer. But fantasies about his own glory, he noted, (he would often spend time fantasizing about being a good dancer) was only practice for becoming a fool.

When it comes to the church, I have dreams. Some are great ones – dreams of the church changing the town  I live in through service, dreams of the college ministry making a significant impact on the darkness surrounding the campus, dreams of revival, of lives changed. I can sit in prayer over these dreams and be brought to tears. They are good dreams. But, they’re not the only daydreams I have. Too often I catch myself practicing to be a fool – imagining its my sermon that sparks the revival and my name gets spoken generations from now in the same sentences as Edward or Whitfield. I dream that a book I want to write will become a classic (with dust-jacket blurbs written by the ‘big guns’ in the Reformed academic community).  These self-focused daydreams may get in the way of the bigger dreams, or at least render me unfit servant for their accomplishment.

I remember hearing years ago that as we mature, we move from focusing solely on what we do (behavior/goals) to how we do it (means) to why we do it (motives).  I’m praying that God will truly expose self-serving motives. I doubt I’ll be able to set them aside entirely – not this side of Christ’s return. I will pray, however, that God will use me despite my being a bag of mixed up motives and self-centered imaginings.

So, where does your mind run as you daydream?