I have an imaginary world that I spend a lot of time in. Ever since I was a child, I would escape there for a variety of reasons. Probably the most common instance has been when I feel inadequate or underestimated. I imagine myself in situations where I am the hero or where I am respected and admired. In this world I always say the right thing at just the right time and people can depend on me and I won’t let them down.
Perhaps the most important thing to me about my imaginary world is that everyone knows me for who I really am. I have proven myself to them by holding true through difficult circumstances. I no longer hide behind my fears and insecurities. I am a rock star. I am a daring protector. I am a beautiful woman inside and out. I am truly alive.
Sometimes it seems that my imaginary world is more real to me than the life I live in reality…at least I want it to be. I love the feeling of freedom. I love believing I can let loose and be ME and not be shamed for it. I wish I could have this feeling in the real world and I often wonder what it is that holds me back. In one world I am powerful; in the other I am powerless.
I think perhaps I’m not the only one who understands this. At times, the contrast is remarkable between the two worlds, and I wonder which one is the real me. In reality, have I put on a mask to hide my true self? In my imaginary world, have I created a persona that is too perfect and wonderful? The scariest thing to think about is that perhaps the real me is neither.
It wasn’t long ago that I realized that I had been believing a lot of lies about myself and my worth. I had a skewed perception of my value. I cared too much about what other people thought about me and had not thought nearly enough about what God thought about me. Surely that could only be bad. I had never thought about it this way before, but I realized that perhaps the reality of who I am is not who I think I am nor is it who I want to be. Who I am is who God sees me to be, and if this is true, then a lot of things in my life need to change.
It’s a pretty scary thing to realize that the person you always thought you were could be wrong. It is also a devastating thing to realize that the person you have tried so hard to be and dreamed about for so many years could be wrong as well. I had a hard time giving up both, and it’s something that I still struggle with. The me I thought I was with all my insecurities and doubts held a curious comfort zone for me. It was safe to believe in a low-achiever. On the contrary, the me that I had created in my mind was everything I wanted to be with all the charisma and courage in the world. I had developed someone with a radically different personality that I perceived was better. It was fun to put on that skin and imagine a different me even though I knew in my other reality that I could never do the things I dreamed of in my mind. I was divided and I was wrong on both counts.
The thing that is so amazing about truth is that it doesn’t change and it simply exists. It doesn’t matter what we believe. Truth is truth. That is something that our society has completely denied. To most people in our culture, truth is relative to perception. If someone wants to believe in God, then that is true for them. If someone doesn’t want to believe in God, then that is their truth and their reality. There is no wrong; there is only perception and tolerance. We have taken a social convention and made it a belief system. However, no matter what anyone believes, truth is truth. Gravity exists, we need oxygen to breathe, and God is the only reality that truly matters.
It is easier for me to accept this in the bigger picture than when it comes to how I view myself. I have no difficulty believing that God exists and is active in the world because I have seen and experienced these things. However, God’s truth about who I am is so radically different from anything I had ever believed about myself. He says that I am a treasure, that I am His child bearing His image, that He has a plan for my life and that I have everything I need to accomplish His will. He says that I can do anything through Him. He delights in me, He sustains me, and He has called me to something bigger than myself. He has fearfully and wonderfully made me and He made no mistakes. Who am I, His mere creation, to think of myself as less than God’s masterpiece? What would happen if I were able to lay down my two perceptions for God’s true and unchanging reality? What could hold me back from living out His purpose for my life? I am coming to find that His purposes are so much better than mine ever were.
God loves me for the crazy person that I am. He created me that way. He made me a dreamer. He made me ambitious and He gave me a desire to change the world. All the freedom that I thought I had in my imaginary world cannot compare to the freedom I experience when I surrender myself completely to God’s reality and live my life in response to His truth. My brother Ben once said, “The greatest battle you’ll ever fight you have to surrender to win.” We are not created to live half-lives, nor are we called to do the best we can. We are called to surrender to Christ, in whom we can do all things and in whom lies our victory and purpose.
Have you thought much about truth? Are you willing to accept that you might be wrong? It’s a scary place to go, but God gives this promise in Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek me and find me if you seek me with all of your heart.” He is the ultimate treasure worth finding. Yes, it will rock your world. There is so much more to this life than what you know. Here’s the challenge: don’t miss it.