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How much of your life do you spend in reality? How much in a made up reality?
Taking a break from reality is healthy up to a point. But what starts as innocent can become harmful. Taking a break can eventually become escaping reality. Then what if you reach the point where you start to prefer to escape more than you prefer to be present? You could then become chained (addicted) to a reality that you find difficult to escape.
We are only aware of a fraction of who we are at any given time. Sometimes this denial of who we are is normal and healthy. But at other times, we become stuck denying important information.
If you’re in denial, you could be:
- Believing you are better than you really are (you are pridefully protecting your ego).
- Believing you are worse than you really are (you are making a negative experience more important that it really is).
Take a moment to become more aware. Think through the past couple of weeks. What has been the focus of your thoughts? Is there anything resting just below the surface? What are you half-aware of? What is nagging at you in the back of your mind, but you haven’t admitted it or verbalized it yet?
Denying the truth is usually not good. But you must escape what you can’t fully handle in the moment. On the other hand, denying something false is usually good. God wants us to die to (deny) sin and be alive to Him.
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.Romans 6:11
Is there such a place as heaven on earth? How hard should Christians be trying to manufacture a utopia?
We can make the effort to embrace the reality of God’s truth. But this includes the reality that this life, in its present form, is passing away. We can make our lives somewhat better, but we can’t deny forever that what is coming next is far greater than what we have today.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.Philippians 1:21-24
The only true reality is the one God says is real. You might lean into other less-than-true realities when the pain is too much and you think you have no other options. But as soon as you’re ready, you should run toward God and His reality.
In what ways are you in denial? Consider how aware you are of your emotions and memories. Are you stuck in a rut of unchanging routine? Ask God for the strength to endure the harshness of reality, but also for the spiritual insight to behold the beauty of His reality.
God is merciful; He allows and even provides for a healthy escape. He provides moments that transcend the difficulties of life (see 1 Corinthians 10:13).
When God provides the opportunity for you to enjoy life, be sure to take full advantage.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.