“May all your dreams come true…” is a Disney-esque thing we sometimes say to each other on special occasions such as birthdays or graduation. What dreams? Is it really wise to wish this for someone? For ourselves?
“Living the dream” is another catch phrase of our time. Exactly what is that? Is it wealth, power, freedom to be anything, go anywhere, become anything you want?
Is life supposed to be a dream come true?
I’m in favor of dreams if they make you passionate about a better life. I’m in favor of having dreams if they cause you to have vision and faith to move forward.
But I must take issue with the unrealism of this emphasis on “dreams” that is slowly gobbling up common sense.
Dreams have to be connected to reality. Dreams slide into fantasy without being anchored by strong roots. The anchors of dreams must be real; real life, real relationships, real faith, real fellowship and real people bumping into your life regularly.
No dream is of any value if the dreamer loses connection with the real world.
Fantasy is becoming the new reality because people are avoiding their real reality.
Studies have shown that over 20% of people lie on their CV’s when applying for a new job. They want to be something they are not. An in-depth study of on-line dating sites found that about 81% of people misrepresent their height, weight or age in their profiles. Yet people are heading to the internet to find real love when they themselves are not being real. The fantasy of love has overcome reality. They have come to believe, “I am not acceptable as I am, so I will fabricate a fantasy of who I want to be.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the cyberspace, someone else is also fabricating an image that they want you to believe is the real them.
I’m observing it more and more; people are having more trouble connecting to real people. Conversations stay superficial; getting real with other humans is scary. One young woman described her disgust: there was a guy about her age in her church that she liked. Her parents approved of him, and he liked her. But he would sit in church and text her -he was in the same room and would not come across the room to talk to her. It drove her nuts! She didn’t want a virtual boyfriend. She was willing!!! But she wanted a real person, a real human to interact with, not an avatar.
Then there’s the Facebook world of relationships, where a friend is a friend you may never meet. You may never hug them, may never shake their hand, may never go for coffee together or have lunch together. You don’t know their family. You’ve never been to their job site. You’ve never smelled their perfume, never stroked their hair or never seen them get mad. They are “virtual”- an online personality that you know only in one dimension- cyberspace.
An IRL (in real life) friend is a real thing. This is not the reality of our FB friends. Because we were made for relationship, it is somewhat addictive to add to our (imaginary) friend list. But in a very deceptive way, it makes us feel more connected. Having 1,000 friends makes us feel good! Never mind the fact that they know nothing about you except what you post in your social networks.
Realistically, most people cannot relate deeply to more than 7-10 friends. So- what are these Facebook friends? I’ve got about 1,000 friends.
Here’s how that works. The request comes in from a name I’ve never heard of and down in the corner is the note,“1 friend in common”. But the friend in common is someone whose name I barely know. “Will you be my friend?” So we say yes, our number of friends goes up, and we feel good about that.
But it’s not real!!!!!
It’s ok to have 23,000 Facebook friends- but most, if not all, are not really your friends. Don’t let electronics deceive you into substituting FB, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, or WHATEVER, for interacting with real people on a personal level.
It gets worse. People like this “friend” thing. You think you have control over these relationships. You can unfriend, block, or turn off someone anytime you experience discomfort. I’ve seen a lot of folks who accept you as a friend but if you dare ever get honest, they will BLOCK you. That’s a friend???
Facebook dumbs you down relationally. “Just be positive, keep everyone happy, never disagree, don’t get anyone upset, be politically correct, lie a bit so no one is upset…” …. And this is friendship?
It is SO NOT FRIENDSHIP. It distorts your understanding of friends. Maybe if this is your social life, you end up believing all relationships are superficial. How tragic and lonely that becomes.
By far more people hold hands with a cell phone while walking than with another human.
I am truly concerned for what media is doing to real relationships. It is deceiving humanity that electronic connections are a meaningful alternative to living human relationships. They are not. You need people -real people- in your life. People you can’t run away from when they get mad at you. People you can’t block because you’ve had a disagreement. People whose newsfeed you can’t ignore when you’re bored with their lives.
You need the kind of relationships that challenge you, that frustrate you, that bore you, that live in the same house and work in the same office and you CANNOT GET AWAY FROM THEM.
How many times has my wife Denie disagreed with me? And in this disagreement, she has confronted me and forced me to think another way or see another view and because of that, I stay balanced. Not only her, but others challenge me. Uncomfortable, tension-filled real relationships are good for us!
Don’t run from the reality of challenging relationships. It will save your life. You learn very little about life and God in the times of comfort. The pain of rubbing the sharp edges of people is what makes us grow and learn and change.
When you consistently cut off all painful, uncomfortable people, you soon drift into a fantasy life of your own making. Life may be under your control and all you “friends” may “like” you and your status updates, but it’s also very empty.Because it’s not real.
Media just won’t cut it. Electronic church won’t do it for Christian faith. Blogs (except this one, HAHA) cannot replace living human fellowship. That’s the issue with podcasts and downloads for me. You can learn stuff from downloadables, but it can never replace the committed relationship of a church family. Even a tough real relationship in your local church is better than no real relationships.
I am not at war with social media. I use it; our church is developing more media; we believe it is useful and necessary. But understand this: social media is not my life, nor is the media our church.
Our life is what lived with real people who don’t always agree. We keep each other human. People may irritate us and make us feel bad at times, but people may also feed our souls with words of strength and comfort and example. People give us human touch. Sometimes just knowing we relate to another living human secures our sanity.
Computers can’t hug. Sometimes when I travel, my little girl puts her arms around the computer when we say goodbye on Skype. It breaks my heart. I can promise you, that is not a substitute for a real hug, and she knows it!
Let media support your real connections, not replace them.
Let media enhance what is real.
Put some effort into talking to people face to face, voice to voice. Don’t limit communication to texts.
My concern is that people are evolving into a social collection that is much more difficult to relate to, grow and form into aChristian perspective. Discipleship cannot be done on-line. It takes people.
May your dreams come true…if they are not an escape from real life, if they are based in reality, and if they honor God. May they all prosper and thrive- IRL.