Saturday, September 20, 2014

Wishful Thinking

(Editor's note:  Sometimes what we call "faith" isn't faith at all.  Faith is not a feeling; it is a Spiritual Force.)

The following account is true.

(A cold and snowy December night, 12:01a.m.)


Mom:  Hello? 
Me:     Mom!!!  Guess what?!!!
Mom:  What? ....  What time is it...? (sleepily)
Me:     He proposed!
Mom:  Who proposed?! 
Me:     Well, I just met him.  I don't really know him, but...he proposed! 
Mom:  What are you talking about?!!! (incredulously)
Me:     —And I'm actually considering it!!  (gleefully)
Mom:  What?!!!! 

And the sad news is: I did.  Consider it.  Briefly.  Well, for one week.  We broke up on Christmas Eve.  It was a hard Christmas that year.  It's hard to break up with someone you never actually dated, but I've proven it's possible more than once. 

My poor mother!  What could Mom see that I didn't?  I was suffering from a severe case of...

Wishful Thinking.

I confess I'm a hopeful romantic at heart.  Despite my lapses into cynicism over the years, I desperately hope that Love is real.  And not just God's Love, but true love between people. 

I've earned the epithets I've acquired over the years: quirky, an eternal optimist, delusional.  In different seasons these adjectives have painted an accurate portrait of me.  But today I want to trade all those epithets for this one: HOPE-ful.  I want my hope to be anchored in something real.  Let me show you what I mean.

My life used to be dramatic like this.  Apologies in advance for the graphic nature of this video...

"I will go down with this ship!"....glug, glug, glug.  Sounds noble, doesn't it?  Maybe.  But at the end of the day you're still sunk.  Today I would trade all the drama in the world for some authentic hope. 

If hope is the anchor of the soul, then wishful thinking is the leak that sinks the ship.  Wishful thinking doesn't even let you know you're sinking! 
Hope keeps you steady and afloat.  Hebrews 6:19 says: This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast.  An anchor is a source of security and stability.  Wishful thinking is "the unrealistic belief that something wished for is actually true or will be realized."  The dictionary defines wishful thinking as "interpretation of facts as one would like them to be rather than as they really are; imagining as actual what is not."  Unlike hope, wishful thinking is an ever changing wind: unsure and untrustworthy.  Hope is based on truth; wishful thinking is based on lies.

Have you ever heard yourself say, "I hope ____ happens."  Or "I sure hope so!"  What do we really mean by that?  Hope literally means to expect with confidence.  Our translation of hope, however, is usually "that would be nice, but it's probably not going to happen."  That's one way we misuse hope.

Or even worse yet, sometimes we say "it's going to be fine" without ever evaluating the reality of the situation.  The scary thing is "It's all going to be ok" can look like hope fueled by faith!  Sometimes it is.  And sometimes this is wishful thinking, commonly known as "Denial."  Wishful thinking tells you "it's all going to be okay" when it's not.  

How are we to know the difference?

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12.

In aviation the thought that "it could never happen to me" is called a hazardous attitude.  It's a dangerous thought.  This arrogance puts up blinders and gives pilots a false sense of security when real challenges lie ahead.  The cure for hazardous attitudes — in flying and in life — is humility and vigilance, seeking a deeper understanding of what could go wrong and facing head-on the real challenges before you.  It means being real about where you are and what you know; aware of the possibilities; living each moment as it comes; and making conscious decisions so those decision aren't made for you.

Hope is anchored in God's unchanging Word.  Wishful thinking has no basis other than a flimsy desire for something.  Wishful thinking is problematic because it is really disappointing when something you believed would happen doesn't happen.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. ~Proverbs 13:12.

Wishful thinking leaves you empty-handed, but Hope makes good on its promises. 

So what are you hoping for?  Good relationships?  Financial abundance?  Good health?  To know God more?  (3 John 2).  You don't have to sit there passively and say, "Well, that would be nice if..."  Go get it! 

Get what?  HOPE! 
Where?  In scripture. 
Why?  Because Hope is the first ingredient of faith!  Hope is faith's end goal.  There is no such thing as faith without Hope.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ~Hebrews 11:1.

So what if you've been disappointed by wishful thinking in the past?  We all have.  Chalk it up to experience, learn from it, and move on.  

And if someone proposes to you on a whim: run, don't walk, to the nearest exit.  That's just wishful thinking.  I've since learned you can't have a relationship with someone with whom you don't have a relationship.  (Profound, I know, but very true.)

Dig deep into the scriptures and discover the One whose promises are sure.  Get to know Him!  He will fulfill the longings of your heart.  We don't have to go down with the ship.  We can anchor our Hope in something real.  And He won't disappoint.

"And now, Lord, for what do I wait?  My hope is in You." ~ Psalm 39:7.


Jesse Pfau said...

"I will go down with this ship!"....glug, glug, glug. Sounds noble, doesn't it? Maybe. But at the end of the day you're still sunk.

Haha probably my favorite part. I watched the video and became emotionally involved. Then BAM! This is the next thing I read haha. Thanks for sharing!

Allie said...

Haha...just saying! The end result is worth considering ;-)