The Dangers of Daydreaming

For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God. Ecclesiastes 5:7

I once had the pleasure of meeting a young woman who struggled with daydreaming and fantasy life. Dannie was a wonderful young lady who had the most vivid imagination I ever encountered! Her thought life was so vivid that she could almost live there, and it was causing her problems in the real world.

You may find it hard to believe, but daydreaming can actually be a revelation of a sinful heart. I have counseled women who enjoy watching daytime "soap operas" and reading what are called "romance novels" but are really soft core pornography for women. Such is the stuff of many fantasies of the modern woman.

Such indulgences set a woman up for sinning in the theater of the mind. A woman who struggles with daydreaming may dream up a scenario in which she compares her husband to a character she reads about in a book. She may place him in the shoes of the fictitious man being written about and expect her husband to think and act in the same way. When her husband acts like who he has always been, the wife can become bitterly disappointed and angry. Often, the poor man has no clue as to why his wife is upset with him!

If you can, put yourself the position of a woman who is competing with her husband's internet or magazine pornography fixation. A women whose husband looks at pictures of naked women, who are airbrushed or photo-shopped to perfection may not be satisfied with the usual woman who shares his bed at night. He is living in a separate world of his own making. The wife is often furious because she knows there is no way after a few kids and a dozen years of marriage she can look like that, or be as exciting and daring as what is on the screen or the pages of the magazine.

Now, think of a husband who competes with the literal man of his wife's dreams- daydreams that is. He can morph into anything she wishes, and because he lives in her head he can adapt to whatever she needs at the moment. He can be tall and blond or dark haired, romantic, and sweep her off her feet. He can be a knight in shining armor one day and a rakish pirate the next! He doesn't need to take out the trash or pick up the dog poo from the yard.

The daydream man is often nothing like the real man, and this difference causes the woman to become dissatisfied with her husband. Reality is nothing like fantasy and these daydreams will cause a woman to have a very poor attitude toward the man she is married to. She may feel cheated and act out angrily toward him.

I would not want to leave out the single women from this conversation either. It used to be that single women had only their daydreams and imaginations to help them engage in sexual immorality or fantasy life. But thanks to the internet, a single woman can have virtual sex with a man who is a composite of bits and bytes. Her imagination may fill in the gaps about his personality and she too can have a very sinful and self-indulgent thought life. Some single women actually carry on virtual relationships with these computerized creations and consider themselves to be in love or in some sort of a romantic entanglement.

The mind is a very, very powerful thing ladies! Is it any wonder the Lord tells us to guard our thoughts? Does it surprise you that lust begins in the mind before it ever gets to the physical realm? It shouldn't!

Sexual is not the only kinds of daydreams we have ladies. Have you ever nursed a grudge? Have you ever replayed a hurtful incident over and over in your thoughts thinking of how you would like to get even with someone? I sure have! Have you ever thought about how you would react if something you want badly would come true for you? This can also be harmful because none of it is rooted in reality!

Philippians 4:8 tells us to meditate on many things, but they are all things that honor and glorify God. We are admonished to think on things what are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent and worthy of praise. Every thought of a godly woman ought to be glorifying to God.

When Dannie and I worked together, our goal was to reorient her heart and mind to be focused on what was first of all true and real. The fantasy man of the romance novel or soap opera is no more real than the pin up girl in the magazine. They are both illusions of fleshly perfection that are intended to hook you like a fish and drag you away into further sin. (James ) True and real means that she accepts life how it is. Sometimes that means husband is too short or too tall or bald or skinny or fat. He may be perfectly steady and not overly exciting to live with, but that is the reality she has been given and it is God's ideal for her.

We also had to work on what was honorable. It was totally dis-honorable for her to be thinking sexual thoughts about her fantasy man. Her thoughts needed to be directed towards being thoughts that were God-focused. This demands a renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2) from a mind that thinks of self and pleasure seeking to a mind that wants to glorify God and give Him praise and honor in all respects. To do otherwise is to practice gross idolatry, because she is placing herself first, even before God. All forms of self-worship are idolatry.

When thoughts are true and honorable they are more likely to be right and pure. The entire focus of the act of thinking is different when a person wants to worship God.

Dannie was able to see how her thoughts were leading her astray in acting out her fantasies of all kinds. She did determine that she would make herself accountable for her thoughts, and that she would harshly reign her thoughts in when she found herself wandering off. She kept a thought journal and recorded the things she struggled not thinking about, and made a prayer list of how she could specifically pray when she was tempted.

She bathed her mind in Scripture and made a little flip chart of put offs and put ons according to Ephesians 4 to help her to have a godly focal point in a moment of strong temptation.

Eventually, she was able to set aside these thoughts and desires of the heart and she learned to redirect them toward ones that gave God glory and honor.