Fantasy has never been more popular. Every time a person buys a lottery ticket, there is a fantasy behind it – houses, cars, holidays, retirement and lifestyle. Have you ever pondered what you would do if you had hit the jackpot? In October 2018, an anonymous winner in South Carolina scooped $1537 million. In 2019, sales of lotteries in America alone reached $91.32 billion, up from $85.59 billion in 2018. This represents a 1 in 300,000 chance of winning which is higher than the EuroMillions Lottery ratio of 1 in 45 million! Gambling does not make long term winners – studies show those winning will often lose what they have won within 10 years as well as gaining many worries and a possible addiction along the way. This cruise ship looks idyllic but eventually all passengers return to face the realities in their home port!
- ‘Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality’ – Freddie Mercury
- ‘I am sailing, stormy waters, to be near you, to be free’ – Rod Stewart
- ‘Escapism is survival to me’ – Johnny Depp
- ‘Entertainment and escapism - those are the bigger money-making films today’ – Robin Wright
Everyone does it in some way, even if not through lottery tickets. Day dreams, social media, reading fiction, listening to music, playing video games and watching films are all ways for temporary escapism, albeit entertaining. Everyday life is paused and other life is contemplated, often through the lives of others. Every person would prefer something to be different – work, neighbours, intimate relationships, finances ... you name it! But how to deal with these pressures that can affect our peace and well-being such that we live life out of focus?
- ‘I'm sick of running away from things’ – Natalia Kills
- ‘I've never liked the recognition, the questions, the publicity. I have often felt like running away and hiding’ – Al Pacino
- ‘Running away will never make you free’ – Kenny Loggins
- ‘Acceptance of one's life has nothing to do with resignation; it does not mean running away from the struggle. On the contrary, it means accepting it as it comes, with all the handicaps of heredity, of suffering, of psychological complexes and injustices’ – Paul Tournier
Psychology gives many interesting insights into how human beings cope with rejection, disappointment, anger and guilt. Unresolved issues from childhood can be carried into adulthood plaguing our thoughts, words, perceptions and actions. Many who have had a difficult relationship with a parent may unconsciously transfer feelings to another person, whether positive or negative. This could be in the search for a role model to respect or even lead to displays of anger and symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. Emotions and pain can be faced or denied as revealed through a life of escapism. Unless you turn and confront the beast that dogs your steps, you will always be hunted, haunted, reduced and distracted by an underlying power to diminish you.
- ‘Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”’ – Genesis 3:8-9
- ‘But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord’ – Jonah 1:3
A pauper who steals, a king who abdicates, a pastor who resigns in shame and an ersatz Christian are all in denial. Each ignores their true situation at their peril – the pauper awaits conviction, the king has lost his kingdom, the pastor has failed his church, the hypocritical Christian will be exposed. If you or someone you know is still running, it’s time to stop, turn and face the mad dog - with God’s help it can be done. Courage is given to slay the dog and find renewed life in and through him who fights for you, Christ Jesus.
- ‘The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’ – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
- ‘”No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord’ – Isaiah 54:17
- ‘But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed’ – Isaiah 53:5
- ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ – John 10:10
If it is true that the best is yet to come, it is also true that we are not called to ‘second-best living’ in the present! Escapism is living in the shadows of unreality rather than in the light of truth. When the light is turned on, everything will be revealed for what it is. Once you stop running, then it’s time to enjoy life. Even if the cost in facing the dog baring its teeth was high, now you will no longer be threatened or diminished. Instead you will become mature and grow in stature before God, to his glory. Some see death as an escape but for the Christian it is a step with Christ in all the reality of his love, promises and faithfulness. Jesus has removed the sting of death and helps you face the dog. Knowing this is the best way to embark on a cruise ship and really enjoy it!
TAGS – fulfilled, condemnation, shame, failure, paranoia, psychosis, therapy, counselling