When Desire Conflicts with Reality

I just read this from Dallas Willard’s Knowing Christ Today: “When desire conflicts with reality, sooner or later reality wins.”  I think we’ve all faced the collision between our desires and reality – what we want to be real versus what really is real.  We can find ourselves living in a perceptual reality framed by our desires, where our desires become an allusive avoidance of the actual reality we live in.  Or, sometimes based on our desires we can find ourselves bemoaning our reality, living constantly in that tragic gap between what we want and don’t have.  Most people on some degree experience this conflict between their unfulfilled desires and their reality.  The inevitable outcome of living in a worldview of our desires is reality will eventually win.

In my leadership discipleship group this morning, we had a discussion on the meaning of courage.  I believe for many people it takes incredible courage to face their realities that are in conflict with their deepest desires.  We said in our group that courage is not the absence of fear but the facing of ones reality in light of the present fear.  Recently, I’ve also come to realize that reality doesn’t have to “win” over us if we do more than merely accept it, or worse, merely tolerate it.  I think the key is to own it.  It is about saying this is my lot that God bestowed on me, this is my story that God has given written for me and this is my path that God has called me to.  It is mine and, within it, I will live it out well and faithfully.  I’m drawn back to the great human question of what it means to have a “good life.”  It’s easy to be led to believe that a “good life” is when reality conforms to our desires; it’s what we would normally define as fulfillment.  Little do most know that fulfillment doesn’t necessarily equate to fruitfulness nor faithfulness.  I’m led to remember the age-old notion held by the early and medieval Christians as well as the ancient Greek philosophers that a good life cannot be separated from a “good person.”  Who we become will determine the quality of our lives.  What we do with our reality will say a lot about who we are.  Though, it also takes courage to change the realities that can and should be changed.  That is a different kind of reality.  Some realities cannot be changed.   It goes back to that famous poem that was widely circulated which said wisdom is knowing the difference of what can be changed and what can’t be.  And perhaps the unchangeable reality we face is unchangeable only for a season.  If that’s the case, then that’s the reality we have to own for that season.  This principle of desire versus reality reminds me a lot of the film Midnight in Paris, which I’ll write a separate blog for soon.  I think, therefore, one of the best things to do with reality is not to simply accept it but to own it.  And by owning it, we strive to produce fruit out of it.  Let’s live well.  Another musing…

2 thoughts on “When Desire Conflicts with Reality

  1. worth thinking about! when you post on Midnight in Paree, you must also include a glimpse into your own dissonance, if only to better help us understand our own by ur example 🙂 peace, and wish we could still be in a writing group with you, me and Joy 🙂

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