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What does the Bible say about daydreaming?

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Question: "What does the Bible say about daydreaming? Is it wrong to daydream?"

Daydreaming is a way of spending time by imagining situations or events the way we wish them to be. Some people get so caught up in their daydreams that they reject reality in favor of living in a fantasy world. The Bible mentions daydreaming a few times, but never in a positive light. Daydreaming is usually coupled with laziness or other useless pursuits (Ecclesiastes 5:7). However, daydreaming is not to be confused with actual dreams or visions in which God has at times revealed truth to people (Genesis 31:11; Acts 2:17).

Daydreaming (also sometimes called “woolgathering”) can be a pleasant pastime and also a way to plan and evaluate the wisdom of future decisions. We all enjoy times of imagining success or fantasizing about the “if only’s” or “what if’s.” But when daydreaming is an excuse for lust or secret sin, it is always wrong (James 1:14; Mark 7:21). When daydreams replace responsibilities or reality, they are foolish. Isaiah 56:10 condemns the worthless activities of Israel’s leaders during Isaiah’s time: “Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep.” In this rebuke, God points out that those who should have remained alert and sensitive to danger were, instead, indulging in daydreams and wasting time. We often make the same mistake.

Daydreaming can be a way of escaping from present circumstances rather than addressing and changing them. A boy who daydreams about becoming an NFL star instead of studying for real success is wasting his time and potential. A minimum-wage worker who spends her free time daydreaming about being a success instead of actually working toward success is sacrificing her future on the altar of fantasy. When we daydream in order to plan our next steps, daydreaming can be productive. But when we indulge in daydreams instead of taking action, daydreaming is destructive.

Recommended Resource: Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will or How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc. by Kevin DeYoung

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