Hey folks! Today I’m sharing a blog post from Erika Mathews, one of the authors from Wild Blue Wonder Press’s first ever anthology, Springtime in Surrey. This is a fun one as it takes on the actual title of this blog, the one that my mom and I came up with in September of 2015.
But … as if that wasn’t enough, Erika absolutely thrilled me by being so kind about this blog and the posts on it that I was like, “I don’t know if I can publish this! It’s too nice!” But false humility, a sort of disguised pride, is never something we should allow to triumph, so I shall publish her words in full and resist the temptation to annotate with silly comments.
If you don’t remember, Springtime in Surrey is launching on July 25th and is available for preorder now! Don’t miss out on our launch events (including giveaways!) next week … so show back up here then to celebrate with us!
Hello, friends! I’m Erika Mathews, wife, mama, author, and editor, and I want to extend a special thanks to Kellyn for hosting me here at Lilacs & Reveries.
I’ve followed this blog for more years than I can count, and I’m honored to know that for once I’m writing a blog post in a place where I know it’s safe to rant, rave, be blunt, be honest, be witty, be controversial, and be profoundly truthful all at once, for Kellyn somehow does all those things so well. At this stage of life, I read almost no blogs, but Kellyn’s is one where I still read every single post. Sometimes I’ve wondered why I still do, but the truth is that she’s so compelling and yet so on the mark with truth and logic and wit that I couldn’t stop reading even if I wanted to. Which I don’t. But I digress, as I believe I’m allowed to do in this space as much as I wish.
I’ve been privileged to work with Kellyn at different times over the years, most recently on our Springtime in Surrey collection. And I must add that I love her blog title Lilacs & Reveries, as I particularly adore both lilacs and reveries. In fact, I’d like to address the subject of reveries head-on today. (We’ll see if we sneak any lilacs in or not.)
What are Reveries?
Merriam-Webster defines reverie as “the condition of being lost in thought.” If you google the term, you’ll come up with this definition: “a state of being pleasantly lost in one’s thoughts, a daydream.”
So, right off the bat, we’re talking about what goes on in our minds. It’s about our thoughts—what we’re thinking about—but more than that, there’s something about “being lost.” I find that phrasing interesting. We all know what being “lost in thought” signifies, but the fact that we’ve chosen the term lost in that phrase intrigues me. More on that later.
Okay, But Why Does It Even Matter?
At this point, you might say, “All this is well and good, and I like a nice reverie as well as the next person, but why are we talking about this? Why devote an entire post to the subject of reveries? Why does it matter?”
I’d like to assert up front that this entire concept is one of the most important and foundational concepts of the Christian life.
Because what we think about is who we become.
We Become What We Think About
Think about it. Take any of your actions or responses. Anything you’ve done. Why did you do it? Answers may vary, of course, but keep on asking why until you get down to the root. At the most basic level, you did it because you thought about it first. We don’t really do anything without having some level of conscious thought about it beforehand. (Obviously, we might act without consciously thinking sometimes. But the reason even behind that is that we have a belief/heart-thought about it deep inside, even if we’ve never consciously acknowledged it.) Therefore, we can see that what we think about it who we become.
But let’s move on. Even deeper than that, what are your thoughts? What are you thinking about right now? And (get ready for it) where does your mind go when it has nowhere in particular to go? What are the reveries of your free time?
Because that shows what is in your heart. That shows what you treasure. It both shows who you are as a person, and it determines who you become as a person.
Here Come the Lilacs …
To demonstrate this, let’s use an example. I’ll pick lilacs, just because I’m determined to get them into this post somewhere. Hypothetically, let’s say I not only love lilacs, I really love lilacs. I’m rather obsessed with them. I know every kind of lilac ever grown. I study their colors. I’ve memorized their petal shape. I’ve sniffed hundreds of flowers and could pick out their scent in a greenhouse the size of Connecticut. I could find a lilac leaf blindfolded. I know their best climate, I know how fast they multiply and the best ways to transplant them. I spend my time growing them, cutting them, and arranging them in gorgeous bouquets.
In short, lilacs are my life. They’re where my mind goes when I have a free moment. They’re what I treasure. That both shows who I am (a lilac-maniac) and determines who I become (someone who will one day know even more about lilacs and be the world’s top lilac expert).
Now this thankfully fictitious example may border on the ridiculous, but it’s a picture of how we live our life. It might not be lilacs, but it could be a job. A hobby. A person. A relationship. A particular book or movie. A fandom. A friend group. A goal or ambition. Or it could be all of the above.
When your reveries are of this world, your life will also be of this world.
Our Command from Our King
That’s why God commands us to “Set your minds on things above, not on things on the earth, for you are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3).
What’s more, He tells us:
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree, planted by the rivers of waters, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season. His leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalm 1).
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mightiest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then shalt thou make thy way prosperous, and then shalt thou have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)
And, in case we need another witness:
“O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day!” (Psalm 119:108)
If you’re still not convinced, every single one of the rest of the 150 verses of Psalm 119 stand to shout the same truth.
Basically, if you can find another time other than day or night, you are Biblically allowed to think about whatever you want. But apart from that, our meditations (thoughts, ponderings, reveries) are supposed to be on His Word.
Why? Because His Word is the light to our path. It’s His voice talking with us. It’s Him talking to us. It’s how we learn to know and recognize His voice in all of life, and it’s how we know who He is and cultivate a relationship with Him.
Reveries: The Life-Blood of Relationship
Think about an engaged couple. All they think about—and all they want to think about—is each other. Their fiancé is constantly on their mind. They’ll talk about them to anyone who will listen. Everything is centered around the other person.
That’s a relationship—and that’s only a small picture of the relationship that God desires to have with us right now. No wonder Jesus said, “If you love me, keep [guard, watch over, treasure, value, meditate on] my commandments.” Love naturally leads to our mind being consumed by the one we love.
We are always meditating on something. Your mind is always active. The world will feed you a constant diet of trifles—things that don’t truly matter. And even if you shut out the noise of the world, your own self will feed your mind a steady supply of stuff. Renewing our minds and placing them on His word is a constant battle. But that effort of purposefully denying ourselves and setting our minds on Him is the process and journey of walking with Him—walking by His Spirit and abiding in Him. That’s what the abundant life of a believer is.
What does this mean in daily life? For one, it’s choosing to involve Him in our lives. Me, I always seem to have a running commentary on life in my mind. I think thoughts all the time without stopping. Abiding in Christ means directing my thoughts towards Him. Maybe I still have many of the same thoughts, but I direct them at Him—like a prayer or a conversation in head with Him—instead of just thinking them by myself. What’s more, when we memorize a Scripture verse and recall it to mind throughout the day (set alarms or reminders on your phone!), it creates the habit of turning our thoughts to His Word more and more regularly.
The Most Pleasant Way to Be Lost
Back to the definition of reveries. One could effectively argue that there is no pleasanter line of thought than the thoughts of God Himself. By meditating upon His Word day and night, we are thinking God’s thoughts. (“We have the mind of Christ,” Scripture says.) What’s more, we know that “In His presence is fullness of joy, and at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore,” (Psalm 16:11). This is something He’s designed for us to experience right here and right now—today!
And what about being “lost” in thought?
There are two sides to this question. One is that we can become so wrapped up in our thoughts that we are “lost” to real life and/or who we truly are. If our thoughts are our own or the world’s, we lose the awareness of the reality of God’s kingdom and who we truly are in Christ.
On the other side of the coin, when we set our mind upon Jesus Christ and His Word, we become “lost” in His thoughts. We are lost to our old nature and lost to the world and the enemy—but we are found in Him, in the kingdom of God that He designed us for!
This is what Paul was talking about in Philippians 3:
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him…” (Philippians 3:8-10)
Now that is a reverie worth having!
And the beauty of this is that it is intensely practical to daily life. Christ lives in me, and therefore as I set my thoughts on Him, I see everything through His eyes. He speaks to me through and about all life’s circumstances. He gives me wisdom for daily decisions.
It’s the life Jesus Himself lived when He walked on earth—a life completely at one with His Father. It’s the life He came to earth that we might live—right here, right now.
And it’s the life and the reveries I pray are yours—today, tomorrow, and through eternity.
Christ my life! and naught beside. His love enwraps me round.
I am His! As I abide, all fullness can be found.
Lost in Him! No joy compares. His love, an endless bliss.
He is mine! My life He bears. What restful peace like this!
Wholly lost! Forever lost! In Him I am sufficed!
Christ my life! I count the cost: For me, to live is Christ!
Erika Mathews writes Christian living books, both fiction and non-fiction, that demonstrate the power of God in the life of a believer, transforming daily life into His resting life. Her kingdom adventure novel series Truth from Taerna features spiritually challenging and refreshing adventure and unique Christian twists on cliched plots.
Outside of writing, she spends time with her husband Josh, mothers her little ones, reads, edits, enjoys the great Minnesota outdoors, plays piano and violin, makes heroic ventures into minimalism, clean eating, and gardening, and uses the Oxford comma.
You can find Erika’s books on Amazon or connect with her at restinglife.com.
Don’t forget to preorder Springtime in Surrey now!
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