My Adidas Bag (Circa 1979)

16 04 2010

When I was in elementary school (grade 5?), all I really wanted was an Adidas Gym Bag. I don’t really remember what they were made out of. Some sort of synthetic material, perhaps vinyl, but I remember them being shiny and wonderful. Adidas Bags were “the thing.” They were “it.” I did get one, a red one, and it was “all that” and I had the illusion that I was “all that” when I carried it.

It’s funny how I could think that. But when I carried that bag, I was almost walking beside myself, liking how cool I looked carrying that bag. I think they call that an “illusion” (among other things).

What I am thinking about, in reference to Philippians 3:7 (“I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done…”) is along those lines.

I want something. I talked quite a bit about this in my “(Don’t) Give Me The Hard Stuff” entry a few days ago but even beyond that, I have a picture in mind about my life and how it will be lived and how others will fit into that plan. I know what I want to feel about me and about my life. I know, generally, the pieces that will make me feel that way. I have always called these “ideals.”

Over the past few years I have been thinking a lot about my so-called-ideals. Read a fantastic book some time ago called “Leading with a limp” by Dan Allender and one thing that just jumped off the page at me was the difference between ideals and illusions.  Ideals or convictions can be good things to live by, but sometimes we think we are living by a great set of ideals, when in fact we are living by illusions.

Illusions are things we expect but are unreasonable, or even incorrect, expectations (often subtly). They are laws we apply to ourselves or others that were never meant to be applied. Sometimes they are qualities we expect to see in ourselves or others that only God can satisfy (not another human being). We can center our whole life around illusions and end up so disappointed and so disillusioned in the end.  Illusions are the things that I think Philippians may be referring to on some level: leave behind your illusions because they are worthless in comparison to what is real in Christ.

I definitely have illusions. If I recognize them and work through them and leave them behind, all’s well. But if my illusions get shattered by surprise, it can be surgery without anaesthetic. I have had this happen to me; it’s messy. The further I go along, however, I realize I am experiencing more freedom as a result. Nearing the end, I see with so much more clarity what is true and actually of value. I see the illusion that was masking itself as an ideal.

Sometimes, when I am experiencing TURMOIL (especially inner-turmoil) I ask, “Am I doing this to myself?” Have I have believed something that is completely incorrect? Are my expectations being governed by an illusion?

Funny thing, Satan is a master illusionist. He can make things seem just-about-Christian and it can send us out on a rabbit trail. He can use the Bible against us by encouraging us take things out of context and choose only what fits us (or apply it only to others). He can pit brother against brother, all over some illusion we have believed in, instead of the pure words of Christ. He can devastate a young-person’s life by passing illusions in front of their eyes, warping their thinking about themselves, who they are, how they look, what their value is. Suggestions perpetuate my illusions and justify my moods (“I am right. I can be angry over this.”). But, what is the Truth?

Not that I want to pin it all on the Bad Guy, because I like my illusions. I like to believe I am right or that I have been wronged, or that it can’t be fixed. I know my own philosophy and it’s hard changing my mind. I think what I want is the right thing to want.

Back to my Adidas Bag. The thing I wanted to hang on to is now considered vintage; belonging to another time.  Really, how dumb if I think carrying a certain bag is going to make me a certain kind of person. That bag went the way of the landfill; similarly, some of my thinking needs to also. This blog could go on and on if I would write my list out, but if given major categories it would look something like:

  • Illusions of how I think people should behave towards me
  • Illusions of how I think I should behave towards people
  • Illusions of how I think God sees me
  • Illusions of how I see God
  • Illusions of how I see myself (overly positive)
  • Illusions of how I see myself (overly negative)

This seems huge, doesn’t it? But this is where sitting with Jesus on a regular basis unmasks the illusions. Thinking about what is pure and truthful as I walk through some verses; letting God’s Word seep into me and out onto the page of my journal writes me/rights me; being willing to change let’s God show me the false things I am building my life around.

I am a work in progress; I have no illusion about that.

— Teresa Klassen




One response

16 04 2010
Tweets that mention My Adidas Bag (Circa 1979) « OneBrownLeaf --

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Teresa Klassen. Teresa Klassen said: Reflecting on Philippians 3:7 and the difference between "Ideals" and "Illusions" […]

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