I had a basketball backboard in my backyard when I was growing up—home-made but sturdy. It played like the real thing, maybe just a little more forgiving, though it was hard to dribble on a court of dirt and random tufts of grass. In that backyard arena, I won hundreds of high school, college and professional championships. The fans, especially the girls, were stunned. They had no idea that low-key, mild-mannered me was the “Can’t Miss Kid” who carried my teammates, my school, and my city to greatness.

Innocuous daydreams perhaps. Every child probably had some version of those daydreams. We chalk them up to immaturity. But once we hit our late teens, our daydreams and imaginations are worth more serious consideration.

The Lord Knows (and cares)

The Lord knows our innermost thoughts and imaginations, and he cares about them. They are by no means innocuous. He has compassion on us when we are fearful, he somehow perseveres with us when our thoughts are arrogant, and because of the world’s actions and imaginations, he will come in judgment.

And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. (1 Chron. 28:9)

And I, because of their actions and their imaginations, am about to come and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory. (Is. 66:18)

Ah, to have “a willing mind” and increasingly pure imaginations.

How to Redirect Daydreams

If we are to grow in such things there are three steps.

  1. We must believe that God knows our imaginations.
  2. We must examine our own daydreams and imaginations.
  3. We must aspire for greater daydreams.

First, we must believe that God knows our hearts and imaginations. We would think that this is self-evident, but the nature of sin is that we hide in the darkness and actually believe God can’t see us there. So this first step is a challenging one. It is worth a year of sermons in itself.

Second, we must examine our own imaginations. This, of course, could get ugly. There are the dreams of greatness and adulation: Oscars, Pulitzers, Nobel Prizes, MVPs, world championships and an envious amount of money. There are the sexual imaginations that blatantly run outside of God-given boundaries. There are the angry imaginations that want revenge and sinful versions of justice. For example, I remember a woman who once volunteered, proudly so, that she imagined everyone who ever wronged her forming an endless line, each begging forgiveness, while she sat on something that looked peculiarly like a throne.

Where do our minds roam when someone else is preaching or talking? Where do our imaginations go when we are bored? Do our daydreams identify us as Christians?

Here is a practical goal: when someone asks, “What are you thinking about right now?” we are happy to answer honestly, and our answer is edifying.

Third, we aspire for greater daydreams. For example, my wife occasionally dreams about having more money; she dreams of all the ways she could give it away. My father-in-law is in Stage IV cancer. Whenever I speak with him he is meditating on a different passage of Scripture or a song such as “Make Me a Blessing.” He is daydreaming about ways he can bless his family.

They put me to shame.

Some Better Daydreams

Here are some “better” daydreaming possibilities.

  • The mighty acts of the Lord
  • The law of the Lord
  • The meaning of the cross of Jesus
  • Some encouraging words for a downcast person
  • A prayer of blessing for a friend
  • The hope of sinlessness
  • Ways to love someone in your church or community, especially someone who tends to be marginalized.

So, what are you daydreaming about?