What is real, anyway?

This house in which I sit is real. That’s certain — for the moment. Yet before the day is done, a fire or wind or explosion could wipe it all away. Though a concrete reality now, then it would become but a memory, a shadow in the mind.

I had a friend so healthy that I (never robust) envied her. Yet within her lay a hidden cancer that grew undetected till too late to prevent her death a few short months later.

Friends prove disloyal, false, even treacherous. Were they ever real?

People who seem so kind prove cruel and hard in heart.

Admired leaders prove wily, conniving, dishonest, self-serving.

Marriages and friendships and families and churches collapse, and you wonder if they ever were what they purported to be…

Some question the reality of God and things eternal. I take the stance of C. S. Lewis, who in the Narnia tales referred to this present life and all in it as only shadows of the real and eternal — Aslan’s kingdom in the children’s books, God’s Kingdom in Reality.

“I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name,” declares the song.

Leaning, here and now in the Shadowlands, on what’s real.


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19 thoughts on “What is Real?

  1. Hi! coming from the link-up @ L.A.C.E.

    I really do like your 5 minutes on ‘real’.

    Love how it’s short, yet brings out a great look at ‘reality’. I’ve wondered, or have experiened some of what you’ve shared in this post myself.

    I enjoyed my visit, thanks :o)

  2. Hi Deanna,
    What I didn’t get to share in five minutes was that we can know how unreliable all those things in “Shadowland” might be, and still not have to distance ourselves from them in fear, if we realize we can lean fully on Him. For even if they fail, He’ll carry us through.
    So glad you visited and commented. Thanks, and God bless!

  3. “…shadows of the real and eternal…”

    This really makes us rethink what we have ourselves so invested in. I pray that I will continually be reminded to look beyond the shadows of the here and now, and look to Him.

    Another awesome post.

    1. And there you go, Denise, being so encouraging again! 🙂 Thank you. I’m so glad we met through these communities!
      Good prayer for me to pray daily, too.

  4. I have realized, in reading all these real posts that maybe in the shadowlands we can’t be 100% real. Perhaps that is another struggle of sin.

  5. Laura, you’ve got me thinking. Jeremiah 17:9 (I think) says our hearts are so deceitful we can’t even know them ourselves; so I guess we can’t be 100% real till we’re completely free of sin, in eternity.

    And we don’t open all the information doors of our lives for anyone and everyone to peer in, partly because there’s a lot about others that telling would be just gossip or betraying a trust. But I think the openness you talked about in your post is especially important, because without it, we can’t really minister to each other as Christ would.

    The aim, methinks: to be “without guile or hypocrisy,” be honest about our flaws and struggles, especially when it will help others overcome theirs.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting, and God richly bless you!

    1. Hi Esther Joy,
      I think so too that this is your first visit here. I’m so glad you came — and commented. Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed your “rock place,” and not having been for while, I was actually just thinking about it yesterday and wondering if I could find it!

  6. So glad you visited here, Omily. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  7. Dear Sylvia,

    My husband was a Christian Scientist for 19 years. He really struggled with the real and the not real when it came to Christ and living in this world. It is
    a subtle lie that all this is an illusion and that if we can get our thinking right, we can be like Christ and ascend. I have trouble with this topic because of what my husband had to suffer through to find the real Christ.

    This could be a long comment, but I just wanted to say this is tough from a metaphysical standpoint.

    Love you, Sister,

    PS Perhaps I should try the 5 minutes on “real” to work this out, but I still have the scavenger hunt to put together. So many thoughts, so little time. I must run the dogs now.

    1. Oo, I see your misgivings here, Dawn. They are legitimate, and important, and I am so glad that you could be real and bring this up. Thanks so much for that!

      But what you’re talking about is a whole different animal from where I was “at” while writing this post. I certainly didn’t want to convey the idea that, say, my house was an illusion! (Note that I stated it is real. Just that if it burns down or blows up, it won’t be anymore! It can be destroyed. Although I now realize that my wording may have been too vague) Nor did I mean hypocrites and the like are in themselves an illusion, but rather that they purposely create illusions to fool people. We also rely on illusions when we delude ourselves about a life’s circumstances or relationships as genuine or never subject to change.

      My “real” is about authentic, eternal, and certain.

      I was thinking of how much in this life we rely on what is uncertain, or without a lasting reality (like friendships, marriages, income, possessions) because people can die or leave or betray and “moth and rust doth corrupt,” and “thieves” do “break through and steal.” What has concrete reality now will rot away or burn up or otherwise disappear someday, but “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Always real and reliable.

      Verses I might have added would have been Colossians 2:16-17, Hebrews 8:5 and 10:1, and James 1:17. There’s also 1 Corinthians 13:12, and also (especially) the one that Husband quoted immediately when I read him the post, about the strong reality of the unseen and the fleeting nature of the things we can now see: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

      Hope that helps. (Maybe I’d better write another post? Or edit this one, even though we’re not supposed to edit 5 Minute Fridays?) I hope anyone else with your thoughts reads the comments!

      You are also increasing my misgivings about freewriting for five minutes and immediately publishing. We need to measure our words, be careful of what we say, and this can be just mindless blurting. Good for getting the writing mechanism going, but better scribbled in the private notebook than immediately on the world-wide web! Hmm…

      Anyhow, thank you, dear sister, for sharing this, being *real* (meaning, genuine, honest, up-front) 🙂

  8. Oh, Dear Sylvia,

    I did not misunderstand what you meant, I was just wondering if there might be someone out there reading who was coming from my husband’s perspective that could use some help or might be reading this incorrectly because of their world view. I didn’t get my husband’s lack of understanding for months into our relationship and then it came out very slowly because sometimes we were using the same words but we were meaning very different things.

    No problem with your post, just with my experience with the prompt. I think you raise a valid point, however, about writing without edit for 5 minutes and then posting. You really do get a person’s first thoughts and they are not always tempered. I’m not referring to you, just making a general statement. I better not try it, ha!

    Bless you, Sister Sylvia,

    1. Glad you brought it up, though, Dawn. Such an interpretation never occurred to me, because I was unfamiliar with Christian Science teachings — and because I was just thinking within my own box/groove. I think there’s a lot nowadays that we would mean one way and others would interpret differently. Caution is best, huh? And defining our terms!

      Methinks I better not try it anymore, too! heh heh (Honestly I had misgivings before I wrote, different times. We ought to pay attention to those inner warnings!)

      And bless you, too, dear sister. May you enjoy an especially meaningful day tomorrow!

  9. hey, Sylvia! thanks for stopping by “Living for ONE ” and giving your opinion. I am loving this title as well. And i thought your post was nicely written and thought provoking. in a world overridden with false truths and realities, our thoughts of REAL must be rooted in the only ONE who has proven Himself to be faithful and true. Jesus. There is no other!

    1. Amen, Kelli! Thanks for the visit and comment here, too! And God bless your further blogging adventures!

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