At the moment, I am going through a phase of my life where; to put it bluntly... reality is hitting. I am very definitely 30, no longer "in my "late 20's". I have to make some decisions now and in the next few months which will determine my future.
This is not all. I am experiencing a real mixture of fear and excitement in walking this path. I am finally a proper grown up but I still want to make a face like a five year old. I long to be the woman of God that I am called to be, but still feel the need to be kissed and picked up by my "Daddy". I feel uncomfortable in my current reality and in the face of all of this grown-up business, I find myself practising a bit of escapism.
I have called it my "unicorn estate! ". It is where; per the title I breed unicorns. They exist inside my head! Do you also have a unicorn breeding programme?
Why unicorns have existed in my life
Unicorns exist for me because reality has at times been tough. I wanted to imagine myself in a preferred future, with a preferred income, or preferred present rather than the one I found myself in. I did not like or engage very well with what was around me, so I began to breed "unicorns". I fed them and nurtured them, and rode on them rather than the real life that was happening round me.
At the time it felt like the right thing to do. But I now realise how wrong that was. Jesus says it so well doesn't he ? "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also". (Matthew 6 verse 21). My treasure was in the life that I wanted to live, with perhaps a better job, more friends and a riddance of an aching loneliness and world-weariness that sapped my joy and freedom.
What unicorns are
Before we think about whether unicorns actually exist ( I think that the evidence suggests that they do not! ) I think that it is useful at this stage to establish what a unicorn really represents. In engaging with a unicorn you are engaging with an alternate reality. You do not like the current state of affairs and rather cartoonishly, you bury your head in the sand.
Now there are times when that are all that we can do. Engagement has to take place later, in a safer place or when we are feeling more able to push and to grow. In the Bible it speaks of God being our refuge and strength. "The Lord is my rock, my Fortress and my Deliverer". (Psalm 18 verse 2). From the safety and sanctity of relating to God, we can live in a way that is relevant to our current circumstances.
But be under no illusion. A unicorn does not suddenly turn into a horse – a beast of reality. It will remain a unicorn. I have found that my mind is a place where I have a lot of growth to do. If I am not careful I can begin to imagine things that are not really there, to think about scenarios that may never take place and to prejudge a situation or word before it has even been said or thought about. Controlling my mind, thoughts and my "dream" life have developed into a major challenge and growth area for me. How controlled are you, in your thoughts?
What they are not
The thoughts that we have that I would call "unicorns" are not dreams. It is right to have dreams, hopes and ambitions. These are what we talk to God about. We say; Daddy I would like to do this. Daddy I would like to go here or there. God loves those conversations. We look beyond the current to what he is purposing us to do. In Isaiah it talks about us "arguing things out" with the Lord. Jeremiah 29 verse 11 puts it well "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future".
I would distinguish that, from a fantasy world, which builds in your head because you cannot deal with or cope with the real one. I used to love the Lord of the Rings. I still do and think that it is the best film trilogy ever produced. However I got pretty close to thinking that I might see an orc around the corner, or that trees might talk to me if I just addressed them as "shepherd of the forest". I think of the memory and recall that it was also a time when I was not feeling so good.
I was happier and more content, to live there than I was in my own situation. Fantasy, is not real but it was real-er and more comforting than my own situation. I lived and engaged with that instead of thinking about the real life that I was leading. I had sleep-walked through this time, without any conscious understanding that I was doing so.
Instead... choose a horse
I invite you instead to choose a horse and engage with what is real. A horse will help you to travel from one situation to the other. It is not a unicorn and does not multiply with your thoughts. Life is at times hard and unforgiving. It can feel like God has forgotten you and passed over. The truth is that he is nearer and closer to you than you can imagine. He is able and willing to lead and guide you and if ever there was a real "shepherd of the forest" God is it.
When The Bible refers to God as "shepherd" we often conjure up images of a man with a harp and quiet, peaceful lambs. The reality is that the Shepherd would be called upon to fight with and kill wild animals that might attack the flock. How much do I need Jesus right now, as my ultimate defender and shield?
Reality is what is on the horizon and however tough it may be to deal with, that is what is in front of you. My advice would be to fight for what is real in your life. Feed the horse, not the Unicorn.
Rosie Robinson resides in Manchester where, in between feeding herself coffee and bagels she works in financial services. She is a member of a lively church and enjoys reading, running and watching films. She is currently on a trek with Jesus; discovering slowly but surely, all that life has to offer – and has decided that she has the coolest big sister on the planet! (fellow young writer Amanda living in New Zealand).
Rosie Robinson's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/rosie-robinson.html