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How much of your life is pretend?

Posted by Matt Postiff May 20, 2013 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Society 

We associate pretend things with childhood. There is something endearing about watching a child in pretend play. There are valuable developmental things going on in children as they pretend and emulate what they see in their world. But it seems out of place for adults to play like younger children (1 Corinthians 13:11).

The thought I'd like you to think about is this: how much of your life is pretend? It is probably not a very high percentage of overall hours if your life is close to the average American's. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, working and sleeping take about 16.4 hours out of 24. These are fixed costs associated with "just living."

But on average, Americans have five daily hours of leisure activities where they have more control over what they choose to do. Well over half of that segment of the day is devoted to watching television and playing games.

Setting aside the possibility that you are watching documentaries and educational television, I would venture to say that most TV and games are pretend activities. You are watching and vicariously experiencing the made-up activities of others. You see pretend violence and pretend relationships. You view pretend situations. You become actively involved in your pretend mind with simulated reality video games. I would argue that adult pretend of this nature is not substantially different from child pretend.

Does there seem to be something wrong with such pretend? Besides the fact that it seems out of place for adults to have so much pretend in their lives, there are other thoughts you can ponder. For example, pretend has a real effect on the mind and body. Have you ever experienced an elevated pulse when watching something with suspense or violence? What do you think repeated exposure to that sort of pretend does to the mind and body? Pretend TV shows teach (preach!) real values, whether bad or good. What about the numbing effect of pretend on our interaction with the real world? If our leisure time is filled with pretend, it can have an anesthetizing effect on us, removing awareness of the things that are really going on. Perhaps Satan lures our flesh through pretend in entertainment in order to dull our senses to what he is doing in the world. Pretend can distract us from global trends, political realities, personal relationships, and the needs of others in view of the ultimate reality that life is short and each person will soon be called to judgment.

Don’t pretend your life away!

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