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“Ask a Priest: Is My Imagination Going Too Far?”
Q: I have a big imagination. I imagine that I’m friends with celebrities. In my imagination I am a rapper/soccer player who lives in a fairly luxurious house. I always listen to my favorite songs and imagine it’s me, rapping with my friends. I also imagine that my friends are rappers and soccer players as well. I try not to think of sinful things and I also give glory to God. In my imagination there is my celebrity crush that I imagine that I’m dating, but I do not have any impure fantasies about her. Outside of my imagination I often scroll through her TikTok page and imagine I’m in the videos with her. I actually do not want any of this to happen in real life, because I want whatever is God’s will for me. Yet, I have a feeling what I doing goes against the Commandments. So, is what I am doing sinful? And if so, what can I do to stop it from being sinful? – A.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: You mention having a big imagination. In fact, your imagination seems quite small.
If you had a really big imagination, you’d be thinking of the things you could for the glory of God and to help others.
Instead, your imagination is fixated on things that are superficial and vain – the stuff of Hollywood that vanishes like a puff of smoke.
You are basically asking about daydreaming. While not all daydreaming is bad, the kind you mention could be potentially sinful, for various reasons.
For one thing, daydreaming can waste precious time and distract from the important work you need to accomplish, such as studies. It can distort your values and feed your desire for empty fame and fortune.
And it can cause you to start seeing women as objects. After all, you aren’t cultivating real relationships on TikTok, but rather are getting attached to airbrushed images of someone.
You mention that you give glory to God. Perhaps you do. But it’s interesting that your attention seems to be more riveted to the rapper-athlete-celebrity fantasies.
A quick suggestion is to get involved in volunteer work that will enable you to help others. This can help keep your feet on the ground and your mind out of the clouds. It will also give you the chance to cultivate real relationships with real women.
It might also help you to prayerfully compile a vocation statement for yourself.
Life is short. You want to spend it wisely.
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