When I was a child I dreamed of being many things, usually connected to what I was watching on TV. During the Olympics I began to dream of being an Olympic diver. Becoming an astronaut was in play for several years as I watched the Apollo missions culminate in Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon. And there was always the fall back option to play in the NBA, as I never met a shot I didn’t like. Unfortunately, gravity quite literally kept that NBA dream from happening, as being too slow and unable to jump were my primary limitations.
In the last few years I’ve been pondering the power of imagination. The ability to create a new reality from an idea is behind every song and book written, every work of art…even the cars we drive and the clothes we wear. In all of these things, something doesn’t exist, and someone imagined that it can and then created it.
This is a God given ability to all humans. Without the ability to conceptualize a different future, we would only be able to act on instinct and our past experiences. We would not create anything new and different. We would be unable to change anything about our reality, always living each day with memories, but no ability to create, to change. That is what you call being stuck.
Unfortunately, in some ways we all leave the gift and power of imagination on the shelf, unused or undeveloped. We stop dreaming of how we can be different, or how the world around us can be different. We stop taking the most fundamental of steps to acquire a new future than what we have. We give up on our dreams – our experience of failure or shame or the narrative in our heads tells us it just can’t work. That’s just the way it is. So we just go through the next day and pretend everything is “fine”. Or we medicate in some way, because we know we are not fine and we need something to deal with that pain. But that only makes it worse.
There is good news. As followers of Jesus, he wants to flood the innate imagination he has given us with faith in Him. In yielding to God, we become co-creators of a future that He can bring into existence. That is the story of the feeding of the 5000. Eight to ten thousand people have nothing to eat and Jesus says to his disciples, “you give them something to eat.” Their plan was to (reasonably) send them away to eat before it got too late. Jesus wanted to show them His nature and power, and also how he can use them if their imagination is integrated with faith. And so throughout the gospels, you see Jesus challenge the twelve to think beyond their current frame of reference, to imagine a new way of living.
The apostle Paul picks up this idea in a letter to fellow believers. In Ephesians 3:20, he writes, “Now to him (Jesus) who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or can even imagine, according to His power that works within us…”
What do you long to see God do in your life to glorify Him that is different from your current reality? Is there a gravitational breakthrough of some sort you need in work, or a relationship, your finances, your physical or emotional health? Maybe that’s a yes to all 5…and even more. God is able. Don’t stop imagining. Imagine and mix with a God-dependent heart. Ask him to work and to lead you to what you need to do next. It starts with small steps of faith. The change rarely drops out of the sky. Get started.
The will of God for your life is bigger and better than you can even imagine.