Thursday, September 15, 2011
Use your IMAGINATION!
IMAGINE: to form a mental image of something not actually present to the senses.
We encourage our children to use their imaginations every day. Every now and then we even dare to imagine such things as a nap, more time to complete tasks, our dream job, our dream spouse...but only sometimes. As adults we often hold ourselves back from imagining...but I think we do ourselves a disservice by not daring to imagine...especially when it comes to our faith.
What does imagination have to do with our faith, you ask? We understand our imaginations to be limitless, without boundaries, beyond constraints and with no expectations. Don’t we perceive God in the same way? God is something that we cannot fully grasp and understand with our human minds yet we know that God is there, that God is limitless, without boundaries, beyond constraints and expectations. We understand God to be fully surprising and all-encompassing!
Our ideas of God and our faith, while firmly grounded in scripture, take flight when we dare to IMAGINE how things could be - how things WILL be. When we dare to IMAGINE how God would have things, our faith blossoms.
Scripture certainly leaves certain things up to our imagination - it does not spell everything out word-for-word. It tells us to love one another. By the power of our imagination we see what that looks like for us. Scripture encourages us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, etc... and those things take shape in our communities when we use our imagination, together, to make a difference. And scripture prompts us to learn more and our imagination is sparked when we study and grow into the stories and prophecies we find there.
Our imagination is key to our faith. Our faith grows when we IMAGINE how God wants our life to be; when we IMAGINE how God can change our life; when we IMAGINE how being a disciple can effect our life. It is a powerful thing; it’s the fuel we need for us to keep moving, the material we need to make a difference in the lives of the people around us and it supplies the gifts we need to live into our vocations.
BUT sometimes it’s hard to allow our imagination to guide us. When a situation calls for practicality, it seems frivolous to imagine the solution. Or when the outcome is uncertain, it feels ‘dreamy’ to dare to imagine how it might be.
We must be careful not to restrain our imagination or refrain from using it. We must be bold enough to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in the right direction by our imagination. God is consistently seeking out ways to communicate with us, to move us and to call us into action. God desires for us to move, to make a difference, and to change the world. It is by the power of our imagination that this happens.
Our human nature causes us, however, to wonder just how far we can truly reach with our imaginations. Paul tells us in Ephesians that God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. That is how far we can reach with our imaginations - further than we can ask, further than we can imagine or dream. Don’t limit yourself - don’t hold yourself back. DARE to imagine!