Returning to Imagination

A reminder that tomorrow we will commit to praying and fasting for God to bring marriage to those of us who desire it, to strengthen both men and women in their personal and relational lives, and to bring change within our hearts, minds, and spirits.

I have always had a vivid imagination.  As a little girl it could be my best friend or my worst enemy.  The rich inner world I created had the capability of taking me to soothing places when real life was too hard to face, but it could also take me to scary places when I began to worry about things that made me afraid. And yet I have always seen my imagination as a gift God has given me that, when used well, can be an incredible force for beauty and good.

I’ve been considering imagination a lot lately, because I feel it has so much to do with whether we embody our lives in an active, engaged way, or a constricted, limited way.  Some of the work God is currently doing in my heart involves revealing areas of my life in which I hide my light under a bowl out of fear that if I show my true self and all I’m capable of, I’ll either fail or be rejected.  In this way imagination is a barrier, only letting me see what there is to be afraid of rather than the rich possibilities that come with taking risks.  From another angle, it can be easy to simply daydream about what I wish my life would look like rather than putting my dreams into action.  In this sense I see the same tendencies I had as a little girl:  Using imagination either as comforter or as a portal for fear.

But as God and I continued to think together, I realized a third option, one that also showed up in my life as a child:  Imagination as pure joy and creation.  I recalled the hours I spent as a girl drawing pictures, playing dress up, having conversations with my stuffed animals, and writing stories, with none of the judgment that so easily accompanies our attempts at these kinds of things as adults.  And I started to wonder if I could begin trying to re-capture the joy of pure imagination I had as a child and use it to grow and transform my life as an adult.  I started to wonder what that could do for all of us.

It’s so easy at this stage of life to get mired down in the day-to-day burden of the grind, thoughts of things we want but don’t have, the exhaustion that walks hand in hand with achieving that ever elusive notion of “being successful”.  And most of us being single, it is easy to feel disadvantaged as we work harder to find fulfillment in the face of not having the relationship we long for.  In light of it all, it is absolutely impossible for us to live the transformed, richly imaginative life God deeply desires for us without His help.

The way I see it is that we need God to be our imagination, to let His vision be our vision, to bring to light the possibilities within ourselves that we can’t begin to tap into on our own.  We need to ask him to remove the vices that hold us back and allow Him to let us bravely become what we didn’t know we could be, or have been told we can’t be.  Really, there are no limits beyond those God puts in place for our goodness and protection.  With that in mind, I invite all of you to let your imaginations run wild with God this week and see what fruit it might bring.

Blessings,

Kirsten

 

 

 

 

 

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11 Responses to Returning to Imagination

  1. Ann says:

    Thank you, Kirsten. This is a wonderful idea! When I attended a School for Spiritual Directors, we were taught how to tap into our imagination through dialoging with our ‘little child’. A method that has really worked well for me has been by writing letters/notes back and forth between the dominant and less dominant hands, with the latter being the voice of the child. (Using different colors of ‘magic markers’ is fun too.) It’s amazing how that inner girl doesn’t lie! She tells me exactly what it is she wants me to do! The Holy Spirit works directly through her! It is so freeing and gives us all permission to embrace our imaginations, follow that leading and play! I became a member of ‘Fasting and Praying’ a year and a half ago. At that time my daughter and some of her friends were in their mid-thirties, single, but longing to be married to Godly men. Today, my daughter and one of her friends are seriously dating wonderful Christian men! God hears our prayers and honors our fasting! He is merciful, loving and cares about our every need! To all of you single women out there, longing to be married to Godly men, don’t give up! Keep praying and fasting! Thank you for this wonderful ministry, Kirsten, and all who are involved! Much good fruit is being produced. May God continue to bless you all!

    • fast. pray. says:

      Thank you Ann, for both your encouragement and your wonderful ideas about accessing our inner world and imagination. During my training as a therapist, one of my supervisors (a very artistic woman) would often have us draw with our less dominant hand and then talk about the feelings we had while drawing. It was amazing how we often moved from resistance and discomfort to a less guarded, relaxed state during the process. I think we often discount how much God can teach us through the practice of art, if only we can let go of our own self-judgment and criticism!

  2. Lauren says:

    Hi Kirsten,
    Thank you so much for this wonderful post! It really touched me, because I too have been blessed with a big imagination and often do daydream about what life could be like instead of putting it into action. I wanted to ask if you had any tangible ways that you’ve aligned your imagination with God. Like Connally, have you taken up art or writing? I’m just curious on how to begin submitting my imagination to God’s will.

    Thank you,

    Lauren

    • fast. pray. says:

      Hi Lauren…thanks for your response. I think living imaginatively with God can take a lot of different forms. It can look more traditionally artistic like painting or writing, or like taking a walk and being intentionally open to the sights, sounds, and smells around you – noticing, observing, and being aware of what inspires you or brings sparks of energy and life. It might look like sitting in silent prayer, inviting God to bring images to mind and then meditating on how those images might be significant to you or how they might be speaking to you about your life. I think as long as you invite God to walk with you in imagination, there are no limits! For me, writing, photography, and letting my imagination wander in prayer have been ways imagination has taken on new life in my adult years.

      • Lauren says:

        Thank you so much for your response I really appreciate it! I was just feeling the Holy Spirit telling me to start spending my quiet times in nature walking around and being in awe of this beautiful world God has created. I also love to journal as well, thank you very much for your thoughtful and practical advice!

        Have a blessed Holy Week,

        Lauren

  3. amy says:

    love this! imagination freed by God’s goodness….and for His glory…..lovely!

  4. Margi Hammer says:

    Thank you. Kirsten. I often seek ways to increase and tap into my imagination and am very aware that the subconscious is a great resource. I never thought of actively asking God to participate. Great idea.

  5. fast. pray. says:

    I really like this Kirsten. One time I read a book, “The Healing Presence” by Leanne Payne. She had this great chapter entitled “Introspection vs. True Imagination.” It was great, and that was the beginning of my being set free to imagine & create again (and take back up art in this case) like I had when I was a child. I keep seeing how when my imagination is submitted to and invigorated by God–in a way that is vastly different than indulging fantasies or obsessively self-analyzing–cool things happen: we get to become more of who he created us to be, more available to him for his creative purposes. And that is a joy. Thanks for the reminder!
    Connally

    • fast. pray. says:

      Thank you Connally. What a great distinction: true imagination vs. introspection. They are very different. As a therapist often my energy goes naturally towards introspection, but there is such a thing as too much. Would love to see what would happen if I freed some of that energy up with God’s help. 🙂 I appreciate the encouragement.

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