If God has revealed His purpose for your life and you feel that it is more than you can achieve, consider the power and gift of your God-given imagination. Through it, God can make your purpose happen!
Through imagination, things are created.
Albert Einstein said, “Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.” And in the 1950s, author Napolean Hill wrote, “The imagination is literally the workshop wherein are fashioned all plans created by man.”
Truly, everything that has been created by mankind: skyscrapers, skis, cars, computers, buildings, boulevards, coffee cups, cotton balls and even things immaterial such as concepts and philosophies all began in the mind of someone before they became reality.
Indeed, God is the Creator and He has blessed us with minds to create, too, through the power of imagination.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t believe that we can manipulate our lives through thought to the point that we can become our own god and make anything happen that we want. Thankfully, God is far too sovereign for that! Instead, imagination is a tool whereby we cooperate with Him to participate in His divine nature and fulfill our God-given purpose.
Imagination diminishes and eliminates the perception of obstacles.
When I was 21, I traveled overseas alone to London, England to participate in a study abroad program through my university. The night before I boarded the plane, I knew that I would soon see the Tower of London, ride in “The Tube” and drink a lot of tea—but there was something very important that I didn’t know.
I had planned to immediately move in with my host family, but a change of holiday plans for them meant a change of plans for me. So 12 hours before I was to board my flight, I didn’t know where I would stay the first 14 days in the sprawling metropolis. Surprisingly, I wasn’t worried. Instead, I prayed and asked God to give me a room when I arrived.
To my joy and delight, a college acquaintance from London whom I hadn’t heard from in almost a year just “happened” to call within the hour to chat. After I told him about my situation, he offered to contact his sister to have her pick me up at the airport and also make arrangements for me to temporarily stay with his family.
Surprisingly, through the uncertainty of my living arrangements, traveling overseas alone, and venturing into a vast unknown, I wasn’t afraid. I’ve often wondered why. My best answer is that I was filled with an excitement that had been born out of imagination. You see, I had imagined for many months what it would be like living overseas. I checked out library books about England, watched videos about the culture, and spoke with friends who had been there. As a result, all of my “imagining” created excitement in me which eclipsed any fears I may have had.
In I Samuel 17, the height of Goliath is mentioned in cubits. Some people believe he was 9’9″ and others think he was 6’6″. Either way, because his height was mentioned shows that it was out of the ordinary and a big deal—except to David.
Because David was consumed with his God-given purpose to slay Goliath, he imagined what it would be like to take down the giant and, as a result, he was excited. He shouted and mocked his enemies and proclaimed God’s name. Therefore, he was not intimidated by the apparent obstacle of Goliath’s size.
When imagination and excitement are mixed together, you will either not notice obstacles or they will be largely diminished—and, therefore, your courage will increase! This is important to remember as you pursue your God-given purpose.
Imagination is fueled through input.
By now you might be wondering how you can fuel your imagination so that your excitement, inspiration, and courage grow.
There are many ways, but the main thing to remember is that imagination is often fueled through input that comes through suggestions from outside sources.
As an example, several months ago I had been thinking about God’s purpose for our lives. Then I spoke with a man at a coffee shop who asked me if I’d seen a video about a guy who watched some beautiful fish swim and then thought, “Wow! This is what they were created for!” I told him no and our conversation turned to another topic.
The brief image the man painted of fish gracefully swimming stuck with me, and over the next week, my mind chewed on it while I took a shower, drove and worked out. A week later, when I sat down to write, a story about purpose flowed out of me with the fish he described as the main anecdote.
What I experienced was a suggestion from another person, which fueled my imagination. So, if you are stumped on how to solve a problem relating to your purpose, remember that imagination is fueled through input (or suggestions) from outside sources. This can include people, books, movies or any way that thoughts from others are received.
Imagination increases after your mind has been exposed to a problem and it is at play.
I took a college graphic design class in which my professor presented many problems to us. He asked us to render a large object, small; to reproduce musical notes in artwork without using the notes and to make a brown paper bag into a piece of art.
After Professor Wada presented any problem, he required that we make a “What if?” list of possible solutions. Then, he insisted that we wait at least 24 hours before beginning the assignment. Why? Because he knew that after we focused on a problem, our minds would begin to work on it while they were relaxed or “at play.” He was always right. I got my best ideas when I was relaxing in the shower, daydreaming on the walk to school or sauntering to my next class.
As you pursue your God-given purpose, there will be plenty of problems to solve. To effectively tackle them, you can use the same principles that I used in design class.
- First, pray and ask God to give you direction to do His will.
- Second, define the problem.
- Third, make a “What if?” list.
- Then, allow your thoughts to chew on the problem for a period of time.
- And don’t forget to expose yourself to situations in which your mind is relaxed or “at play.”
If you know when you are the most creative, such as taking a walk or reading a book, make arrangements for these situations to happen. And most importantly, have a pen and paper handy for quick note taking. Before you know it, God will have given you ideas on how to proceed through His gift of imagination.
There’s no doubt that God gave us an amazing gift when He gave us this gift. I encourage you to ask Him to help you make the most of it to fulfill the purpose He has for your life!
Shana Schutte is a freelance writer, author, and speaker living in Colorado Springs, Colo. (www.runtogodministries.org)