“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” Ephesians 3:20
Not that long ago, I had a group of college age students on the low ropes course, and the goals for the day were to create community and trust among the members of the group because they were new freshman just starting out their college experience. One of the first things I do with a group is to get them to use their imagination by setting each challenge up with a scenario. “Imagine that…..you are a group of elite scientists….” “Imagine that…..you are a group of devoted firefighters….” “Imagine that ……you are a group of arctic explorers…..” I go with whatever I think will engage the group the quickest. Doing this helps the group consider such things as resources and skills and gets them out of the reality of the challenge being difficult and in some minds, impossible. It also helps them embrace the challenge with a positive attitude, which is important from the very beginning.
Some groups love to use their imaginations, and others, not so much. I can tell a lot about a group and how they will perform just by whether they embrace this or not, and usually those who actively participate in using their imaginary scenario end up being the most successful in the group challenges. Those who do not are usually the groups who end up bickering, complaining and competing for position before finally coming together as a group to successfully complete the challenge.
Imagination is an incredible tool, especially when we think about where it can lead us and what it can lead us to accomplish. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attraction. I love the truth packed in this statement.
I think one of the reasons we have been given the gift of imagination is so that we can successfully move beyond our past and into a bright and hopeful future. Just like the students I mentioned, often the challenge of our future can look difficult and even impossible, even if we desperately want it. The past can scream so loudly that the we find ourselves stuck in the following ways.
- We get stuck in the past defining us. When we allow our past to define us, we become whatever the past says we are instead of what the future says we can become. Our reflection in the mirror always lacks in beauty and grace in the outline of our past. The pain which accompanies the past can stifle any growth and dictate our circumstances and relationships negatively. Past failures, abuse or wrong choices can create the most distorted reflections we see in the mirror.
- We get stuck in the past confining us. When we allow ourselves to be defined by our past, we close the door on our future and become trapped. Motivation and hope cannot exist in the confines of the past. Healing cannot take place in our hearts and we give up the power of our voice in the past. Time cannot flow when the past is screaming to our soul. Past messages of unworthiness can scream the loudest and create seemingly insurmountable walls.
- We get stuck in the past blinding us. Giving ear to the loud scream of our past dirties the filter of our heart and mind, and keeps us from seeing things in the proper perspective. Dirty filters create wrong emotions and thoughts which in turn keep us from seeing what our true future can be and who we really are. We lose our sense of gratitude for life and the roads we have traveled. Wisdom cannot take hold and grow when we are blinded by our past. Past hurts, especially by those we love can create the most blinding dirt and debris in our hearts.
The truth is that we are so much more than our past and all of the pain or baggage attached. We are free to loose its hold and travel outside the confines of our past, silencing its voice in our souls. We are free to change our perspective and recognize the moments of our days as blessings and opportunities which move us into our hopeful future. We are invited to imagine in our mind’s eye how beautiful our future can be without strict definitions, boundaries or dirty filters. Why? Because we have been created to do so, and we have a Creator who takes all of our past and uses it not for defining us but for refining us, according to His power within us. Maybe, we need to consider that resource which is immeasurable and completely blows our past out of the water.
We have a Creator who promises to out perform even our wildest dreams!
Wow! Imagine that!