By Helen Arnold
We live in a world where what we believe is so often defined by what we can prove. We make decisions based upon evidence that we can see. We seek certainty and ask endless boding questions. Will a job give us a good salary? What medical benefits does the contract include? If I go to this college, what does the research suggest my employment prospects will be? If I use this medicine does evidence suggest it will work? The list is endless. We make decisions based upon the evidence, the facts, the truths, risk based analyses, and anything else that can be quantified and made tangible in our minds.
We look at employers like - Apple, Google, Pinterest, Air B’n’B, John Muir Health Care, local schools and judge them good places to work based upon results such as share price, vacation days, and published employer ratings and reviews.
Yet, here’s the irony…All of these organizations began from a place of Faith, a place of Imagination, and in order to prove their worth, had to push through the door of the intangible.
Many of us know the start-up stories of Apple (in a garage in Palo Alto), Google (founded by two students with a friendship and an idea). What about Pinterest? It’s founder, Ben Silbermann, gave up plans to become a doctor, founded Pinterest during the recession, saw early failures, and yet, continued to have faith to grow the company.
All of these organizations came from something intangible, and involved two key ingredients:
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire. You will what you imagine. Then you create what you will.”
-George Bernard Shaw
Imagination is a gift. We all have it. We use it every day, we imagine futures for ourselves and for our families, we imagine weekend fun, trips to the mountains, winter skiing, or sunset walks along the beach. We imagine ourselves every day enjoying and working in the world that God used his imagination to create.
Sometimes we don’t use the gift of imagination wisely. We use imagination to worry.
Worry is a misuse of your imagination. Because first you imagine something in your mind, you start to become fearful about it, and, then you rehearse it, over and over and over again. God didn’t give you your imagination to picture something that generates stress.
God gives us the gift of imagination to help shape our lives. The Bible says in Proverbs 23:7, "For as a man thinks in his heart, so he is."
God gives us the ability to shift our thoughts to what is good, what is noble, what is helpful. Our imaginations shape the spouses we select, the jobs we seek, and the artwork we create. And, mercifully, our imaginations often rescue us when in the midst of difficult times.
Yet for all the benefits of our imagination, our successes and our choices require imagination’s intangible companion: Faith. Together they create something more.
Faith is our way of seeing. Faith is our hope when we don’t have the visible endpoint, or when we can’t even imagine one.
What is faith?
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
God imagined each of us and God created each of us uniquely to have purpose in this world, to impact where you are uniquely placed for him. Are we doing that? If so, keep hope and faith.
But if not, you’re not alone. So many of us feel adrift in the busyness of life, the never ending chores, the grocery shopping, the bills to be paid, or the keeping up with different schedules or expectations from others. But, God has given us a gift. The gift of imagination.
Take an opportunity to sit down and imagine what God wants for your life. Write down all the things you would like to do, and remember that for God nothing is too small. Think about your desires, your talents and your passions. What are your Dreams?
God can do anything; you know—far more than you could ever IMAGINE or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by his Spirit working deeply and gently within us.
Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)
So here is the challenge:
Will we base our dreams on what we think we can do?
Will we base our dreams on what God can do?
Speak to someone you trust this week. Pray with them. Don’t keep a dream hidden in your heart; take a step of Faith. God created you for purpose. God has given us imagination to help us fulfil purpose. Who knows, you may be the bioengineer that imagines the cure for the common cold; you may be the person who dreams of sharing your faith with your friends; you may be the person God asks to stay at home to raise your kids. Most importantly, I pray that we are all the people who are brave enough to say, “I’m following Jesus today and I will follow his dreams for me.”
Click Here to listen to Brave Faith Project - Part 3, and hear the talk that inspired this post.