Imagination is funny, it makes a cloudy day sunny
Makes a bee think of honey just as I think of you
Imagination is crazy, your whole perspective gets hazy
Starts you asking a daisy “What to do, what to do?”
Have you ever felt a gentle touch and then a kiss
And then and then, find it’s only your imagination again?
Imagination is silly, you go around willy-nilly
For example I go around wanting you
And yet I can’t imagine that you want me, too.
This song, by Jimmy Van Heusen & Jimmy Burke, is a favorite song of mine. I am a big fan of these songwriters and others like them, from that time and place. And I’m a big fan of the concept of “imagination”.
IMAGINATION (Oxford English Dictionary):
- the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects, not present to the senses.
- the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful
- the part of the mind that imagines things
Personally, IMAGINATION is the tool I use the most for creating, arranging, designing, writing and teaching/preaching. I need to “see the final product” (which hasn’t yet occurred or been constructed) before it is built or composed. I need to form ideas from things I’ve seen and haven’t seen. As an only child, my IMAGINATION was necessary to keep me busy, and I developed and polished it early on, which is what makes it such an important tool for me now.
Teachers, through my years of Elementary and Secondary Schools, continually wrote on my report cards that I “had a very active imagination”, and they didn’t always mean that in a GOOD way. And many more knowledgeable people than I have seen the IMAGINATION as a threat to doctrine and religion. Some communities of faith and disciplines have considered the mind’s IMAGINATION a thing to be avoided, as it is the tester of free will, which often would lead a Follower & Believer astray from the solid Truth of God (in their opinion). After all shouldn’t we, they say, rely on what we see and know…which, I should point out here, is contrary to entire concept of FAITH.
Is IMAGINATION truly a bad thing when it comes to our spiritual lives, our hearts, and the very Light inside that is God-In-Us? Is it a bad influence on the way we behave as representatives of the One True God? Historically there are arguments on both sides. Joan of Arc is said to have been confronted by the Church, as they were confounded by her “unorthodox” structure of belief, and that God spoke to her directly. They saw her only as a female child, and yet, her success was contrary to what they believed should be the result of a person like her. In the movie about her life, “MESSENGER”, she is asked if the voice she hears is not her IMAGINATION. She answers that indeed it is, for that is how God speaks to her. Although this quote is somewhat apocryphal, the true Joan said this same sort of thing often in different forms.
This is what I believe about IMAGINATION, God, and us: I believe that our God-Given IMAGINATION is not used enough. I believe that our IMAGINATIONS bring us close to this Truth: God will use whatever language necessary to speak directly to our hearts and restore us.
I believe that FAITH requires the use of a good and continually exercised IMAGINATION, to know “…the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen…” (HEBREWS 11:1). I believe that anyone who claims to have NO IMAGINATION is fooling themselves. Our IMAGINATIONS are used every day, one way or another.
I also believe, like everything, IMAGINATIONS can be poorly used. Jesus talks about bad use of our IMAGINATIONS constantly. He calls it WORRY (IMAGINATION gone rogue).
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (MATTHEW 6:24)
“Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.”
“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things.”
Isn’t WORRY just an active IMAGINATION gone bad? Isn’t it just IMAGINATION without boundaries or focus? Or maybe it’s focused in the wrong direction. You can IMAGINE the good or the bad, it’s your choice. But Jesus says that WORRY not only doesn’t add “one hair to your head”, but is proven to actually, scientifically, to shorten life, along with taking the joy away.
Once again, I don’t believe we use our IMAGINATIONS enough. They may be filtered through our culture, our nurturing and education, along our journey of life. But IMAGINATION can also be powerful and beautiful. IMAGINE the answer to prayer. “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (JAMES 1:6) Isn’t that what belief truly is, IMAGINING the answer, seeing what hasn’t happened yet?
OF COURSE we are influenced by our own paradigms and environment, just as every other saint who walked the earth has been, and that is why we ask God to protect us from ourselves. That is when we rely on the Spirit of God to do what the Spirit is promised to do: lead us into all truth. (JOHN 16:13).
I should only speak for myself, but I know that IMAGINATION is one of the greatest tools in my own personal doctrine and belief that I cannot imagine my world without it. IMAGINATION is powerful enough, with the Spirit, to change situations, events and life entirely. Like the song says, “…it makes a cloudy day sunny.”