A Meditation on Having a Calm Confidence Through Imagination
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God created you as a being of imagination. It’s part of our being created in God’s image. The very first thing we see of God in the Bible is that he first imagines, then makes it so. Genesis 1 repeatedly states how God said, “Let there be,” and then “and there was…”
We can only imagine the reason God created us with such powerful imaginations. One day, in our resurrected bodies on a resurrected world in the kingdom of God, we’ll know the powerful good our imagination can create.
But in this Genesis 3 reality your imagination’s power is always creating realities in your life in both good ways and bad ways. It empowers your idolatrous desires and greatest insecurities. And your imagination creates good and bad realities in your relationships. In your ambitions. And in your body’s physiology and chemistry. Your body is always responding one way or the other to your imagination.
Imagine holding a lemon in your palm. Imagine cutting it in half, noticing textures and scents. Squeeze the sour, pulpy, yellowish juice into a glass and raise it to your mouth. Inhale the citrus scent. Take a big mouthful of lemon juice. Imagine the taste and texture on your tongue, the bittersweet juice, the pulp. Is your mouth watering as though the experience were real? In response to mental images, your brain’s olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste) centers are activated, triggering the real, physiological response of saliva — but there is no lemon. You’re not tasting lemon right now. But your imagination of the reality of it is putting that reality into your body.
That’s why the Bible gives you powerful imagery to imagine. Learning to imagine biblical, spiritual realities will affect your body’s physiology. Imagining the true reality will keep insecurity and anxiety from running in your mind and heart. When you imagine your regrets or conflicts by themselves, insecurity and anxiety are going to take charge. But when you imagine them in the context of the One Thing that really matters most, insecurity and anxiety lose their power in your mind and heart and body. AND in your relationships. They will be replaced by a calm confidence.
Henri Nouwen — reflecting on how often we read that Jesus would get away on a mountain top to be alone with God the Father
“Solitude is being with God and God alone. Is there any space for that in your life? Why is it so important that you are with God and God alone on the mountain top? It's important because it's the place in which you can listen to the voice of the One who calls you the beloved. To pray is to listen to the One who calls you "my beloved daughter," "my beloved son," "my beloved child." To pray is to let that voice speak to the center of your being, to your guts, and let that voice resound in your whole being. Who am I? I am the beloved. That's the voice Jesus heard when he came out of the Jordan River: ‘You are my beloved; on you my favor rests.’ And Jesus says to you and to me that we are loved as he is loved. That same voice is there for you. When you are not claiming that voice, you cannot walk freely in this world.”
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Our audio engineer is Diego Huaman.
This podcast is a ministry of The Crossing, a church in Columbia, Missouri, a college town where the flagship campus of the University of Missouri is located.