Misusing My Imagination, by Wendy DeRaud


"Madonna of the Rock", Oil, Mark DeRaud

"Worry is a misuse of the Imagination", Dan Zandra.

Being in a lifelong struggle with worry, and wanting to see my artistic imagination set free, I have been on a quest to eradicate worry from my life.


What I am learning is that when I speculate or imagine something about my life or my loved one, it takes me out of the present moment and focuses instead on the problems that we are both facing. I am making an unfair assumption that things will never change, and that God isn't present and at work in the situation. This is false and unhealthy thinking.


When I find myself ruminating upon that problem, turning it over and over in my mind, supposing that by thinking, I can find solutions, I am off on a wild goose chase in my brain, and it's hard to stop (especially if I am lying in bed, needing to fall asleep, but instead decide that's the time to solve all my problems).


Not only that, spending my time fretting about something can shut down my imagination and creative life.

You may be thinking, if I'm not supposed to be using my brain to try to solve all my problems, what AM I supposed to be thinking about? We sometimes feel so compelled to worry, fret, fear, it feels like the most obvious way to be thinking, when really it's the most destructive.


Then I am reminded that what God says about me is true, that I have been given the mind of Christ. When I think His way, then I can think properly. I call it, “screwing my head on straight”.


It is hard to even imagine what having the mind of Christ even looks like, it seems too extraordinary and unreachable. Yet it is very simple to see. Without going into the theology of it, or cross-referencing to try to convince you, you can try what I and many others have experienced to be true:


        Enter His gates with thanksgiving in your hearts.


I've found that the mind of Christ consists of, and is within, my thankful thoughts. When I think of what I'm thankful for, and dwell on those things, my thoughts shift dramatically, as if by some very mysterious power, which is the spirit of God. It's just that simple.


God dwells in our praises and our thanksgiving. He has made all good things, and when our thoughts are aligned with what He is doing, what He is blessing, then in turn, our thoughts are aligned with His.


He has given us an easy guide to follow: ”Think on these things," He says, after He lists what He wants us to be thinking about: everything true and noble, right and lovely, excellent and praiseworthy, everything that's honorable, just, whatever is pure, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Give yourself some time and I'm sure you can think of something. Even in the searching and trying, you will be helped.


You may be thinking, “I already know this!”


I know you already know this.


We all have heard the exhortation to be thankful and try to be thankful, from the very beginning of our walk with Christ. But you and me both know that when the going gets tough, our brains forget. That's why we constantly need to remind ourselves and remind each other (very politely and without judgment) that thankfulness is more than a platitude, it is a necessity.


My thought-life suddenly can mean life or death to me, so habits of thought, habits of imagination, can become more significant when we are tempted to worry, be anxious or are hit with depression or fear, and need to engage in battle with them.


The spirit will always help us. And we will let the spirit help us best when we choose to think our best and brightest, most thankful thoughts, before we take up our brush, our pen, our guitar, our creative tools, and release our imaginations to reach for the stars, or whatever fantastic place we may want to go. That thought of gratitude makes our journey oh so much sweeter.