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Warning: Imagination Overload Can Lead to Stress

Facing the unknown with a full throttle imagination can be stressful. Like a bag of potato chips, I find myself addictively dipping into imagined scenarios to explain what I don’t know or understand. The problem with imagination is its very nature is comprised of the ability to form images and ideas in the mind, especially things never seen or experienced directly. It’s a great resource for painting pictures, writing stories, or inventing new approaches to things, but it’s function is NOT the same as the functions of fact.

It’s hard to be both creative and realistic with the same brain. I know this because I have this type of brain.

On the one hand, I’m thrilled to exercise the talents God has given me. In fact, just recently I’ve had the blessing of being encouraged by other Christians to use my specific creative gifts. (Visual art and writing endeavors are often less welcome in the church than musical creativity.)

However, on the other hand, my imagination needs to be controlled in certain settings to keep from bringing added stress to myself and others. I need God’s grace and other’s patient wisdom to indicate when my thoughts are unbalanced and lean more toward imagination than fact. When I hear from advisors, I must be humble and teachable in order to learn where my weak spots exist. (I also appreciate when their response is balanced, too. For example, when people are equally faithful to tell me if my imagination is useful, I’m encouraged.)

I’ve found the Bible to be the perfect source of wisdom to keep balance in my life. The trick is to look to it daily for help and apply the knowledge properly.

Creative or not, we all have struggles with our imagination, and sometimes we  need to reign in our thoughts AND MOUTHS to stay sane and not stress those around us.

For the artist, I believe this becomes an important step of self-control. When huge obstacles and unknown fears threaten to overwhelm us, we must understand how our rampant imagination can add to our stress and the stress of others.

If we think our minds rule, or we have trouble stopping speech or thought flow, we need to focus on these verses.

“However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

“For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” 1 Cor. 2:11

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Here’s my new Texas saying, complete with a Texan accent….

The problem with a rampant imagination is the same one that might concern a rancher with a run-away bull.

“If you don’t git yer mind corralled, sooner or later the story you tell will git you gory instead of glory!”

Do you know any other good sayings about imagination and/or gossip?

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