Close your eyes, let your mind wander back to when you were just a kid, outside and starring into the beautiful universe. Can you feel the wind on your face? Can you see the clouds forming castles above you? Can you smell the grass and the woods? Can feel the stick clutched in your hand like a sword? Can you feel the possibility that the world and life hold?
Upon opening your eyes you might now be faced with a gray and less colorful world, one filled with tedious tasks, stressful responsibilities, financial worries, unrealized dreams, past regrets, or an endless onslaught of tiring and even painful events around you.
What happened? When did we go from seeing the world as wonder-filled and hopeful to merely a set of days to struggle through?
Recently I’ve been reflecting on imagination. What it is, why we were given the ability to use it, and why we let it go. We live in a broken world, a world with a fracture at its center, as children we aren’t as aware of the cracks around us, all we can see is beauty and possibility, but as we grow up and we begin to deal with the chaos of real life, we suddenly, over the course of a few years find ourselves beaten down and tired. We let go of the wonder in exchange for the confining but walls of predictability. But even when we do, there still lies deep down inside of us the desire to, like when we were kids, dream again.
My childhood was one of beauty. I was given a childhood where imagination was not only allowed but encouraged. My young thoughts, dreams, and wonders weren’t seen as childish whims but instead the acts of a child living into the design and image I was made in. My family believed imagination as a child was integral to my development and one of the most important aspects of me becoming the adult I was made to be. You see, when I was pretending to be the hero of the story, I was actually training my mind to envision myself as someone who does right and lives with purpose. When I imagined myself slaying the monsters I was envisioning myself as someone who could overcome whatever difficulty life might throw at me. My imagination as a child prepared me to see and live life in a more beautiful, full, and triumphant way.
Unfortunately we now live in a world where imagination is seen as a childish quality to get rid of with age as it has no use in the lines, boundaries, and methods modernity forces upon us. We throw screens at kids to quiet their youthful energy, we grade them with strict tests so they don’t think outside the box, and we discipline them when they don’t conform to the predetermined expectations of a tepid culture. In doing so we have created a generation of depressed adults preforming their tasks while dreaming of a life that is so much bigger, a life we could imagine when our eyes were young and fully of wonder.
So I had to ask myself, what if somewhere along the way we lost something intrinsic to who we are, an imagination that was supposed to be a part of our entire human experience. What if we have been losing something that was actually given to us by God, something when we engage with we act in the very image of our creator?
God was the first imaginer. When there was a dark, formless void, He imagined into being a grand and endless universe, He imagined a beautiful world filled with wonder and awe, He imagined you. He imagined you.
When we imagine we are acting in the very image of God. Imagination isn’t something to be discarded, but instead embraced and used to envision ourselves, are situations, and the world around us in a more beautiful way.
Nathan Clarkson is coauthor, along with his sister Joy, of The Clubhouse, a beautifully illustrated children’s book celebrating the power of imagination. Nathan and Joy are the children of popular speakers and bestselling authors, Clay and Sally Clarkson.
FREE COLORING PAGES FROM THE CLUBHOUSE
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