The fifth entry in my journey towards a deeper relationship with God:
Our imagination is a powerful thing. God has given us an innate creativity to envision things.. things that can be used for His glory, that can be used to picture a life with him, that can be used to help us and motivate us into the dreams we have in our hearts. It can even help us get closer with God if we master it wisely. But often, our imaginations can run wild, and sometimes it may wind up doing more harm than good. Sometimes, it may misalign us with God and his will.
Take me, for example. I’m a pretty emotional person. That is, I tend to feel things with greater passion and increased sensitivity. It is how God has wired me. As a result, when I am happy, I feel really happy. But the same is true when I am sad. And when that happens, I can get really sad.
Sometimes it’s not even that. Sometimes it’s even more subtle. And it’s how the enemy strikes best.
A friend facebook messages me, “hey, are you free to talk?” Oh no, he’s struggling with something. Oh God I hope his girlfriend didn’t break up with him. He must be devastated. Turns out he wanted to ask what urban album he should buy. Another friend doesn’t show up to class. Damn it, he must’ve overslept again. I can’t believe he is so irresponsible. Turns out it was a doctor’s appointment, and he emailed the professor already. Another person doesn’t come to church. Oh no, she’s backsliding. We’re going to lose her any day now. Turns out she was in New Mexico that weekend.
See what I mean? My imagination runs wild, freely roaming to indulge in all these negative scenarios that are based on absolutely nothing! It has the enormous capacity to destroy those very relationships if it is continually dwelled on.
This is dangerous because the enemy is an opportunist. He does not fight fair. And this is where I am vulnerable. He can attack me here. It is here that I am most susceptible to believing his lies.
That’s why Paul says that we have to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Obedient to Christ. That’s the key. That’s what I have to learn.
Too often my mind overreacts. I get paranoid about what people think about me. I dwell on things I shouldn’t have said or felt stupid for doing, and I wonder if the person who I think I’ve inflicted harm onto is thinking negatively of me. Sometimes I go so far as to think that I have irreversibly ruined the relationship. Before, I used to envision scenarios where I am victimized, and this ugly masochistic side of me rears itself and somewhat delights in the pain I consciously inflict upon myself in these fantasies.
It was a result of lingering pain and brokenness from my life’s love story. I have already dealt with and have been healed from that.
But the paranoia? It’s still there. That’s what I need to take captive of. That’s what I have to submit to Christ.
God doesn’t want me to think those things. He doesn’t want me to dwell on them. All I am doing is making myself vulnerable to the enemy, making dangerous agreements with his lies and being seduced into thinking that everything I am speculating is true. When it is not. John Eldredge calls it “The Snare of Speculation.” It is a dangerous trap that destroys relationships if left unchecked and not submitted to Christ’s truth and lordship.
I have already been freed from my problem of dwelling. God is now revealing to me the paranoia and overactive imagination that is keeping me from believing the truth he speaks to me everyday.
Sanctify my imagination Lord. Forgive me for allowing my imagination to entertain ideas of victimization, ideas that are unwarranted and have no basis in truth. Forgive me for being so godless in this area of my life. Give me the strength and tenacity to give you my paranoia every single time it happens, Lord. I trust you with my relationships, I trust in what you are doing in them. Make my mind holy, God. I give you my dreams as well. Thank you for using everything I think as a chance to get closer with you. I love you.