Word Pictures

#inspiration, words, mental imagesDo certain names bring images to mind? Can a few words or a name produce a story in your imagination?

I found this happening on our travels as we encountered many interesting road signs. Some names not only brought pictures to mind but also had me wondering about the stories behind them. In most cases, I didn’t know the history and my mind created possible scenarios.

We passed through Kinloss and I envisioned an epidemic in the area resulting in the death of many family members. The next town was Lucknow and I thought of better days ahead.

The town of Chatsworth had me creating a more elaborate story. Maybe it was because so many places in this area had British names. In my mind’s eye I pictured Lord and Lady Chatsworth at their summer estate in this area. It was the early 1900’s and their grand balls brought aristocracy from afar to this little village.

With the absence of facts, my imagination took over with these and many other places with names that piqued my interest. Don’t even get me started on business names like Black Market Produce!

The point is how often do I hear a few words and jump to conclusions without getting all the information? Do I believe everything I hear from others or do I seek the truth?

That took me to my next thought. When others hear my name, what picture comes to mind? Have they heard a negative word or two that has them imagining the worst or do positive images take over?

The way I live my life will impact how people perceive me. If I’m not open and honest you can’t really know me and that is where the misconceptions and inaccurate stories come into play.  The question is, am I willing to drop the mask and be honest?

What if?

imagination, games, dreamsOur seven-year old grandson was spending a couple of days with us. Two adults to spoil him and no siblings to share the attention with made for one very happy boy.

As I played Snakes and Ladders with him he said things like, “What if I gone one more and got to go up the ladder?” or “What if you got three instead of five and had to go down the snake?”

This line of thinking continued after the game. I’d hear, “What if …” and he would talk about a fantastic make-believe experience. I soon realized that our time together was filled with “What ifs?” In his imagination there were no boundaries. He was free to dream, limited by nothing more than the power of his mind.

I marveled at this and wondered how different my life would be if I adopted this attitude. Instead of limiting myself, based on fears of failure, I would say, “What if” and follow my dreams.

Someone once told me that it was far better to say, “What if” and then work to make it happen, than to look back and say, “If only.” I may not always succeed, but will not suffer the regrets of having never tried.

What I need to remember is that none of my “What ifs” are too big for God to bring to fruition. In fact, many of these may be dreams that he has planted deep in my heart. When I was struggling with self-doubts, a good friend changed the course of my life by saying, “What if God wants to bless you with this?”

If it is truly a dream that God has given me, he is more than able to make it happen. I just need to trust and go along for the adventure.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in good time. 1 Peter 5:6 NIV

Child’s Play

Jesus, inspiration, dreamsWe sat on a bench in the sunshine enjoying the sights and sounds of children in the playground. When we first arrived there with our grandchildren I heard shouts of, “Take my picture;” “Look at me;” or “Push me on the swing.” The longer we were there, the less the adults were noticed.

What impressed me was the imagination of children at play. They were unselfconsciously creating the worlds that existed in their minds. New children arriving were welcomed into the fantasy. During this time anything was possible. We watched as one became a superhero. Another waved an invisible magic want to make it rain cookies for those around her!

At one point in life I must have had the same creative imagination. I wonder when and why it disappeared. Perhaps it was when I became too concerned with what others thought. In striving to be like everyone else, I gave up the freedom to dream about who I could become.

The good news is that Jesus has bigger dreams for my life than I could ever dream for myself. He is not limited by my lack of imagination. He also has the power and ability to bring those dreams to reality. My part in this is to pray for his leading and then trust and let him direct me. Instead of limiting his power in my life by asking, “Who am I to …?” I need to give him full reign by saying, “In his power, who am I not to?”

For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, put gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV