Imagination: The Source of Fear and Fulfillment

My favorite story about the power of imagination comes from the life of Walt Disney. After the completion of Disney World, someone lamented, “Isn’t it too bad that Walt Disney didn’t live to see this?” Mike Vance, former Dean of Disney University replied, “He did see it. That’s why it’s here.” The story is a reminder to us of how a preferred future must be imagined before it is experienced.

Imagination works in the opposite direction as well. Mental health communities are filled with people who imagine things that are not there. Their imaginations become so strong they can no longer function in a healthy way. Each of us in smaller ways allow our imaginations to get the best of us too. Have you ever thought someone was upset with you only to later find out it was all in your head? Without reason you may think your neighbors are secretly laughing at your lawn (for an instant remedy come take a look at my lawn). Or you think a coworker is scheming for your job. The list could go on and on.

Imagination channeled in a positive direction leads to vision and fulfillment. Negative imagination leads to fear. In Matthew 14 the disciples experience the negative side of imagination. When Jesus walks on the water to help them in the middle of a storm they imagine him to be a ghost and become afraid. I once heard a definition of fear that fits this scene well - fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. The very One who was there to save them was seen as a threat. The One who embodies love was seen through fearful eyes. If only they could have seen clearly. Instead of fear there would have been great joy.

In looking at this story over the past four weeks we have learned several signs that indicate you may be living in fear. They include 1) a failure to leave your comfort zone; 2) a failure to ask “What if?” and 3) surrounding yourself by those who are just like you. Today we see the final sign you may be living in fear.

You might be living in fear when you see things that are not there.

Is there something you are believing today that simply is not true? Is the possibility of failure or pain causing you to see things that do not exist? Are they keeping you from imagining what could be? Why not be like Walt Disney and use your imagination to see your preferred future? Say no to the false evidence in your life and move forward in faith.