I’m reading through Rory Noland’s classic book Heart of the Artist again, specifically the chapter on the artist and sin. This is something every one of us creative types needs to grab a hold of. You see as creatives, our stock in trade is our imagination. It allows us to see what others cannot see. It allows us to conceive of things that do not yet exist. Next to God, imagination is everything. The thing is, imagination can also really mess us up.
From fantasizing things that take our thought life to places they should never go, to imagined slights and arguments and worries and fears, imagination can be our second worst enemy. It can create battles and conflict and fears and even trauma that exist nowhere but our minds. The danger of course is when we fail to separate the imagination from what is real and we start to do what creatives do best, bring imagination to reality. To be sure imagination can be misused and most of us are susceptible to this misuse.
How can we avoid this? We guard our hearts and we take our thoughts captive as Scripture says. At the first sign of a negative imagination, we need to look at that thought and recognize if for what it is, an attack. We need to say that never happened, it’s all in my mind and then we need to repent. “Repent?” you say, “but I haven’t done anything.” You’re right, you haven’t… yet. It’s not sin to have the thought, the sin comes when we begin to entertain it. Make no mistake about it. The enemy knows imagination is the “super-power” of every creative, and he wants nothing more than to corrupt it. So when (not if) negative imaginations come, the best thing we can do is hand them over to the Lord, right away.
Let’s use our imaginations in sanctified ways and throw everything else out. Anything not helpful is not worthy of the amazing gift God has given us.