When I was a little girl, one of my favorite VHS tapes was Kids Sing-A-Long: Camp Melody. The beginning and ending song was called “Imagination” and I can still quote most of the lyrics. For nostalgia purposes, I found the video on YouTube and not-so-embarrassingly-enough, just sat through the entire 25 minutes and sang every song. It took me back more than 25 years and with tears in my eyes, I began to re-live a piece of my childhood.
Imagination, Imaginationn, Imaginationnn, Imaginationnnnnn!”
Everyone’s Imagination – Imagination
Things aren’t always just what they seem.
We can be whatever, we want to be
We can see whatever, we want to see.
Just use a little bit of Imagination!
Thinking back to my childhood, I remember playing for hours using my imagination. Imagination is such a gift that the Lord gives children. How exciting to be able to imagine anything!
When I was really young, I had an imaginary friend named Asabaca. She got me in trouble once when she told me to call her on the telephone and my dad wouldn’t let me. He told me that I could hold the phone up to my ear, but when I started dialing numbers, he put a stop to that phone call. I wasn’t very happy about that. I remember going upstairs and crying to my mom and when she asked me what was wrong, with tear-stained, little cheeks, I told her, “Dad won’t let me call Asabaca!!”
Actually almost all my entire childhood memories stem from some sort of imaginary situation. My friends and I would play anything that we could think of that would mimic real life situations.
“Do you wanna play grocery store?”
“Let’s play bank today!”
“Or what about restaurant?”
Restaurant was probably my parents favorite game that my friends and I would play, because we would clear the dinner dishes and wash them ourselves, all under the guise of “playing restaurant.”
At one point, I was on this kick of playing job agency. How I knew that was a real thing at that young of an age, I have no idea. But I literally remember pretending that people called me to find a job and I would take down their information and interests and promise to find them a job as soon as I could.
Among the many things that I played, of course, school and house were my favorite.
Most people in the education profession that have wanted to be a teacher since childhood, remember fondly the days of playing school.
I remember the first year that I began teaching, it almost felt like I was dreaming. I guess in all reality, I really was living out a dream. Despite the hard days (my childhood imagination didn’t prepare me for disrespectful and talkative students…), I loved every single thing about it. There were countless days that before turning out the light and locking up to go home, I would peer back in my classroom and think “I can’t believe this classroom is really mine.” I was a teacher and I was living something I always imagined.
As we grow up, it almost seems like our imaginations begin to hide. Reality sets in and new problems arise. I was reminded of this in late August.
It was shortly after I joined the Bumble app and I saw someone I recognized on there. I didn’t do anything about it and we didn’t match, but a few days later he called me and asked me about it. I am not sure how to describe this person, maybe in between a friend and an acquaintance. I would probably call him my friend because I care about him, but we rarely talk or see one another – maybe once a year, so maybe that puts him more in the acquaintance category.
Anyway, we will call him Mac. And this is sort of how our conversation went- the best I can remember it anyway.
Mac: What are you doing on an app like Bumble anyway?
Me: I know, I regret it pretty much every other day. So, I am not sure.
Mac: Well, it’s probably rare, but you could come across a Christian on there, I suppose. You might have like a 2% chance.
Me: See that’s the thing Mac, I am not looking for a Christian. I am looking for a man of God.
Mac: Yeah….well, you aren’t gonna find him on there then.
Me: hahaha that’s what I have been thinking.
Mac: Your chances have just gone way down – maybe now like 1% OF the 2%.
Me: Thanks for the encouragement.
Mac: I am just keepin’ it real. Finding a “man of God” as you would say, that is not already married, is going to be very hard.
Me: Yes Mac, Thank you, do you think I haven’t learned that?!
You might think our conversation was a bit disheartening for me, but I actually got off the phone encouraged. I laughed often during that phone conversation. I think it felt good to have someone agree with me that what I am looking for is hard to find. It felt good that he understood what I was searching for instead of actually telling me that I needed to lower my expectations or just settle on being with anyone that claims to be a Christian. And as I reiterated to many people, I am not looking for perfection. I am not looking for someone to always make the right choices and to never make mistakes. I am just looking for someone who follows Christ and knows His Word. I am looking for someone where their actions line up with their words. I am looking for someone who when they do mess up, they are humble enough to recognize it and admit it and they know how to bend their knees and repent. I am looking for a man of God. Not many people will understand that and my words will most likely be misconstrued, but I guess that shouldn’t matter. He will be MY husband one day, so I will be the one doing the choosing. Even if I only have a 1% of the 2% chance in finding him.
A few days later, I was ending my work day and looked down to find a text from Mac. He told me he found me a man of God and asked if he could give him my number. I laughed and rolled my eyes, not believing it. He later called me and gave me more details. He said he worked with a man that just seemed different than most. Mac told me that during the occasional “guy talk,” this man did not join in on what he called, “guy humor.” Mac told me that he stood out and that his faith seemed strong.
“So today at work I asked him if he was a man of God,” said Mac. “You did WHAT?!” I asked with a smile on my face. I asked Mac what he said in response.
“He said yep,” Mac recited nonchalantly.
I laughed again and thanked Mac for helping me out, even though I was not the least bit excited. I still didn’t quite believe Mac and thought he was probably just pulling my leg.
Mac is a bit of a dreamer as well and during one of our conversations he actually said we should film a reality show “Searching For a Man of God.” He said we could go downtown and hold up a sign that said, “Are you a man of God?” As ridiculous as the notion sounded, Mac has a way of making anything sound realistic.
So I thought him finding a man of God at his place of work, just days after we talked, was as believable as us starting a reality TV show.
But at this point, I had nothing to lose, so I gave him my permission to pass on my number. “How do you feel about men with beards?” Mac asked me. I told him I was indifferent about it and laughed.
The next day or maybe a few days later, Mac’s co-worker texted me. We spent a few days texting and then set up a date for Thursday evening.
Even though trusting Mac is sometimes questionable in my eyes, I knew I could trust him to set me up with someone safe, so I let Co-worker pick me up for our date.
We ended up going to dinner and as we were finishing up, he asked if I wanted to go to Starbucks to continue our date. Normally, on a Thursday night, I would have been ready to go home and prepare for the school day ahead of me. However, because of weather conditions, school had actually been cancelled the following day. So I agreed to Starbucks.
Mac was right. Co-worker was a man of God. It was fun to talk with him about theology and his family background. He was very nice and sincere and I was thankful that I agreed to Starbucks. After awhile, I started getting pretty tired and so we ended our date and he drove me back to my house.
The next day, Co-worker texted me and said, “Thank you again for going out last night. I had a great time.” We sent a few more texts back and forth and that was it. I didn’t hear from him after that.
Maybe a guy can sense when the girl isn’t really feeling it. Or maybe Co-worker wasn’t feeling it either. And what I mean by that is chemistry…a romantic connection…the indescribable feeling you get when you can’t wait to get to know someone more. That was missing for me.
So here is where probably about half of you reading this will be shaking your head, wishing you could reach through your screen and strangle me.
You might be thinking, “GIRL, you FINALLY found a man of God and you are letting him go because you aren’t feeling it?!
And my answer would be yes.
Yes, because I began to wonder why I ever stopped using my imagination like I did when I was a child. Maybe it is because as adults we are no longer innocent and naive of the world around us. We grow up and realize that fairy tales don’t really exist and many of the romantic movies have plots that don’t seem to happen in real life. Those movies stemmed from someone’s imagination and that is it. So I think as adults, we are scared to imagine. Imagining means we are believing something to be true that will probably never exist.
But when did that switch happen? When did imagining something equal the same thing as achieving the impossible?
I stopped for a second and blocked out what other people would say about my dating decisions and one day future marriage. I didn’t want to hear anyone’s advice. I wanted to imagine for a second….for a few minutes. And so I let myself go. I let myself imagine.
I imagined meeting a man that had a smile that almost took my breath away. A man that had beautiful eyes because they had a light in them that only the Holy Spirit could provide. I imagined being physically attracted to this man and desiring him to hold me close in his steady, strong arms. But then I imagined getting to know him and seeing his heart. I imagined seeing how much he sought after the Lord on a daily basis and how much he cared for others around him. I imagined him to have strong convictions but communicating them without judgement on others. I imagined us connecting on all levels – emotionally, physically and spiritually. And I imagined falling deeply and hopelessly in love with him – all of him – his beautiful heart, his endearing personality and his physical body.
And then I imagined him seeing me for the first time. I imagined him thinking that I was beautiful and then getting the courage to approach me and tell me that. I imagined him thinking my quirks and flaws were actually endearing and him getting the desire to want to care for me unlike anyone else he has ever cared for before. I imagined his arms aching until they were wrapped around me. And I imagined him seeing my heart and my love for the Lord and others. I imagined him falling deeply and hopelessly in love with me – all of me, my heart, my personality and my body.
I imagine us entering into a relationship together and doing our very best to follow God’s plan for relationships. Most likely at times we will fail, at times we will probably hurt one another’s feeling and we might even have some disagreements. But I also imagine us apologizing to one another, wiping away each other’s tears and reiterating how much we care about the other person. I imagine us praying together and growing closer to the Lord, all the while growing closer to one another, until one day this man decides he can’t imagine a day without me in his life and he asks me to be his wife. And I imagine feeling like the happiest woman on this Earth.
I don’t imagine having a perfect marriage. Instead, I imagine it will be hard and challenging, like all marriages are. But I imagine feeling safe and secure, knowing this man will never leave me no matter how hard it gets. I imagine him knowing me deeper than I have ever let anyone know me before. And I imagine him letting me in to the parts of his heart that he never let any other woman enter. I imagine asking God to be the center of our marriage and receiving blessings because of it. I imagine having a marriage, where others will wonder how we do it. And then I imagine speaking into other couples lives and telling them the importance of following and trusting in our Heavenly Father even when the world tells you otherwise.
And then I step back into reality and wonder if all my imaginings will just always be that. An imagination that never shows it’s face into reality. And I begin to have a small battle play out in my head. One side tells me to imagine and to hope and to wait. And then another side tells me to stop imagining. Imagination is for children – innocent and naive children that do not know how the world works yet.
And as I go back and forth deciding which side I should choose to live in, I remember the little girl in the basement of her parents house teaching a lesson to an imaginary classroom while writing conjunctions on the mini chalk board and singing a song from School House Rock. And I wish I could go back there and tell her that it will come true. That her dream of teaching and standing in front of the classroom will happen. And she will one day teach to a classroom of actual students and she will be good at it. Students will learn from her and hopefully remember her, years after they step out of her classroom for the last time.
I wish I could go back and tell that little girl that. Tell her to keep imagining and that one day it will turn into her reality. I bet she would smile really big and get very excited.
So when I think about that, why can’t it happen again? I wish my future married self could come to me right now and tell me those exact things that I wish I could go back and tell that little girl playing school.
I wish she could come tell me. “Keep imagining because one day….one day…it will turn into a reality.”
And yes, I am grown up enough now to know how the world works. But you see, I also know how God works.
Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or IMAGINE, according to his power that is at work within us.”
Ephesians tells us that God has that power. God has the power to do more than we imagine.
So…present day self…I give you permission to keep imagining. And to those that read this today, what do you want to imagine, but you are too scared to do so? Because whatever that is, you have my permission to imagine it.
Please. Go imagine something big. And don’t let anyone stop you.