Is Your Imagination Betraying You?

Erik Cooper —  June 25, 2012 — 4 Comments

I usually freak out under the weight of something a little more interesting.

The Greek debt crisis.

An unexpected major car repair.

Fox’s cancellation of House on Monday nights.

But this was a new one, even for me (and I nurture worry like a connoisseur of fine wines). I drenched most of my Friday evening in a deluge of distress because of the overwhelming presence of…

some new landscaping.

Sure it’s true, Indiana foliage can trigger some pretty wicked allergies, but this was just good old fashioned neurosis. It wasn’t the flowers, shrubs, and trees themselves that bothered me. It was what they potentially represented.

The complete destruction of my perfectly concocted game plan.

We just bought a beautiful new house. A 7 year old model home, investor bankruptcy, never been lived in, crazy steal of a deal. As part of our agreement, we negotiated with the builder to lease the house back from us for 5 months while they built their new model and office across the street. Not only would this give me an opportunity to develop my character living at my in-law’s house (all kidding aside, they’ve been amazing), it would also provide us extra funds to do some improvements to the house before we moved in.

We budgeted down to the penny. But then I saw those stupid bushes!

The builder has gone all Extreme Makeover Home Edition on their new model, erecting most of the super structure in less than a week. The drywall in a day. The brick and siding in an afternoon. So when I saw the complete landscaping package get planted on Friday afternoon, my brain could only deduce one thing:

They’re going to finish this house early and cancel the last month of our lease. I know it!

My imagination went wild with scenarios. How will we pay for this? What will we do with that? We’ve already committed to this. I snapped at my wife, ignored my kids, and retreated to the isolation of budgets, spreadsheets, and side dish of self-pity.

The truth? Nothing has changed. We confirmed the original game plan with the builder on Saturday morning. But even if my assumptions had been accurate, I broke a cardinal rule that I counsel others with almost every day.

Worry is a poor use of imagination.

Our minds can dream up some pretty spectacular things. Produce art. Solve problems. Improve quality of life. Save lives. But our imagination can also be our worst enemy. Worry is a lazy (and I might even say dangerous) use of our creative potential.

Jesus said:

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” -Matthew 6:34 NLT

Worry is a poor use of your God-given creativity.

What are you obsessing about today? Is your imagination betraying you? Let’s talk. Share it with us in the comments below.

4 responses to Is Your Imagination Betraying You?

  1. Walter Martin Jr. June 25, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    I can totally relate to how you reacted with the weight of worry on your mind. I still work on it today to apply not worring and letting my imagination go crazy! It’s so hard with being born into sin but when I remember what God has done in my life to this point I get some peace of mind and relize that I need to stop letting worry entertain my imagination and do the best I can and leave the rest in God’s hands. Its all I can do and I have no control because im just a squirrl in God’s world trying to live for him more and more everyday! Thanks for the post! I needed it!

  2. Thank you for this timely reminder. I was just worrying over how to live on the little we have in the bank while my hubby continues w/ grad school. We don’t want more debt, & have a family of 6 to support on NO INCOME. God brought us here, & has made it amazingly clear that we are exactly where He wants us. We (meaning I) need to remember that He has a plan, he hasn’t left us hanging, & we will be able to meet our financial obligations one way or another. We just need to stop wasting time worrying, & start trusting Him more.
    Thank you again.

    • I always think it’s good to have a plan. Trust in God doesn’t eliminate our responsibility. HOWEVER, always imagining the worst, or using our creative capacity to assume worst-case scenarios is a poor use of that imagination. Praying God shows up for you in a beautiful way during this unsettling time.

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