Worry: A Waste of Imagination

by: Steve Flynn

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly kids can get lost in imagination. Have you ever watched this happen?  Within seconds, my daughter can go from the living room to a full on adventure in some far away land featuring herself as the princess and the closest stuffed animals or barbies her loyal subjects. 

What happens to that incredible ability to instantly transport ourselves into a world of imagination? I have a theory. 

I don't think our time spent in a fantasy world ever decreases, it simply changes. As we become more aware of our surroundings and what we have to lose, we trade fairytales for scenarios of fear and failure. Our imagination transitions to worry.  

We  have endless material to feed this new world of fantasy. Ever Google the cause of an ache or pain? - that alone is enough content to keep you occupied for a while as you contemplate your final days resulting from that headache you have. 

How about having children - that's terrifying. From the time you find out "we're pregnant!", to the delivery, sleepless nights, when they're sick, when they fall, when they go to school, when they choose friends...

Then there's work. Am I fulfilling my purpose in life? Will I get this project done? Am I going to make payroll? Is this my last great idea? Again, more anxiety building as our imagination runs wild with thoughts of what could be. 

So how do we take control of the movie reel in our minds? Here are a few practical steps:

1. Pursue Big Goals:

When we are young, there is no limit to what we dream up. Rational thinking and reality teach us to limit what we think we can do. Without big dreams, we are left to worry about the small details. What if you added fresh adventure to your life by pursuing a dream? Sometimes called "Mount Everest Goals", these are the things that take incredible focus and discipline to achieve. They also tend to strengthen mental focus as you overcome fear and doubt. 

2. Focus on Others:

Some of the most carefree people I know spend most of their time serving others. It's as if they are so caught up in the needs of those around them that they forget to worry about themselves. I've found that sometimes the cure to anxiety is to stop focusing on ourselves and go to work helping those around you. 

3. Quiet Your Mind:

Last, but certainly not least, stop to quiet your mind with prayer. Often the cure to a wondering mind is to simply place our fears and anxiety in the hands of God. I typically find that when I go back to pick them up after, the burden is much lighter. 

Refuse to allow fear to take away your God- given creativity and imagination. Commit to implementing these strategies into your life today. As a famous Walt Disney quote says, "Worry is a horrible waste of imagination."