I read a story about the Grand Opening Ceremony of Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It reported that at the grand opening, Walt Disney had already passed away. He wasn’t even there to celebrate its’ completion. But at the ceremony, the host of the evening recognized Mrs. Walt Disney’s attendance by saying, “Mrs. Disney, I just wish that Walt could have seen all this.” She reportedly stood up and said, “He did,” and sat back down.
He saw every detail of Disney World before it ever manifested. Where? In his imagination. Albert Einstein said, “Your imagination is everything. It is a preview of life’s coming attractions.” I want to challenge you to stretch your imagination, open your mind up to new possibilities and new opportunities that God wants to bring your way. Your imagination is your mind’s ability to envision your future. Let’s look at the word I.M.A.G.I.N.E. to help you pursue your dreams.
Imagine Your Future
Before you can do something, you’ve got to imagine yourself doing it. Before you can have something, you’ve got to imagine yourself having it. Napoleon Hill said, “If you do not see great riches in your imagination, you will never see them in your bank balance!”
What does IMAGINE mean? To form a mental image of; to conceive; to produce by the imagination; to think; to believe; to form images. How do you use your imagination? You sit quietly and you think, you dream, you see yourself doing something that seems impossible or out of reach. Once you’re able to imagine it, you are one step closer to having it.
The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV): “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Look at the illustration of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:6. They were trying to build a tower that could reach heaven (and this was before they had concrete mixers, cement trucks, cranes, power tools) and the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do, and now nothing they have imagined they can do will be impossible for them.”
In other words, if you can dream it, God can do it! The problem is: most of us have stopped dreaming. We’ve stopped using our imagination. I want to challenge you to devote time today to sit quietly and just think. Dream. Imagine at least one area of your life being different. It could be your finances. Your savings account. Your debt being paid off. Your weight. Imagine it.
Make a Dreams Book
Next, I want you to write what you see. Your vision and goals must be on paper! Habakkuk 2:2 says, “Write the vision and make it plain on paper.” Something happens when you put your dreams on paper.
I read a story about Jim Carrey that proves the power of writing your vision. In 1990, Jim Carrey was a struggling young Canadian comic trying to make it in Hollywood. He drove his old Toyota up to Mulholland Drive and would look out at the city below and imagine his future. He even wrote himself a check for $10 million, and post-dated it “Thanksgiving 1995”. He wrote in the notation: “for acting services rendered.” He carried that check (his dream) in his wallet everywhere he went.
By 1995 (the year he post-dated the check), after the huge box office success of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask and Dumb & Dumber, his asking price had risen to $20 million per picture! When his father died in 1994, he placed the $10 million check into his father’s coffin as a tribute to the dad who taught him to use his imagination and dream.
The Bible gives us a major success key in Habakkuk 2:2-3 (CEV), “Then the LORD told me: “I will give you my message in the form of a vision. Write it clearly enough to be read at a glance. At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time, but keep on waiting and it will happen!”
I like to put all of my dreams and goals in a book. I’ve done this for years and finally, it dawned on me, part of my “VISION” is to provide people with the resources to help them pursue their dreams. So, I created a “dreams notebook” where all you have to do is find a picture, tape it in there, write your dream. Be sure to get your copy so you can get your dreams on paper and ready to pursue this year.
Assign Time Daily to Review Your Dreams
When Olympic decathlon, gold medalist Bruce Jenner asked a room full of Olympic hopefuls if they had a list of written goals, every single hand was raised. When he asked how many of them had that list with them right at that moment, only one person raised their hand. It was Dan O’Brien. Dan O’Brien was the one who went on to win the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Don’t ever underestimate the significance of writing your vision and keeping it before you.
Joshua 1:8 (NKJV) says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” YOU have to do the same thing with your DREAMS & GOALS! You have to keep them before you constantly…day and night! Out of sight is out of mind.
Goals Must be Set
Vague goals produce vague results. I learned from Jack Canfield that in order to make a goal effective, it needs to answer two questions: how much and by when? In other words, how much (many): Pages, pounds, dollars, square feet, points, etc. By when? A specific time and day.
For example: “I will lose 15 pounds” is not as powerful as saying, “I will weigh 110 pounds by March 15 at 10:00 AM”. Be specific. Habakkuk 2:2 says to not just write the vision but make the vision plain. So when setting the goal for your life, be as specific as possible. Diana Scharf Hunt said, “Goals are dreams with deadlines.”
Initiate Action Now
We can’t sit around and WISH things would change, we’ve got to DO something! In Luke 5, we read the story of the four men taking their sick friend to see Jesus for healing. The place was packed and there was no room for them to get in. So they went the extra mile. They didn’t conclude that there was nothing they could do. They were proactive.
Luke 5:19 says, “When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
Notice it says, “When Jesus SAW their faith…” How can you see faith? He saw their ACTION. And He gave them what they were after. He healed him. We must be proactive.
James 2:20 (ESV) says,“Faith apart from works is useless.” Abraham Lincoln said, “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle!”
So what do you need to do? Enroll in that class. Call the travel agent. Book the cruise. Meet with the bank. Get the resume typed. Form the business. Write the book. Meet with the Realtor. Save the money (with this week’s paycheck). Join the gym. Propose to the girl. Record the CD. Volunteer at the shelter. Preach the message. Go on the interview. Nothing happens until you take action.
Never Speak Against Your Dreams
The more time you spend in God’s Word and reading good faith-building books, your imagination IS going to expand. Whatever you think about expands. Your image will improve. Ideas will be birthed. Confidence will be gained. You begin to BELIEVE “all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23).
The Apostle Paul said, “I believed, and therefore have I spoken” (2 Cor. 4:13). When you begin dreaming of new things in your life and you BELIEVE it, you will automatically begin speaking it.
Stop speaking against your own dreams…no matter how impossible they look right now. Remember, some things will NEVER change in your life until you begin speaking them out loud. It’s not enough to think it, you have to SPEAK IT.
Before my Dad ever preached a sermon, the Lord put it on his heart to act as if he had a crowd of people listening to him preach. He would go as far as preparing the sermon, praying for the people who would one day listen to him preach, putting his suit on and going into his guest bedroom AS IF he were preaching to thousands of people.
Can you imagine? HE COULD. His imagination could see thousands of faces listening to his every word, lives being healed, saved and delivered. He could see it so strong on the inside of him, and in order to perfect that image, he acted as if it were already happening. Eventually, it actually began to happen.
Getting dressed, studying and praying were all acts of faith to show that he was that determined to reach his dreams. Proverbs 23:18 says, “…and your hope and expectation shall not be cut off.”
Hebrews 10:35 says, “Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward.” In other words, don’t let go of your dreams, your expectations, your faith, your vision. Stay focused and you will be rewarded.
Charles F. Kettering said, “Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.” When what you see on the inside becomes BIGGER than what you can see on the outside, then God begins to bring the ideas, the opportunities, the resources, and the relationships to make it happen. It all begins with what you can or can’t imagine. Remember, “Nothing you have imagined to do will be impossible for you!” If you can imagine it, God can do it.