Updated: May 31, 2021
What if? The question of the imagination.
I've had people in my life tell me they don't have an imagination. However, I think if a person can ask "What if?" and come up with an answer of any kind the imagination is present. Because if you can worry, you can imagine. If you can dream, you can imagine. This sacred place of imagination is given to each of us.
Say the words to yourself and fill in the blank "What if ______?"
What was the first thing that came to your mind? What ifs can threaten us and they can free us. For some what ifs are a constant threat to safety and security. My husband John, is a 6 on the enneagram - what if's of safety and possible problems are constant in his mind. For some, what ifs are creativity and problem solving. And for all, what ifs can be freedom.
Up until a few years ago, I found myself stuck in only asking the kind of what ifs that pulled my mental health and anxiety further into a hole. I'd see that quote about "what if I fall? Oh but my darling, what if you fly?" and I understood, but never found myself asking "what if I fly?"
What if (pun intended) I could look at a certain "what if" from another side of it's depth. Instead of looking from the place of lacking, what if I could look from abundant curiosity? What if I could imagine something more about a longing in my heart - words I had spoken, but not believed.
I'll be super honest - somewhere inside of me I consider myself an artist, but I wouldn't tell you that. In fact, I recently told someone that I wasn't and they gently encouraged me to rethink. In the past when I've heard the word "artist" I thought of those who create with their hands something tactile that you can instantly see is beautiful. Perhaps that is what brought me to "making" things like wreaths and candle holders and whatever else I had an idea for. But writing was never considered art for me personally, only for others.
So the other day I challenged myself with the question. What if I considered myself an artist? I wrote a what if poem (below). Each what if question line building on the next. It was as if a dream a prayer and a longing were all let loose and playing in the field that was before me. The what ifs held no anxiety or worry - only creativity and dreaming leading to a place of freedom.
Do you have dreams and longings and prayers building inside of you?
Can you name them?
Perhaps you've been pushing them down as unworthy endeavors.
What would happen if you let them breathe and play together in a "What if" way?
Consider writing your "what if" questions or prayers that build on each other and see where it leads you.
When you finish hold your what ifs gently in silence with God.
What if I considered myself an artist?
What if I saw each word on the page as my creation?
What if I saw each word on this page as an act of creating?
What if I saw each word on this page an act of God creating through me?
What if longings and stirrings and jumbled thoughts in my head are all the pieces of the artwork?
What if my pencil is the brush?
What if I only have to be free enough to let the words tumble over the barrier I created, over the person I thought I should be?