Updated: Oct 11, 2021
Backstory: April 2020, like many of us, I was struggling with all that our world was encountering. The brokenness, the lack of community, the anger and the halting of every schedule and every plan. I was apathetic, numb, and exhausted. After mentally doing gymnastics around the grief in my heart, I finally sat down with God listened to what he had to say.
In the past couple of years, God has been forming me in the ways I have learned to hear his voice. One my favorite ways this has been explained is, "God created your imagination and He can use it to speak to you."
In this type of creative prayer, I still my heart before God and try to picture him. Often where I find myself in the picture tells me how my heart feels before God -- am I on the floor at the door? Or am I curled up next to him with his arm around me? Are we walking along a road or sitting by a creek? There is so much in these spaces that I get to explore with God as he speaks to me and molds me.
If you're new to using your imagination in prayer, the biggest piece of advice as to whether something is from God, is whether it lines up with Scripture. The pictures you see in your head, and the words you are hearing can be tested against the character of God in scriptures. He is consistent and doesn't change. If you aren't sure if what you saw or heard is from God, ask a trusted friend who also loves Jesus. We aren't meant to do life alone.
Journal entry from April 2020
I just spent some time in imaginative prayer. I was telling God that it was so hard to be separated from community and that I didn't understand what was going on. He looked at me with love in his eyes and reminded me that I didn't have to understand everything because he does. I cried because I was sad for all of creation and asked him to show me which part of creation he loves the most.
He showed me the tiny ants working to build a nest. He took me to the top of a mountain where there was beauty beyond what one person could take in. He took me to the depths of the ocean to show me a fish like a worm that nobody has ever seen. Then he turned to me, put his hands on my shoulders and said, "You. I love you and all my people the most, you were made to commune with me, and walk with me this intimate way. The desire you have to be sought after and pursued is a part of my heart too.”
I continued to talk to him and share my burdens. I shared the grief I was experiencing as the world shut down and the sadness that threatened to overwhelm me. He told me, it's ok to feel sad as long as I am heartbroken with him, right in his embrace, instead of trying to hold it all together myself or diving into distractions.
He reminded me that being in a place of needing him was not a bad thing. Feeling these depths of confusion and grief were not new to him. We weren't supposed to be self-sufficient.
If the Israelites didn't need God, they never would have experienced the manna and the miracles in the desert. With a need comes his provision.
He sat with me on that heavenly mountain top and reminded me of all the physical mountains I've been on, from California to Colorado, Maine, and Marseille. He asked me if the hard hike to the top was worth the summit, and I said, "of course it was because the beauty was unlike anything I could see on ground level!" He reminded me that even when it feels overwhelming or hard, the summit will be worth it, and he will continue to be with me the whole time.
While I sat there resting in his presence, he offered me some sweet manna and let me eat it while looking at the beauty he made. I asked if I could come back to this space here with him anytime I feel overwhelmed, he looked at me with love and said, "of course my child."