In 1962 my family moved from Syracuse, New York across the country to Bethany, Oklahoma, otherwise known to easterners as the land of cowboys and Indians. The first thing we did was visit the Cowboy Hall of Fame. My older brothers dressed the part. Bruce and Flip looked like they walked off the set of Bonanza in their new boots and hats.
Looking up from his Yashica Mat camera lens, I heard my father’s booming voice declare, “Christine, you can’t do that! You’re a girl. Girls can’t be cowboys.”
I felt deflated.
My fascination with fashion started young. The only girl among three brothers, my mother loved dressing me up, but one morning, at three-years old, I insisted on putting my own outfit together. It was my first attempt at runway design. I beamed with pride insisting my daddy take a picture of my outfit.
“Daddy, I want to make clothes when I grow up!”
A hearty laugh slipped out between my father’s lips and his always-in-his-mouth-as-long-as-I-can-remember Swisher Sweet cigar. “Well, Honey, that’ll be the day!”
He adjusted his lens, snapped another picture and announced, “Christine, you have a really active imagination!”
I felt defeated.
There were many times my dreams were met with heavy doses of doubt. The words, “Christine, you can’t do that!” echoed in my mind. It didn’t take long for me to comprehend what the real message was: Little girls who dreamed were wasting time fanaticizing about things that would never be.
As I grew into my teens, I had big-girl dreams. I wanted to be somebody, to do something big, to make a difference in this world. But the thoughts and dreams never made it out of my mouth. The toxic thought patterns were already set: I can’t do that. Who am I anyway? Why would anything I envision ever come to pass? Imagination is a waste of time.
Words spoken over us can became engrained in our own thought patterns. What others say about us we tell ourselves. “You can’t do that. You’re not good enough.”
From an early age, I learned two things. One, that imagination was not a good quality. And two, whatever I imagined, I was not capable of.
That’s the trap of the enemy. The earlier we believe a lie, the deeper the roots go. Lies that bring despair, depression and disillusionment. Lies that stop destiny.
But the reality is: Not everything we believe is true.
When my father told me I couldn’t do certain things, he was trying to protect me from disappointment. He wasn’t trying to belittle me, but as a young girl, I was not able to process his words. I perceived “You can’t do that!” to mean, “You aren’t worthy. You’re a nobody. Other people are capable, but you don’t have what it takes, so quit trying.”
The devil starts early, ravishing our young minds, bending reality, twisting truth, until he gets us to a point where we stop believing.
Don’t stop believing!
It’s hard to write those words with singing the rest of the song.
Do-on’t stop…..believing….hold onto that fee-eeling.
Ok, sorry for the detour! Anyway….
It took me a long time to realize that my imagination is a gift from God. That without vision I would perish. That God gave me my really active imagination because He wants to align my vision with His vision for my life. Many of the dreams I have were planted there by God Himself!
For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you to give you a hope and a future.
Press on for the mark, for the prize of the high calling.
Keep your eyes fixed straight ahead.
I ran across this picture the other day. And the Lord said this to me. “It’s time to reimagine some things. I want you to see things in a different light. The way you perceived things growing up has tripped you up, held you back, got you to stop believing, but now it’s time to recreate, to see things from my point of view, not your twisted reality.”
The Lord told me to use this picture of me sitting in father’s lap as a focal point to reinvision my past so I can move forward into a successful future. He told me to look at this picture and imagine my father speaking truth over me.
You CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
You are a conqueror in Christ Jesus.
God has a great future for you.
You are strong in the Lord and the power of His might.
Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.
That may sound like a silly exercise to you. But…If we want to get rid of lies, we HAVE to replace them. We can’t erase lies. We have to replace lies with truth. And replacing is intention. It’s not passive. It takes time and energy. We can’t just hope lies will vanish. We have to reroute our thinking patterns.
What about you? What lies have you embraced?
- It’s too late for you.
- Nobody wants you.
- You’ll never get over this.
- You’ll never make it.
- You’re not good enough.
- Too old
- Too young
- Too inexperienced
- Too weak
- Too fat
- Too ugly
- Too skinny
- Too pretty to be smart
Woooo! Stop! Can you imagine God ever saying those words about you? Absolutely not! And to allow those thoughts to stay between your eyeballs will hinder God’s plan for you. It’s time to deliver an eviction notice!
What are the lies you’ve believed? I want to challenge you to take a moment to identify the lies in your life. Then ask the Lord to give you a focal point that you can use to begin the process of re-imagining truth. Maybe, like me, it’s a picture. Maybe it’s a place you can go that brings peace and stimulates truth. Maybe it’s an activity like running, taking a walk, or whacking a tennis ball. God will show you. It’s time to erase the lies and re-imagine! God has a beautiful future in store for you!
As for me, I ran across another picture in our family photo album—a sneak peak of my future.