The Importance of Creative Imagination by Sandi Somers

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV).

“…we become what we envisage.” ~Claude M. Bristol

Jack and Jo Popjes, former Wycliffe missionaries in Brazil, and Jack now an InScriber, lived among the Canela people for 20 years. They were committed to translating the Bible into the Canela language and teaching the people to read. “We…reinforced that commitment by using our God-given imagination as…we mentally pictured Canela villagers reading the Bible in their own language and applying its truths to their lives.”

Jack wrote later how deeply important creative imagination and visualizing the desired outcome can be. “We have the amazing God-given talent to picture in our mind something that doesn’t yet exist, to mentally create situations that have not happened. Over time, we tend to accomplish the things we think about imaginatively. The stronger and more emotionally we respond to our focused thinking and visualizing, the surer the eventual outcome will match our mental picture.”[1]

Jack’s creative visualization is a valuable process for us as writers. All things are created, not once, but twice, wrote Stephen Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

 “There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation, to all things,”[2] 

The first creation is a vivid mental picture of what your end result will be. “Begin with the end in mind,”[3]  he advised. The clearer your mental picture, the more clearly defined your work will be. You’ll know what you’re aiming for, you’ll understand more clearly where you currently are in the process, and you’ll know that the steps you take will be in the right direction.

After clearly visualizing your end result, you need to develop overall plans. Think through your processes step by step. Forward steps are usually the most logical, but sometimes you can plan backwards, as we taught our ESL students in their job preparation programs:

“Visualize your ideal job, then what is the last step you need before that?” It might mean university or technical training.

“And before that?” Research the universities or technical schools for their programs, entrance requirements, cost, and even the locations.

“And before that?”

Upgrade yourself—GED (high school equivalency tests) and/or proficiency in ESL.

“And before that?”

A “survival job” to pay for the training.

Once you’ve planned, you can begin the actual work. This is the second creation. As you prioritize each task, work carefully and thoroughly. You may make mistakes along the way, but consider these errors part of the learning process.

In examining and planning your two creations, you will align your vision with your values, and doing so will often determine your success. You’ll accomplish what really matters—daily, weekly, and into the months ahead.

Jack Popjes confirms how his and Jo’s creative visioning led to their desired outcome. “Decades later, what we had consistently imagined so strongly became a reality as Canelas read the Scriptures and started cleaning up the negative, destructive, and messy things that Satan had introduced into their culture.”[4]

Jack and Jo’s example can inspire us to engage in the two creations. Ponder these questions.

  • What are your dreams and hopes for your writing?
  • Couple your dreams and commitment with a vivid mental picture of your end result—hold a book that you have written or see it on your bookshelf or in the bookstore. Visualize someone(s) across the world reading it. Bask as you read positive reviews.
  • What are the next steps God is nudging you to take to bring your dreams to reality?

As Christ followers, we are God’s partners. He pairs His strength with our imagination and gives faith to our hopes. He uses our capacity to move us towards our goals and His purposes, bringing our vision to reality. As we pray and dream and write for ourselves and for others, let us visualize with the end in mind.

[1] Jack Popjes. Used by permission.

[2] Stephen R. Covey,

[3] Stephen R. Covey,

[4] Jack Popjes. 

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  1. Tracy Krauss says:

    Interesting concept. I never really thought about it this way before.

    1. Sandra Somers says:

      Thanks, Tracy. Yes, God always surprises us with new ways of seeing things.

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