The following excerpt comes from Jonah Lehrer’s book Imagine. I should mention that, since its publication, this book has been pulled by its publisher, because it contained falsehoods invented by the author. Both of these stories, however, are backed up by multiple sources:
Take this clever experiment, led by the psychologist Michael Robinson. He randomly assigned a few hundred undergraduates to two different groups. The first group was given the following instructions: "You are seven-years-old, and school is canceled. You have the entire day to yourself. What would you do? Where would you go? Who would you see?" The second group was given the exact same instructions, except the first sentence was deleted. As a result, these students didn't imagine themselves as seven-year-olds. After writing for ten minutes, the subjects in both groups were then given various tests of creativity, such as trying to invent alternative uses for an old car tire, or listing all the things one could do with a brick. Interestingly, the students who imagined themselves as young kids scored far higher on the creative tasks, coming up with twice as many ideas as the other group. It turns out that we can recover the creativity we've lost with time. We just have to pretend we're little kids.
Yo-Yo Ma echoes this idea. "When people ask me how they should approach performance, I always tell them that the professional musician should aspire to the state of the beginner…if all you are doing is worrying, then you will play terribly. You will be tight, and it will be a bad concert. Instead, one needs to constantly remind oneself to play with the abandon of the child who is just learning the cello. Because why is that kid playing? He is playing for pleasure. He is playing because making this sound, expressing this melody, makes him happy. That is still the only good reason to play."
Fear can paralyze. Creativity and Imagination can free us up. Seeing something worth having can provide tremendous motivation.
I think this is what’s happening with Abraham. This Sunday we’re beginning a series within a series. As I preach through Genesis, I’m going to be talking about Abraham for the next few weeks—more than any of the other people mentioned in Genesis.
This week we’ll be looking at what possessed Abraham to leave the lands and the gods of his ancestors to look for another land that had been promised to him by the Lord. The writer of Hebrews says it best…
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. (Hebrews 11)
I hope we can be inspired to have that kind of faith, as well.