In just a moment I'm going to ask you to close your eyes. When you do, pay close attention to what you see. Are you seeing only darkness and the back of your eyelids, and perhaps the changes in light passing through the thin layers of vascular skin? Is there a reddish tint, perhaps even the pulsing of your blood vessels? All of us can see those things if we aren’t visually impaired. Try it again. Close your eyes and be mindful of what you see with your actual eyeballs.
Now. What happens when you close your eyes and try to visualize a green chair?
Were you able to conjure an image of a piece of furniture to sit on that is the same color as lush spring grass? Or are you unable to see an imaginary green chair in your mind's eye and all you can see is the back of your eyelids? Chances are you could imagine some form of a green chair.
Very few of you, if any, were not able to do this. If by chance, you are can not picture an image of a green chair, it is because you have a rare disorder called Aphantasia. This condition is simply defined as the absence of the mind's eye, or the inability to visualize things mentally.
Yeah, so what I’m saying it that there are people who have no visual imagination!
Are you completely fascinated by this concept right now? I know, it's wild. Okay, so now try to imagine a waterfall. Folks with Aphantasia can think about the sound of rushing water, the feeling of mist on their face, or even the smell of damp earth and rocks... but they do not get a picture of any of that in their imagination.
Mind blowing, right?! Stay with me. I’m about to use this as a way to understand that self-discovery is futile without revelation of the Gospel.
Imagine a person who has not chosen to accept Jesus as their Savior or surrendered their life to God as having "Spiritual Aphantasia". A person who lacks faith in the Gospel suffers from this "disorder" that keeps them from seeing God for who He really is. They are literally incapable of seeing God or themselves on a Spiritual level.
Like a person with Aphantasia attempting to visualize a green chair, an unbeliever might be able to intellectually conceptualize a deity or religious figure, but they can’t receive a deeper revelation of who God is and who He created them to be. It is impossible to know who we really are without true Spiritual awakening through faith in Jesus.
Are you still with me? Great, let's go deeper.
Your soul is the core of your identity; the unique masterpiece that is you. In its original condition, untouched by the world and unscathed by experience, the soul closely resembles it's Maker, but with unique features unlike any other creation. Each soul has an individual purpose and destiny. It also possesses complete freedom to either embrace or dismiss all of that.
The soul experiences life on earth with the mind, heart, body, and spirit through thoughts, emotions, senses, and the supernatural.
Our spirit is where we connect to Holy Spirit. It's where our soul senses His prompting, receives Power to perform supernatural acts, etc. When we are born again and Holy Spirit awakens our spirit, we are healed of “Spiritual Aphantasia”, so to speak. We can see God everywhere and understand the goings on of everyday life through a new lens. Like getting glasses for the first time, everything is so much clearer! Even our understanding of who we are and our reason for being comes together like pieces of a puzzle. We can suddenly see the bigger picture and that is what reveals our purpose.
We can think we know who we are apart from God, but our understanding of our Father’s love and our own identity is incomplete and sadly lacking without the unveiling of the spirit through faith in Jesus.
To make up for what’s missing, we can try to be better versions of ourselves according to the world’s standards, but until we come to faith and receive the Holy Spirit, we can never even conceptualize our true potential or know how very, very loved we are. And we certainly can’t understand the unique way in which He designed each of us to bring Heaven to earth, which is our purpose.
Our hearts will always feel a longing and confusion about our purpose until Holy Spirit enters in and awakens our spirit to supernatural communication and loving interaction with the Living God. That ongoing communication creates intimacy with the Father and brings revelation about our identity. His love shows us who we are.
Spiritual awakening through faith allows us to recognize our Maker and be restored to our original condition. He lovingly tends to all of our scars and bruises.
Jesus came to restore our souls so we could have right standing with the Father.
Our God is in the business of putting things back the way they should be. The Hebrew word for restore also means health. Health is a state of well-being.
When we desire in our hearts to connect with God in the spirit, our souls are made well and we can finally recognize our true identity as His children. Keeping our souls in a state of health as we walk through this life does take some work, a lot of intention, and a commitment to Heaven's agenda.
I'm going to ask you to close your eyes again, but this time all I want you to do is pray. If you are suffering from “Spiritual Aphantasia” and you have tried to engage in self-discovery apart from knowing Christ as your Savior, start there. Ask Jesus to make Himself known to you and He will. That’s a promise
Maybe you know Jesus, but you feel like your spirit is napping and needs to be woken up. Pray this prayer now and get ready to become aware of His presence once again!
Awaken my spirit, Lord, so that I can see your Kingdom, know you more fully, and remember that I am fully known by you. Reveal more of yourself to me so that more of you can be revealed through me! Jesus, I want to finally know myself as you made me. Show me the unique ways in which you created me to show this world your love. I ask these things in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.
There are so many ways to tend to every facet of your soul and I'm passionate about helping people do just that. Soul care for the purposes of looking like Jesus so that others might see Him is a huge part of Collected Workshops. Why don't you head over and learn more about what I do there and then email me if you think my team could be of service to your community!
I'd also love to hear your thoughts and start a discussion around this kooky idea of "Spiritual Aphantasia". Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Collected Podcast drops new episodes every Thursday. Each interview is full of inspiration and resources to help you discover and operate from your truest self.