Last January, prior to becoming familiar with terms such as Covid, lockdown and mask mandates, a group of approximately 40 women came together for a fun and exciting 2020 Vision workshop. Yes, before we became accustomed to daily updates of Covid cases and deaths, we were incredibly focused on creating our best year ever! For those of you who attended, when was the last time you looked at your vision board? Realizing 2020 was probably the most tumultuous and heartbreaking year any of us have ever experienced, I can understand why your vision – your dreams took a back seat. However, the point of my blog today is to encourage you to revisit your vision board again. Identify the areas that call for celebration (no matter how small) and look for the places where you can spark those dreams once more! I can testify that when I spoke of “clarity” a little over a year ago, I never imagined how that word would manifest itself in my life. I’m pleasantly surprised at what God helped me to accomplish during such a disruptive year. What is important to remember now, maybe more than ever, is that He alone must be our source. God will give us the grace to complete whatever He has planted in our hearts to achieve but you must believe and stay focused!
Staying focused begins with writing down your dreams and goals for the year and for your destiny. This is critical to living a joyful, purpose-filled, intentional life. Most of us are familiar with this scripture found in Habakkuk 2:2, And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” But how often do we read the next verse? “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Dreams take time. How many times have we heard that anything valuable is worth waiting for! But would you agree that we can feel angry and discouraged when we look at the world around us? If we aren’t careful, we can even fall into that comparison trap or simply want to give up because no matter the degree of our efforts the “dream” just seems unreachable. Our frustration and distress compounds when we see others accomplishing their goals. My purpose today is to shake you up and give you the encouragement needed to get started again!
The act of planning, documenting and displaying our vision helps us through these difficult times. This process provides reminders, faith steps and teaches us several important lessons: first and foremost to press into God for our purpose and His creativity, it provides clarity and focus for day-to-day living and well into the future, it shows us how to celebrate the small victories and to develop patience on the longer journeys. If we never take time to determine the purpose for our journey (our WHY), map out the path, necessary stops along the way and times of recalculation (WHAT), including destination points (WHERE), how will we ever know WHEN we have arrived? The world around us often seems out of control but peace is found by fixing our focus on Jesus, His instructions and purpose for our life! So now let me ask you, are you interested in traveling with us on the “visionary’s journey”? Let’s get started and explore the vast opportunities God has for us.
The best way to get started is to ensure that you have soaked your mind in the presence of God. This looks different for everyone. Many individuals spend time in the Word, praying, fasting and worshipping to ensure they are experiencing clarity and discerning the prompting of the Spirit. All throughout this process we must remember WHO we are living for. In Colossians 3:23-24 we are reminded to “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.” We no longer live for money, accomplishments or the admiration of people. As you wholeheartedly surrender to Him, confess any unrepented sin and seek to obediently serve, I have no doubt you will receive the inspiration needed and see your dreams come true. I’m living proof!
After you have prepared yourself, honestly evaluate your gifts, talents, passion and
resources. As you consider what you’re passionate about, ask yourself if you are also proficient in that area. This quite possibly is your spiritual purpose – your WHY.
Sometimes we don’t recognize our own talent and that’s okay. What you are called to may feel uncomfortable, maybe even unbelievable, too hard or it appears as if you’re too late, but don’t get caught up in those lies.
They are only sent to discourage and defeat you. This is where the grace of God is more than enough and necessary!
Next step is to translate God’s vision into faith goals and practical action steps. Many of your goals will take more than just hard work or dedication. You must believe in yourself and God. Remember that faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1) So don’t hesitate, now is the time to dream --believe great things about God, ask great things of God, attempt great things for God! Begin to identify areas of your life to focus on. Here are some examples, you may have others:
• Faith • Intellect
• Marriage • Health/Physical
• Kids • Career
• Finances • Habits (form new ones/stop old ones)
• Relationships • Integrity
Once you have identified the primary areas of focus it is time to set some SMART goals. These are dreams with a deadline!
On this map of your journey, SMART goals serve as destination points intended to help break large goals into bite-size pieces, they can keep you on track and measure progress. If you ever have a moment where you feel like you really blew it, or simply took a detour and got off the path, don’t let that be a discouragement. Consider it a “rest stop,” a teachable moment, opportunity to recalculate – learn from it and move on.
Finally, the fun part! This is where we create something that will draw us into our dreams! Consider your vision board as a tool to motivate you to stay focused on your goals. Look at it every morning and every night. Receive an “instant pep talk” and TELL your brain what to do! Typically vision boards are for goals we hope to accomplish in 6 – 12 months. You could also design a dream board for your 5-year plan. An unknown author once said, “You will never leave where you are until you see where you’d rather be!” And scripture provides this wisdom, “Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8) and finally this truth -- “As a man thinketh, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7).
God has plans and a purpose for every one of us. Our responsibility is to live with intention and reflection by soaking our mind in His Word. We must also search for and give attention to our God-given dreams and develop a vision. Then to stay on course and persevere through the difficult times we must have stepping-stones or goals which help us continue to move in the right direction. These steps will enable us to live determined as we fulfill our purpose and honor God. Remember if He calls you to it, He will give you the grace to complete it!