Vision

The One Question You Must Ask to Get a Vision for Your Life

May 2, 2018 • By

VIsion.

Without a vision for where we want our lives to go, we drift. We float from experience to experience hoping to find some fulfillment. We chase pleasure instead of purpose and ultimately find ourselves frustrated that things didn’t turn out as we hoped. Proverbs 29 goes as far as to say that people perish when they don’t have a vision. That’s a pretty strong statement but it rings true in the people I’ve met with no real vision for their lives.

They may not be literally dead but they’re a bit like zombies, living out their lives with no real joy, passion, or sense of belonging to something greater than themselves.

A vision for our lives gives us a reason to keep going when the going gets tough. When obstacles come, we don’t give up because we hold a greater vision than simply what’s in front of us. We take our licks because it’s worth it. We deal with difficult people, we get up after setbacks, and we keep moving forward because the vision inspires us, even demands us, to reach for the prize.

A vision for our lives pushes us to grow, learn, and stay healthy. The interesting thing about a great vision is that it requires us to become better people than we currently are. When I had the vision to plant a church, I had to grow into a person who listens better, endures much, and stays physically and emotionally healthy. When I wrote my first novel, I had to learn about story structure, formatting, and promotion. You cannot accomplish big things without being willing to grow, learn, and work your butt off.

So what about discovering a life-vision? When you have one, it helps to guide you into the future with purpose and fulfillment. It keeps you from wasting months and years floating around wondering what you’re supposed to do with your life. Well, here’s a big question that will help you when you’re trying to make sense of your future and move from uncertainty to focus.

What do I want the end result of my life to be?

Like any good plan, we have to start with the completed results and then work our way backward. Our lives are really no different. Do we want to be able to look back at our lives and say that we did our best to lead our families? Do we want to be able to say that we helped the less fortunate, were generous with our time or made a positive impact on the world around us?

Grab a notebook and a pen and spell it out. Journal, seek the Lord and determine what you want to be said about you at your funeral. How do you want to be remembered?

Don’t worry about getting it wrong. Writing out a vision for your life does not mean that it’s now set in stone. It just means that you now have some direction, which is a huge step in the right direction for many people. Now you can tweak it, pray over it some more, expand it, and dream about how you will get from where you are to where you want to be someday.

Also, once you have a vision, you can start to define your purpose and mission in life. But you can’t do that until you’ve established a vision.

I hope that you’ll take this question seriously and start to do the work to develop your life vision. There are very few things that you can do that will lead to more meaningful decisions, more fulfillment, and greater growth.


life

How to be More Alive

April 21, 2018 • By

One of my favorite quotes is by Saint Irenaeus and it goes like this, “The glory of God is man fully alive”.

I know it’s actually a miss-quote but I really like it anyway. The expression “fully alive” really inspires me. It reminds me of Christ’s offer of a rich and satisfying life. It also makes me think of how many of us aren’t really fully alive. We’re alive in the sense that our hearts are beating and we’re walking around, but we’re plagued by unfulfilled hopes, abandoned dreams, and lives that make little to no impact on the world around us. When our ideas of a good time are watching TV or taking the edge off with alcohol, then we’re missing out on a whole lot of actual living.

It seems more like we’re kind of alive but not fully.

There are many reasons why we don’t live fully. Too many to list here. But I thought I’d share four things with you that might help you move to a greater place of fullness in your life.

Never let shame settle in.
Nothing sucks the life out a person like shame. Shame over our appearance, shame over our lack of anything, and especially shame over our actions. I had a conversation the other day with a friend who was wrecked by shame because he lost his temper at work. It’s like he was stuck in that moment, unable to enjoy life. You can’t live fully and hold onto shame at the same time. You can’t learn from your mistakes either. Accept God’s forgiveness, forgive yourself, grow from it, and get back to living.

Don’t compare.
Comparison can be deadly. For years I struggled with comparing myself with my peers in the same age group. Most of my friends owned houses before I did, they made more money than me, and generally seemed to be enjoying life a whole lot more. In addition, my pastor friends seemed to be reaching more people than me, and I imagined that there was an excitement about their ministries that made mine seem boring. When I learned to accept the uniqueness of my own journey, and that God’s blessing and favor were on my life, regardless of my own definitions and expectations of success, I could stop comparing, and start enjoying life right where I was.

Give yourself permission to dream.
Disappointment happens. And the older you get, the more disappointments stack up and it’s easier to stop dreaming than it is to keep getting your hopes up. We focus on failures, missed opportunities, and unfulfilled hopes instead of believing that the best is yet to come. By the way, no matter how old you are, it’s still okay to believe that the best is yet to come. Dream! Have big hairy ideas. Set audacious goals and go for them. Without a vision, we parish so keep dreaming!

Appreciate where you are while taking steps to move forward.
How often do we look around ourselves and express gratitude for where we are in life, and how God has taken care of us? Gratitude is the gateway to joy and appreciating where we are gives us an excitement for what’s next. But don’t stay where you are, keep moving forward. Read another book, take another step, create strategies for reaching your goals and act on them. I heard once that a rabbit’s heart beats just as fast the day before it dies as it does when it’s younger. It keeps moving and running until the end. I want to be like the rabbit. God forbid that I ever choose to bench myself and spend my days watching TV and complaining that I’m too old. There’s just too much life to live!

I hope you choose to live a life that’s fully alive. I hope you accept God’s best for you, dream big, live gratefully, and never stop moving forward!