Vision

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We are officially 35 days into the year 2018. The new year always brings about a revived sense of commitment to resolutions, many of which fall by the wayside three months into the year. I know this personally. It’s a vicious cycle I experience. But, I really want this year to be different, so I decided to trim the fat on my usual list of New Year resolutions. I wanted to concentrate on a single target that just might encompass everything else I’ve historically tried to attack on an individual basis. This year, I want to know what my vision is.

Do you know what vision is? I don’t mean do you have a pretty good idea of what it is. No, I mean do you, dear reader, have a clear understanding of what “Vision” means to you personally. Before you can seek something, you have to have an acute understanding of the thing. So I “Googled” it. Here’s what I discovered:

VISION

  1. the faculty or state of being able to see. “she had defective vision”
  2. an experience of seeing someone or something in a dream or trance, or as a supernatural apparition. “the idea came to him in a vision”
  3. imagine 

If I apply these (3) separate definitions to my life, and condense them into a singular idea, I’d say vision pertains to the way in which I see my future; the way in which I imagine my life should progress. As a Christian man, the second definition intrigues me. The Bible is chalked full of accounts of people receiving divine instruction through visions. I’d like to know what God has planned for my future.

I recently wrote about the revelation I had on my birthday. It wasn’t a supernatural experience; rather it was reflection on where my life is after 44 years of life. My big question is what does God have in store for the second half of my life? I need to grab hold of the vision. But the catch is, I do not want the vision to be about my wants and selfish desires. This year, I truly want to know what God has planned for my life. That’s the vision I’m seeking.

How do we get God’s attention and have him give us what we want? While that might be a tough question to answer, honestly I don’t think we need to get His attention to give us an answer on our vision. That’s exactly what God wants to give us anyway, so there is no spiritual manipulation or soft coercion necessary. The reality is, you can’t strong-arm God anyway. He wants to give us vision so that we might know the purpose of our individual lives. I think all we need to do…well…let me back up a bit. There are a few things we need to do.

  1. We have to make a decision (a commitment) to seeking the vision. This can’t be something we decide haphazardly. We have to be intentional.
  2. We’ve got to ask God to give us vision, and expect it to come in His time. 
  3. We have to trust in the vision when it comes, even when others think you’re crazy. Remember, “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”

These days, I’m reading my Word like never before. I’m trying something new this year that is actually making me spend more time in my Bible everyday: I’m following a Chronological Yearly Read plan. I’ve never read the Bible cover to cover before, let alone read it in chronological order. So I’m accomplishing it this year, in hopes (and prayers) that God will reveal His vision for my life as I spend time studying. That’s the acute vision. The broader, personal vision is taking the reading plan one day at a time, and accomplishing each day’s reading assignment. I have to admit, it gets tough at times because everyday life throws challenges into the routine. But so far, I haven’t failed to read each day. I’m expecting God to show me something new and interesting each day.

Have you seen your vision for 2018 yet? Are you seeking it? Do you understand what the vision for your life is? Let me encourage you for a moment: the year is still new. Seek the vision for your life, and take steps toward attaining it, one day at a time.  

 

Change In Plans

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When I was a (relatively) young man, my life was naively charted toward easy success; so I thought. Instead of following tried and true methods of disciplined and consistent progression, I decided to magically become the exception to the rules. I didn’t need a plan . It was just going to happen someday. In hindsight, I was lazy; smart…but lazy. When you’re young, you’re invincible and time waits for you.

I’m a bit older now, and constantly face the consequences of my youthful mistakes. I can live with that, when I’m the only one effected by choices of my past. We all owe a debt, and time will always collect because it has a long memory. But…what’s hard to swallow is when I see the choices of my past burden my family. They deserve so much more than I can give them today. While I believe everything happens for a reason, in God’s economy, sometimes it’s really hard to fight off the demons of your past when you know things might have turned out different if you’d made better choices.

Let me digress here. Right now, my family and I are sitting on top of a hill. God’s been really good to us in providing for our needs and a few wants as well. For now, the valley is behind and below us. Lately, my prayers have been specifically for God’s wisdom. The best way for me to be a great dad and husband is to follow the Lord’s guidance in all things. That takes a great deal of wisdom to avoid repeating mistakes of the past. So, with that said, I am reminded of past choices made strictly in my flesh which led to unfortunate consequences.

I see youngsters of the Millennial age making some of the same mistakes I’ve made in the past. I just want to help them do better; stop them from chasing the same rabbit I’ve pursued year before, if I can.

“Stay in school; get an education,” I want to say.

“Don’t rush into love. You’ve got plenty of time to do it the right way,” I need to warn.

“It’s perfectly okay to let people know you don’t know. You don’t always have to be right, especially when you’re wrong,” I want them to understand.

“Don’t waste your time on silly. Time is relentless and will someday run out. What you do to make a difference, with the time you have, is all that really matters.” A lot of today’s kids need to hear that message. This idea of Y.O.L.O. is a farce.

“God is real. Jesus is alive. The Holy Spirit is still working today. Don’t let anyone convince you of anything otherwise.” The world is making real progress in convincing our youth that God is for the weak-minded. Our kids need to know better. We have to teach them.

That detour took a little longer than I anticipated, but it was good to get that out because it’s what I’m feelin’ what now. So, the consequences of decisions made in the flesh have long lasting repercussions. As I grow older and (hopefully) move closer to God, I see how blind and naive choices devoid of God’s wisdom have dictated the course of my life. But God is still good, and patient with me. I realize he’s always been there for me, through every misguided decision and ridiculous choice. He never let me fall beyond a certain point.

I think that once you see his presence in your life, from past to present–and you recognize the things he’s brought you through–you have a change in perspective. Maybe, you even have a change in plans. What once seemed so clear for insane reasons, now appears exactly how it is and was from the beginning: crazy. And what once seemed boring and square, is now the only path you really want to be on, because it’s truth.

 

*always*