I recently heard an awesome sermon on VISION by my church’s senior pastor for a “Vision Sunday” series. Let me tell you…it was good. Anyone would’ve been hard pressed to leave not feeling all fired up.
Then there was Week 2 on “The Importance of Community” and I was like, “Ok, that was REAL good”. And well, when that happens, I feel compelled to share my accompanying, personal notes & revelations. I’ll also preface this by saying I know what it’s like to feel lost and hopeless, like you’ll never catch a “good enough” vision for your life [whatever that even means–seriously]. And still, I get it. It can be a really, real thing that comes up over and over again.
But let’s try casting that thinking aside for a second. From their teachings and my own experiences, here are 10 field-tested ways to get a big vision…and keep it.
1. Pray for a vision. – The dream is the noun, not the action. You’ve got to do something for God to give you something and God is looking for people who willingly say, “Yes. Use me.”
2. Create community. – Although different, with unique seasons & individual journeys, it’s about standing united. To exist in relationship with one another. We were never meant to live in isolation. Being authentic IS being flawed & choosing to get real about it (Mark Hopkins). There will always be power in plenty, and still–God never forgets the “one”. Find and surround yourself with others who inspire & uplift you. Negative environments and situational stressors are nothing short of toxic.
3. Ask for help. – Find people doing something similar to what you’re doing (and doing it better for that matter) and learn from them. Stay open, allowing yourself to be mentored & questioned. Doing so will give you new insights & strengthen your convictions. Remember: “If someone can talk you into something, they can talk you out of it. If someone can talk you out of something, they can talk you into it”. Know where you stand and draw a line in the sand.
4. Say no–as much, if not more than, you say yes. – Knowing what you don’t want & won’t do is just as critical as knowing what you do want & will do. Don’t get freaked out when you face resistance. Doors opening and closing are a part of life. It’s just how we get in and out of places. Not getting behind closed doors can be a blessing in disguise.
“Recalibrate your viewpoint to no longer see unexpected shifts in course as deviations, but to uncover meaning in the detours you never could have dreamed or asked for.”
5. Get vulnerable. – There is a voice inside of you that hums and sings to a tune unlike any other. Refining & learning to utilize that unique voice is a visionary revival in and of itself. Of course it’s scary, because ‘unique’ is closely synonymous to ‘different’ and we’re primed to seek acceptance. Yet what’s comfortable and familiar can quickly become crippling. Know there’s a balance between being vulnerable and openly blabbing too much, too soon. A quality, mutual connection forms from a little give & take. Relationships take time to grow. So start by sharing a little at time.
6. Do your competitive research… and then stop researching. There is such a thing as ‘too much’ and the more you browse the social media ocean of feel-good advices, the more you start to tune out your own innovation & voices of affirmation. The thing about vision, is no one else has your exact prescription. And that should be seen as a good thing. Even when it seems exactly the same, it’s not. Even when it feels like you’re behind, you’re not. You have to create margin & boundaries for tuning in to the whispers of YOUR heart, in HIS timing.
7. Cultivate a vital relationship. It could be your mom, your significant other, your sister or brother, your bestie, your cousin, or even someone that is just a fateful connection.The concept here is that you share your vision with a person you trust. A person who knows you deeply, who sees you as you aspire to be, whose input you value, and whose support you’d never move forward without. This person is your vital ‘lifeline‘ in moments of doubt and your biggest cheerleader in moments of sheer joy. Your job? Appreciate the heck out of them…and make sure they know you do, too.
8. Keep your vision long-range. The only prey worth stalking requires a life-time pursuit. Don’t judge the value or quality of your vision by a short-term response from the haters. It’s not their vision, they don’t have to love it! You do. Disappointment is often an indicator of a poorly placed dependence. The way to avoid a big let down is to find contentment & trust in a big God.
9. Talk about it. – We get inspired to go out to the world, and triumphantly express and share a hefty dose of our aspirational epiphany, only to be disappointed with a lackluster response. So does that mean the vision is no good? Does that mean we should stop sharing and stop talking about it? Heck no! You have to realize no one else is seeing what you’re seeing—yet. Be patient. Be genuine. Your job is to keep arousing that seedling of a vision and to KEEP TALKING ABOUT. Repetition, people. [That’s why over half of America still gets an instant craving upon seeing (yet another) McDonald’s while driving on a road trip.] You steer where you stare.
10. Make it plain. Find your journaling/recording/planning/organizational system and stick to it. Revelations & inspirations come at the most unexpected times in the most unexpected places—especially if you avoid shortcuts. Be ready for them. Refer back to them. Edit. Revise. Expand. Even when it feels done, it’s always a work in progress.
At the end of the day, keep praying, sleep on it, and rest easy knowing slow and steady wins the race. Consistency is better than perfection, always favor community over competition, and esteem mercy over judgment.
Negative ruminations of discontent and fear of failure will derail you faster than you can say “I didn’t mean it“–if you let them. You have to literally get hell-bent on being intentional with your thoughts.
Sometimes the only thing to do or say is to simply silence the noise. Remove the logjam, the chatter, the incessant thinking, the constant striving and instead; pursue the pace of peace (Joe Riddle). His blessings are usually poured out upon us following a moment of surrender.
Trust grows when we give verbal affirmation to what the word of God has spoken over us. Confessing & proclaiming those truths out loud, is one of the most profound things you can do for your life & sense of direction. -Arabah Joy
Trust breeds vision and though the vision may tarry, if you wait for it, it will come [Hakkakuk 2:3]. He always delivers, always liberates.
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