Monday, March 14, 2011

February 2011 - Vision

I was reading a blog and came across this quote (I really wish I had written down the blog address...if I find it again I'll update this!) - "We can let our obstacles or our vision determine our future." 

I don't know about you, but I have this stubborn and independent streak in me that bristles at the idea of not having options.  To think that an obstacle, ie something I would rather not have in the first place, will determine my future, well, it makes my face scrunch up just thinking about it.  So I started thinking about my obstacles (easy to do) and my vision (what?) and realized I needed to delve into this a bit more.

Biblical examples always help.  Moses heard God's voice tell him his future, but doubted that future because of his relationship with the king of Egypt and the Israelites, because of his speaking ability, etc.  What God called him to do - the vision God had for his life - did not make sense or seem possible because of obstacles.  I imagine Moses saying "Uh, God?  Did you forget that the king is mad at me, my people despise me, and I fumble over my words?  I think you have me confused with someone else."  How often do we feel that way?  Feel that God is calling us to something that is just not possible given our circumstances?  Feel that He is just asking too much, too soon? 

Losses have a way of sucking every ounce of vision from our lives.  Suddenly the world is turned upside down and what was formerly important, besides what was lost, is now unimportant.  The idea that there's enough right with the world, and with our lives, to have a vision that would carry us forward almost seems insulting.  And yet that's exactly what God gives us.  He knows best, even (and perhaps especially) when we think He is wrong.  Our losses were not a surprise to Him.  He knew how it would all fit into His master plan, His vision for our lives.  That's not saying He is glad babies died, or that He wanted it this way.  Remember His original plan - it did not include death. 

It is important, especially in times when we cannot see clearly, to ask God for His vision for our lives.  Sometimes, though, our grief, as well as the world around us, is so loud that we cannot discern that vision.  In those times we must start with the Bible and search for direction.  It may be a generic vision at first, but it will at least get us heading on the right path so that in time we will be able to discern His specific vision for us.  Find what God is doing and join Him - His vision does not change!  Our part in that vision can change, and it will likely be different than the part those around us will have. 

Write down 5-10 obstacles in your life right now.  Things that are disappointing, crushing, not how you'd like them to be, not how they should be.  For most of us, that list pretty much writes itself! 

Now look at that list and try to convince yourself that God has a vision for your life EVEN WITH those obstacles on the table.  Perhaps because of those obstacles - He has crafted something just for you that will not waste one ounce of the pain that has come from those obstacles.

Now think about your vision, or God's vision for your life.  Write down 5-10 ideas, words, phrases, etc that describe what you think your vision includes.  For me this list included words like joyful, loving, content, fulfilled, serving, life-giving, and making a difference for God.  No, that doesn't tell me what specific action plan to flesh out when I wake up tomorrow - or does it?  Until I have a more specific vision, I can certainly choose to live out, with increasing success, those key words and ideas.  As I am more content and serving, I will be at least walking in the right direction. 

Which will you choose to focus on this week/month/year?  Your obstacles or your vision? The one you focus on is the one that will gain power and momentum.  Will you trust God to have answers for your obstacles as He works out His vision?  Or will you be stalemated, stuck forever in the desert? 

Perhaps you feel like right now you are sitting in the middle of the desert - I do that sometimes.  I just get overwhelmed and sit down, preferring to stay in this yuck rather than keep fighting to find the right path.  The problem is that nothing will be get better by sitting down.  The Israelites ended up wandering in the desert for 40 years!!  The idea of wandering in my own desert that long (or even 40 days) is not happy.  But God was with them the entire time.  He had their exact path mapped out, and He didn't waste that time.  If they had chosen to just sit down, their journey would only have been prolonged.  Only by walking, one step at a time, one day at a time, can you get any closer to getting out of the desert.  Your circumstances, your obstacles, they may feel like the desert, but you can at least make yourself get up and start moving.  Better to wander forty years than sit until you die in a place you never wanted to be.

Here's that quote again: "We can let obstacles or vision determine our direction."  Which will you choose?

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