The beginning of the year is always full of great anticipation, intentions, and resolutions. It’s an exciting time of new opportunities and is a God-given gift that constantly reminds us to rekindle the fire that He has lit within our hearts. We each have passions for which we say we live, distant achievements we hope to one day complete, and abstract impacts on this world we intend to leave.
But how many of us can say that we are on track to making that happen? How much closer are we now to changing the world than we were at the beginning of last year? Are we “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead” as Paul says in the book of Philippians? Do we have a clear vision of where we are going or are we just shooting in the dark?
As I look back over 2012, it discourages me to see the time I wasted because I didn’t have a vision, because I wasn’t constantly pursuing the passion that Christ has placed within me. Prior to last year, I had a goal with specific deadlines and actionable steps; it was to complete my college and attend a military-style Basic Training with the ALERT Academy. This goal guided me and I was working each week towards its accomplishment. These two meaningful tasks were achieved in March of 2012 (by God’s grace) and I was pleased to have reached this milestone. Yet afterwards, I fell into a slump, with a mentality of just going about the daily grind. I lived a year of fun and mediocrity, just going to work, socializing, vacationing, and the like. Why? Because I’d lost my vision… that purpose that directed my steps. While mine was a life of pleasure, after a few months I was beginning to feel a lack of fulfillment. How much further along I could be as we enter 2013 had I simply laid out a vision and direction for my life!
Helen Keller, the inspiring blind and deaf author, activist and lecturer, once wisely said, “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.” Fellow Patriots, I lived that visionless life this past year and can vouch for the truth of that statement. God has awakened me to the need for vision in one’s life and I cry out to you, find YOUR vision! If we really want to make a difference in our nation, if we really want to preserve the Torch of Freedom, we must have vision. And I’m not just talking about the abstract desires that we as young Christian conservatives have, to make a difference or to change our world. I’m talking about the kind of vision that will drive us daily to accomplish the purpose that God has placed within each one of us. T. E. Lawrence said it this way, “All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible.” My friends, may we not simply be pathetic dreamers, but may we be dangerous men and women that act our dreams with open eyes! God, make it so!
What does a vision specifically do in our lives? A clear vision and defined purpose will result in three valuable outcomes:
1. Vision gives us direction. While this seems obvious, a vision allows you to develop actionable steps that you can accomplish daily. Quoting from the wisdom of Alice in Wonderland, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” On the other hand, if we do know where we are going, we can choose the most direct route.
2. Vision becomes our “Activities Filter.” When we have the future and our goals at the forefront of our minds, we are led to evaluate the way we spend our time. Movies, TV, Music, News, etc. suddenly seem less important as we see the future quickly becoming the present and the time to accomplish our goals rapidly slipping away. We begin making decisions regarding the activities in which we engage with our vision in mind.
3. Pursuing our purpose brings fulfillment. If we find the purpose for which God has made us and are pursuing that daily, we will have fulfillment in life. God has assigned each of us a unique purpose that no one else can accomplish more perfectly than ourselves. Only after we’ve decided to live for our King will true fulfillment come.
Now that we know we need a vision, it’s time to get one if we haven’t already. Here are some practical ways we can accomplish this task… Let’s not put it off!
1. Pray. This step can’t be overlooked. Ask God for His wisdom as you seek to discover His plan for your life. It says in Proverbs 16:9, “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”
2. Write out your vision. Answer the following questions in a brief statement, a vision statement. Where are you headed? Who do you want to be? Why has God put you on this earth? If you really nail it, this statement will get your blood flowing and excite you. I’ve written out a long version (about 300 words) and a short version (under 100 words). The long version expounds on the main points and the short version gives you something to memorize and keep at the forefront of your mind.
3. Set goals. Plan out some stepping-stones along the path to fulfilling your vision. What better time to do it than at the beginning of the year! Get specific, make them achievable and give yourself a deadline.
4. Accountability. Identify a couple of likeminded friends that you really respect and hold each other to your goals and encourage each other along the way. As it says in Ecclesiastes, “… A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”
Patriots, we have tremendous potential! But Satan is trying to keep it at that… just potential. Resist him. Pray for God’s strength to fight back and overcome. Find your vision and pursue it with every ounce of your being! Don’t get entangled in the frivolous enticements we see everyday. Cast them aside and pursue Christ and the purpose He has laid on your heart. Don’t allow your dreams to be distant fantasies… begin the pursuit! The time for vision is now!