Without Vision, a people perish. Proverbs 29:18
My first experience with vision that I can remember is from 6th grade. One of my fellow students had taken our class picture home, and when he came back to school the next day, he told me, “My Mom said you’re going to be President of the United States someday!” I guess I was looking pretty awesome that day because there is was! I now knew what I had been born to do! See, I come from a very political family, and by that, I mean that I’ve been attending protests with my Dad, who’s always been very vocal in the Pro-Life movement, since I was about 9 years old. I can tell you some great stories about that another time, but for now, let’s suffice it to say, with this vision, I was ready to go for it! In fact, this vision carried me through junior high, high school and college with little social drama and lots of studying. I mean, I needed to be super smart and have no skeletons in my closet if I was going to be head of the free world someday, right? So, let’s get ‘er done!
I didn’t know it as vision then, but it was a great motivator that propelled me for about 10 years, until I decided that, among other things, I wasn’t really up for a political science and law school degree. Regardless, it gave me a good foundation from which I could move forward. And to be honest, once I lost that vision, it took me awhile to replace it with something else.
In fact, the next vision I remember having was just to be wealthy so I could be free to do whatever I wanted, which at the time was just to seek out my own personal happiness regardless of others in general. It wasn’t long before I became a pretty miserable person because I had very little understanding of God’s natural laws, namely sowing and reaping.
Cut to my first Gap Community training. Mostly through trial and error, I was slowly working on growing my understanding of how the world works, and I’d met someone who had experienced some significant benefits from Gap’s trainings. After some encouragement, I attended my first four-day training, and there I learned so much about life and myself that my world was turned upside down. As an analogy, it was like I was finally learning how to cook. I mean, I had been getting by before, but now the food I could make was more than just edible. It was actually good! At least some of the time. Slowly but surely, I started to develop a new vision for what a happy life could look like, and it had little to nothing to do with being fiercely independent. In fact, it was now about interdependence and true love.
I say all this because this is still my vision now, and this vision takes (and gives) a lot more energy than any other vision I’ve had before. So, while it’s taken me some time to grasp and practice the concept of holding a vision, as well as figure out how that relates to my identity and way of being versus doing, it’s worth every ounce of effort I’ve given it. Sometimes I get it right, and sometimes I get it wrong. But that’s the beautiful thing about a vision. A strong vision allows for endless opportunities to go again. It is stubborn AND flexible. It allows for bold choices and humility. It leaves room for infinite possibilities and hope.
I’m still learning about how to let my vision and commitment to who I am being drive my behaviors. It is not a process that happens over night or even has an end. It’s a lifelong journey, and I am here for it. At least most days. And the other days, well, those are the days I lean into the reminders of who I am and who I am committed to being – interdependent and full of true love.