Strategic Goal Statements: Vision
Last week I began a 4-parts series on Strategic Goal Statements. What are they? They are statements created by you that accurately reflect the progress you want to make towards a change in your life. Strategic goal statements (SGS’s) start with understanding where we are today (self-assessment), and grow into possibilities for change when we state them in terms of where we want to be tomorrow (vision).
Casting a vision, however, is no simple task because it requires us to open up to dream. We don’t dream too much anymore, though do we? Dreaming has somehow become overrun with fear; fear of getting our hopes up too high, fear of having our hopes dashed, fear of hoping for a change that never comes.
Fear is not our friend, and is certainly no friend to change and growth.
Why are we so afraid though? I have become afraid to dream because I am afraid of being let down by myself and others. I am even afraid of being let down by God; what happens if He doesn’t provide a way to what I hope for? What are you afraid of in your dreaming?
And yet, vision is vastly important to moving forward with purpose, to living our lives with intentionality to (hopefully) make the most of our time here on earth.
So, how do we combat the fear of hoping too much to commit to a vision for what we hope for in the future?
It starts with recognizing how we perceive our lives and those around us. The lens through which we seek to cast our vision will determine if we are self-reliant or God-reliant, and that makes all the difference.
Think of it like going to an optometrist. When you sit in the chair, the doctor switches lenses back and forth that either make things more or less blurry. The doctor is trying to help us see as clearly as possible. It can be frustrating until, viola! The perfect combination for our set of eyeballs is found and we have clear vision.
The same is true in casting a vision for ourselves. On our own, we will stumble around in fuzzy sight, searching within our own limited self-sufficiency to create clarity. But, when we let The Doctor, God, rearrange how we see, our lives come into focus and we can perceive the end result of the change we are hoping to make.
So, how do we cast vision with the lens that will give us the clarity we need to move forward with the changes we want to make?
1. Reflect. Look at your self-assessment from last week (If you haven’t done one already, please start there). What in your life needs to change? This is like looking around at different things in order to determine how clear your vision is before you determine that, yes, you do need to see a doctor to have your eyes examined. Start by making a list of what you see that may need to change. Mine included things like: “I don’t like the way I feel in my body”, “I am dissatisfied with the level of commitment I have to selling my books”, and “I am restless staying at home to work all the time.”
2. Ask. Ask God to show you how He sees each of the areas you identified. Take each situation to Him one by one (this can take several days) and examine it in light of His Word. Ask others to share with you their insights. (I asked trusted friends who were mature in their faith.) This process is frustrating as there are many layers to sift through, just as when you sit in that Optometrist’s chair as they flip through many types of lenses trying to make your vision clear. Record any insights you receive
3. Dream. Whenever the Optometrist gets just the right lenses in place our vision opens up to pure clarity. In that moment, we know we can see and we step out of the office in confidence (unless, of course, you have had your eyes dilated…but I digress). We are unafraid to step out, even if we aren’t quite sure what we will encounter. The same is true with change. Once we have a clear understanding of the situation, we can dream with confidence knowing that what we come up with is only part of the equation: having a vision gives us the ability to take a step forward. In that forward motion, God directs our steps. Our vision is a catalyst for change, not the absolute version of the final result.
Working it out.
This week, take the list of changes you’d like to see in your life to God. If you wish, take it to a trusted, faith-mature friend (be sure this is someone who will direct you to God’s Word and not try to fix it themselves for you). Reflect on what needs to change in your life and determine what you are responsible for and what you cannot change. Ask for God’s lenses to bring your life into His focus. Next, sit and dream. Don’t be afraid to hope for more than what you have. Like when we were in school and given the freedom to brainstorm without restraint, let the ideas for your life fly from your pen onto paper. Cross nothing off. Keep your dream list with your self-assessment list and relax until next week!
Next week we will focus on our next step: Determining your WHY.
God grant me the serenity To accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world As it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right If I surrender to His Will; So that I may be reasonably happy in this life And supremely happy with Him Forever and ever in the next. Amen.