One of my best friends called me last week and told me about a situation that was both exciting and conflicting for her. She has been working as an intern for months and just took a paying job two weeks ago at a place that has benefits, a decent salary, and would give her steady experience in her field. Then she got a phone call from another company she used to work for: she has the opportunity to work as the right hand lady to someone with a lot of influence. This the job she was “working up to” with the one she just accepted, and BOOM, opportunity granted. The problem is, it pays a little less and will probably be a bit harder. In the long run though, it may be a better career move.
When she was asking me for advice, we were making pros and cons lists for her: staying at her current job VS. taking on a harder job for a while that could set her years ahead. We went back and forth for a while, then after a while I asked her:
Melissa,* it’s five years from now and you are going to work. What are you wearing?
This question really helped her out…and then I started thinking about it for myself. Before Christ, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I just tried literally everything and weeded through my options. When I let God into my life, I had an even harder time having vision for my life.
At a panel discussion at the Gospel Music Association’s Immerse Conference last year, I asked, “Everyone here is talking about vision. I’m confused because I just want God’s perfect will for my life, and I’m scared of dreaming because…well…what if my dreams don’t line up with what God wants for my life?”
The panel went on to quote Psalm 37:4 (Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desire of your heart) and explain how God actually PLANTS dreams and visions in our hearts. I was even more confused when I left, but over the last few months I’ve come to learn the following:
1) As we focus on God, our vision starts aligning with His vision.
2) Never be so attached to a dream or a hope in anything on this earth that you couldn’t give it up for His will for your life. If you do need to give it up–remember what an exciting thing it is to have the chance to prove your love. Love is sacrificial.
3) Allow God to do what He wants. He plants vision inside of us, but sometimes we have to step back and let Him move the pieces together. Other times we have to put in the work. It is important to be sensitive to which of those times it is.
I guess the most important lesson I’m learning is that it IS okay to have vision…so long as it is submitted to God and our hope is in HIM and not IN the vision itself. I’m finding that having that vision keeps me from being foolish with today, but I can only do my best with today and trust Him to lead me towards that vision. Nothing I can do is going to propel it forward or cause it to be. I HAVE to be content with today. For me, my state of mind about today is usually indicative of how much I’m trusting Him about tomorrow.
I really don’t know everything (SURPRISE!) but based on what I’m learning I present the following challenges that have helped me:
If you’re having a hard time imagining your future: close your eyes and imagine what you’re wearing in five years. Are you working towards that goal? Also remember that you can turn your life around until you’re dead. The word “vision” doesn’t just apply to 20 year olds.
If you do have (Godly) vision: Sincerely evaluate if you’re still trusting in God to bring that dream to fulfillment. Remember the character of God. Is He not faithful? Have you been?