Vision is More Than a Plan for the Future

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hannah-kallio-vision3By Hannah Kallio |  Twitter: @hannahkallio1

Have you ever clung tightly to a biblical truth, and then later realized you weren’t grasping the whole truth after all? Without ever meaning to, I misunderstood God’s word and used it against the person who is most precious to me. It all started with this verse:

“Without vision, the people perish.” —Proverbs 29:18

When my husband and I got married, we were both committed to living a lifestyle of worship. We agreed to go wherever God led and do whatever God asked. There was only one problem: I thought I already knew the “where” and the “what.” It looked like God was bringing the vision I had for my life into greater focus. At the time I never dreamed my vision would be upended, shattered, and dissolved. I thought I knew what God was asking us to do.

From the beginning my husband struggled to envision God’s plan for our future. He read the right books, listened to wise counsel, and took time away to seek God. But for him, the path forward was still nebulous.

I never doubted our calling as a couple during those years of squinting at the horizon. But over time, my resolve became resentment. It smoldered, masquerading as concern for our family. I resented God for not speaking clearly to my husband, for not confirming to him what God had spoken to me. And I resented Erik for rejecting my life vision without providing another one to replace it.

We watched our friends reaching business, ministry, and personal goals while lack of direction consumed us from the inside out. Without vision, we were perishing.

At least, that’s what I told myself.

I let that incomplete truth fester for 15 years, using it to justify my unforgiveness toward my husband. Even though I didn’t fully appreciate Erik’s diligence during that time, we were both faithfully seeking God for vision. And I didn’t realize it, but God was providing a clear, compelling vision but it wasn’t a vision for the future, it was a vision of who God is.

Here’s what I didn’t grasp then: vision isn’t limited to picturing an ideal future. During those foundational years, our most urgent need wasn’t a five-year plan, or even the next action step. We needed a vision of God to guide us as we forged a new identity. We needed to trust God’s intentions toward us first, before charting a course for our future.

The teaching I’ve received on vision has dealt exclusively with the future. That’s part of the story, but the biblical concept of “vision” has much more to it. It encompasses a broad range of revelation: glimpses of God’s identity and character, clues to our own true identity and character, and slivers of the past, present and future from God’s perspective.

As it turns out, the vision God gave us has been surprisingly resilient and startlingly practical. Focusing on who God is and who we were becoming informed our choices and sustained us long after all the best-laid plans had to be scrapped. In spite of my complaints and accusations, this vision has been the most valuable thing we’ve carried with us on all our journeys.

I’ve noticed that sometimes the people who emphasize having a clear vision for their future are motivated by fear. They fear a future of unknowns because they lack a compelling vision of the unknown God who knows. Without a vision of who God is, they can’t form a clear vision of their own identity. Thankfully it’s not an either/or proposition. God provides vision for both identity and destiny.

It’s tempting to think of vision as a way to order our lives, a shield to protect us from the unforeseen and unpleasant. When I catch myself thinking this way, I imagine Jesus giving sight to a blind man by spitting and smearing mud on his eyes. Am I willing to be humbled, to be smeared with mud by the One who would wash me clean?

Receiving vision from God is still a messy process. We need a vision of God that’s vibrant enough to sustain us, no matter what’s coming over the horizon.

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Lovelyys, what revelation sustains you when your vision is obscured?

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I love one man, five kids, and the crazy story God is writing in our lives…even more than palm trees, ancient ruins, and deepest dark chocolate. I equip women to live with soul-deep God confidence. I write, speak, coach, create and sing my guts out at hannahkallio.org.

 

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