As a mom with a full minivan, the words that make me cringe during any drive are simply –
“Are we there yet?”
We have two types of van rides in our family. The first requires the local Christian radio station tuned-in (Z88.3) so the boys can belt out their favorite, memorized songs (this is often our routine for most in and around town trips). The boys are singing, I’m grooving mommy-style, while the bewildered drivers next to us are most likely videotaping and laughing I’m sure. However, this mom-approved method keeps my sanity and avoids chaos from the backseat.
The second ride…the long haul. For those trips that require more than a 1-hour drive, I breakout the trusted portable DVD player. Granted, my boys still do not enjoy headphones and I have every VeggieTales silly song memorized (seriously…I won a silly song competition with Phil Vischer at the Orlando Children’s Pastors Conference in 2012!), but again, this movie mania method keeps my attention where it needs to be – getting to our destination.
In life, so many side streets, engine failures, cries from the backseat and even our own lack of direction can keep me from arriving at my destination…and I’m talking about the long haul. In the world of ministry, we use vision statements to define where we are going as a church in order to keep those backseat cries from our congregation members to a dull roar…sometimes. (Ouch).
Churches need vision to measure if they are headed in the direction God wants them to go. Where there is no vision, there is no movement. Where there is no movement there is no growth. When there is no growth there is no root. Where there is no root there is loss.
No church should be a loss.
No life should be a loss either.
I spent 9 years in ministry creating vision statements with leadership teams of three different congregations. I spent countless hours in prayer, in meetings, creating flow-charts and trying to figure out the best way to express the vision so that everyone could easily understand where we were going together.
Yet I never once, not even for a second asked, “Where am I going? Am I here yet?”
In his book, “Limitless Life” Derwin Gray provides an excellent blueprint to help those, like myself, develop a life vision statement. In fact, for the first time in my life I was able to use words to describe the fire God has lit in my heart. I planted my roots and I can now see where He has me going. The best part is, my life vision can be applied to wherever God sends me vocationally. It can be applied to my family role. It clearly defines where God is calling me in every aspect of my time here on earth.
This process for me was difficult and I imagine the vision statement itself may change as I grow older as well. But, it’s a start. If you are considering embarking on this long haul life vision adventure, feel free to look at where I landed as an example. It is that – an example of a work in progress and it is indeed unique as I am. I truly believe God has a life vision for you too and a calling as unique as you are to Him.
As I walked through the process of developing a life vision, I knew I wanted to incorporate my passions with a passage of scripture God has allowed to literally transform my life.
My life verse:
Bethany, I will make My home in your heart as you trust in Me. Your roots will grow down into My love and keep you strong. And Bethany, you have the power to understand, as all My people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep My love is. May you experience My love, though it is too great to understand fully. Then Bethany you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from Me. (Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT)
My Life Vision Statement:
As His Child, daily I want to experience the fullness of life rooted securely in His love, growing continually through His strength, enabling me to speak and show His power to all He places in my life.
As His Child – I want to be known as one of His children before any other role or title.
Daily I want to experience the fullness of life – I purposefully and wholeheartedly added the word “daily.” Regardless where I am in this life, whether in peace or in the darkness of a storm, I know what the presence of God looks and feels like and it is indeed a full life. I don’t want to be away from experiencing His Abba touch – a growing relationship that defines my entire life.
Rooted securely in His love – This came directly from my life verse. His love is everlasting, unconditional and is the source of my life.
Growing continually through His strength – I never want to stop growing in this relationship with God. Yet, I know getting to know Him better is demonstrated by His strength that allows me to rise through challenges in life.
Enabling me to speak and show His power – I believe God has gifted me through writing and speaking abilities, yet, it is a testimony to His power completely. I often times find myself going back, reading over blog posts and simply saying, “God, I know You put these words here because my mind is blown away right now reading this! This is You speaking, not me.” I simply want to be a vessel He uses for His glory.
To all He places in my life – I may be a wife, a mom, a family minister, a neighbor, a coach, a Bible study leader, a writer, a speaker and even a minivan driver…but He has given me these roles for His purpose. He does not make mistakes. Every person I come into contact with is an open door for Him to walk through.
The timing of this process has been incredible as I am starting to work on my first book. Now, as I prepare to write, I look at my life verse and my life vision before typing a single letter. I can’t tell you how freeing it feels to know where I am going in life.
Friends, do you know where you are going? Are you rooted? Or are you simply spinning in circles in life, lost? As I’m coming full-circle, let me offer one simple piece of advice. God has a call on your life, a purpose so incredible planned in advance just for you. Too many times, we settle for wherever life seems to place us, instead of really taking the time to discover the burning God has set in our hearts. Life is too short to live lost. Allow Him to find you right now, wherever you are and He will never leave your side. He is right there with you, keeping life exciting for the entire van ride…even if it is the long-haul.