When I first read about people choosing a “word of the year” I honestly thought it was silly. Fast forward a few years and I am now a huge advocate. Why? Because choosing a word is setting the tone for your year. It’s also like creating a overarching theme of the year instead of endless resolutions we never keep.
A couple of years ago I choose “Vitality.” I just felt like I kept getting sick all the time and also felt like I had low energy. So I was determined to restore my health and really live life. Last year my word was “Growth” and boy did I grow – I had a baby after all! Besides that, I grew in my career, my marriage and my blogging/writing. This next year I am choosing “Vision” – specifically God’s Vision for my life.
(For more on Word of the Year, check out this post on why this writer’s word was “MORE.”)
“Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. “
Last year I had dinner with a homeless man at McDonalds. After we got past him asking me for money and then small talk, he started to open up about his life. Although he’d been on the streets since he was 14 and was now 29, he was trying to figure out how to get some income. He told me how important it is to have goals. Today he was just trying to survive; tomorrow he hoped he could get a job and afford a nice clean place to live. Though he was at his lowest point in life, he still had a vision.
I’m also currently reading Arthur Brooks’ “The Conservative Heart” which does an excellent job explaining why it is better to allow people the room to pick themselves up. In his book he tells stories of several homeless men and women, criminals, and drug abusers who found self-respect by being given a job -even cleaning the streets of New York City. For the first time in their lives they not only made a little money, but they helped people and were creating their own future.
These two stories remind me of the Bible verse in proverbs “Without vision, men perish.” Without vision many of these men and women mentioned above probably would have perished, either a physical death, but perhaps one of character, or spiritual too.
Why My Word of the Year is “Vision”
I’ve always seen the importance of setting goals for my own life, although I do need to do better about setting deadlines, too. I like to create really small, manageable goals that I don’t have to turn myself upside down to accomplish. For instance, this year my goal is to be “healthy-ish.”
I’ve both not cared about my health at all, and been unhealthily obsessed with my health. This year I am striking somewhere in the middle – trying to be a little healthier, but also enjoying my dessert.
I also have more lofty goals: This year I’d like to make headway with my writing, although I’m not sure how yet. I’m still praying through what that may look like while doing research on my own about writing opportunities.
Lastly, I want a changed heart. I want to be the type of person who wants to mentor others, and rejoices in their successes. I want to be a hospitality person who loves to share their home and resources.
RELATED: 2021 Word of the Day Glorify
These are my visions.
For the vast majority of us, myself included, I’ve used this verse in Proverbs coupled with stories like above to show that as humans we just need the vision to keep our lives going and feel satisfied. We feel we need the NEXT BIG THING. The next job where we’ll finally be content, the next hairstyle that everyone will want to copy, the next diet plan, the next career jump. And next move to another city.
But you know what? While these “visions” will bring us temporary happiness or satisfaction they are still temporary. And then – you guessed it – we’re looking for the Next Thing again.
I don’t know about you, but I want lasting visions and results that bring me joy – not just temporary happiness. I want visions that have eternal and heavenly consequences – not just ones that affect today.
Let’s now look at the verse from a different translation, the Good News Translation.
“A nation without God’s guidance is a nation without order. Happy are those who keep God’s law!”
No matter what translation you look up, it’s pretty clear that vision is not supposed to be our vision, but God’s. It’s His vision for our lives. Now let’s read the verse that way and make it personal.
Sarah [Insert your name here] will PERISH (Yikes!) without God’s guidance and Word. BUT…. if she keeps His law and follows His ways, she will be joyful!
Now that’s a quote to hang on your mirror.
But remember – either we die because we’re following our own visions, or we live in joyfulness because we follow God’s.
Go ahead and try to eat healthier, learn to be more confident at work, start your own business, or even sleep more this year – these are good goals. But don’t obsess over them. Instead, let’s ask God to plant His desires in our hearts. Let’s also ask ourselves how we can glorify God in our work, relationships, health, and even thoughts, instead of how we can “boost” ourselves.
Will you join me? If so, I think you’ll find the other “visions” falling into place without all the straining, stressing, and sighing.
“But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
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Love your visions and I recently started working on monthly goals and blogging about them. It has been life-changing because it keeps me on track. Sure, I miss some but I just move them to the next month, but I get much more accomplished than I used to.
Yes let’s continue to ask God to plant those desires in our hearts. I’m finding he has this year in my health goals and truly all of them.
I used to feel guilty about not accomplishing goals by “my timeline” until I realized that God will accomplish all His goals through me right on time.
Erin | A Welder's Wife says
I really enjoyed reading this. I agree, we all need to have visions for our life, because without them we may never find our true purpose in life. My visions have changed drastically these past few years, and I have never been more excited! Crazy how that happens when you let God in to work for you!
It can be pretty exciting. 🙂
I love this! I think its very easy to get roped into “the next thing” instead of focusing on what is right in front of you!
Very easy. We’re always looking forward which is good, but we sometimes miss the blessings right in front of us.
Lindsey Manson says
Our visions are very similar! I often have to check my motives and decide what’s the real reason I want to accomplish these goals and vision… is it to look better in front of the world or truly to honor God? Glad to find there is someone else who thinks just like me 😉
That’s great because we can encourage each other in God’s visions!
Carrie Willard says
Very true. And Jesus said that we’re happy when we’re conscious of our spiritual need. Since we’re created with that need for spirituality, we’re not happy without God.
Nicole Kauffman says
GREAT post! This is so true, and thinking back, it was the times that I had no clear vision that I struggled the most. Thank you for sharing 🙂
Ref J says
I love your vision for your life. I know all to well that it is easy to become lost in our own vision for our lives but as you stated, pursuing His vision for our lives is what truly brings fulfillment and peace.
Amen – you said it perfectly!
Isn’t God so faithful to plant dreams and vision in our heart and to give us the grace to achieve them? I love this post! Goals and dreams are good, but Christ must be at the center!
Yes! Without God in the center they are pointless, but with Him there we can do anything!
Jenna Urben says
What a perfect post for my Monday morning! “But remember – either we die because we’re following our own visions, or we live in joyfulness because we follow God’s.” This is so important, thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Jenna!
This is a great reminder. I think a lot of people, myself included, get caught up just trying to keep up and get through the days. Often striving for stuff that really doesn’t matter. I feel so peaceful when I slow down and pay attention to the ways the God is directing me.
Yes, especially when I’m working so hard for MYSELF, and not what God has planned.
What you said about the Next Big Thing is so true — If I can just accomplish X or earn Y or whatever, I’ll be happy. But you’re right. That’s not where lasting joy comes from because there will always be something else we think we want or need. It’s also amazing how much more real the Bible becomes when you insert yourself and make it personal. I love the “healthy-ish” goal, too. It is SO much easier to strive for progress instead of perfection. And more realistic.
Meghan – Progress over perfection is my mantra this year!
Great article Sarah!
Findings God’s purpose in all we do it’s sometimes a struggle.
Thank you for putting some of those things in perspective.
Thanks, Nataly! Oh it definitely can be a struggle, but well worth the find.
Amen! God’s way is always best, although sometimes it is hard to convince ourselves of this! Visiting you from Blogging with Heart
D @ Be You and Thrive says
Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing from your heart. God is good!
This was such an encouraging read and good reminder this morning!
I appreciate that, Lora!