Write the Vision


Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.

— Habakkuk 2:2 (ESV)

I love the prospect of beginning a new year.  It is filled with possibility and excitement.  It’s a chance to start over, an opportunity to think about where you want your life to go and setting goals to get you there.

Something I’ve learned over the past few years (and am planning to finally implement this year) is the importance of creating a vision board.  Last year, I wrote down things I wanted to accomplish in 2015 and, much to my delight, the majority (if not all) of them came to fruition.  Awesome!  This year, I want to add visual reminders to my goals … hence, the vision board.

That isn’t to say that I buy into the whole “Law of Attraction” and new-age concept that go along with many of the articles you can access pertaining to vision boards.  Nonetheless, I do believe that if you are a visual person and have a bit of a type-A personality, vision boards can be very beneficial in keeping you on track and focused with what you want to achieve.  By having your goals in front of you daily, research shows you are more likely to succeed (9 things rich people do and don’t do every day).  Whereas my #1 goal in life isn’t necessarily to make a lot of money, I do admit it would be a very nice (and welcome) benefit to satisfying two of my heart’s desires: 1) fulfilling God’s purpose for my life; and 2) helping lonely, hurting, brokenhearted people.

I don’t know about you, but the busyness of life keeps me very distracted.  At times, I almost feel like I have become so adept at multitasking that I have developed a full-blown case of adult-onset ADHD.  Being bombarded with e-mails at home and work, social media, and the responsibilities of being a mother have re-trained my brain to flip from task to task without really enjoying any of them.  To counteract that, mindful meditation and balance have become new words in my vocabulary.  Dr. Amit Sood and Dr. Roberto Benzo (MBSR training) have become beneficial gurus in showing me a new way to live life.

Habakkuk 2:2 refers to the vision God gave to Habakkuk regarding the fall of Babylon and His judgment of the Chaldeans.  Habakkuk was supposed to write down what God showed him so that the people could plainly and clearly discern what was written. 

In addition to creating a vision board, I will still write down my goals in list form.  Just the process of thinking about what goals I want to put on the list is helpful in reassessing where I’m at in life and where I want to go.  Once I know where I want to go, a roadmap will be important in getting to my destination.  Just looking at the vision board and “wishing” to attain my goals won’t get me very far (and is not the purpose of a vision board in the first place).  Follow-through and action are important.  I’d like to say that’s the “run” portion of Habakkuk 2:2, but I realize that throws the verse entirely out of context. Nonetheless, it does help me remember that movement is a necessary component of the written vision.]  The actual meaning of “run” refers to the common practice of the time where public notices were written on clay tablets in such large letters that they could be read easily by someone running by and also, perhaps, so that the reader could run and warn others (if the notice was a warning).

I think it’s also important to note that in the previous verse (Habakkuk 2:1), Habakkuk is on the watchtower standing guard.  He has positioned himself to hear from the LORD.  He has asked the LORD a question, and he is watching diligently for it while he waits.

I think we need to do more of that.  We need to ask the LORD more questions and then stand “upon the watchtower” scanning the horizon for His answer.  Habakkuk 2:3 tells us we may have to wait for it (until the appointed time), but it will surely come.  Once God lays something upon our heart, writing the vision (or creating the vision board) can remind us of what God’s purpose is for our life when the results don’t come as quickly as we would like.

Change is hard; but with proper motivators and a plan, it can be done.  In the year ahead, I encourage you to envision your future, seek God in prayer, and write down the goals He lays upon your heart (both short- and long-term ones).  You might be surprised at the results!

Wishing you a Happy (and Healthy) New Year!
Lori Lynn

 

Untangled


“Jesus Christ is able to untangle all the snarls in my soul, to banish all my complexes, and to transform even my fixed habit patterns, no matter how deeply they are etched in my subconscious.”  — Corrie ten Boom

One day last week, I was running late for my bus; and I still needed to grab a necklace to wear.  Reaching for the one I wanted out of my jewelry box, you can imagine my dismay when I saw it was completely tangled up with another one… too tangled for me to get undone and still make it to my bus.  I rarely have the patience to untangle a mess like that, and I really didn’t have any that particular morning.  Usually, I will enlist the help of my eldest daughter, who was blessed with far more patience than I will ever have.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have time that morning.

I’ve been thinking about how life can get that way… tangled.  We become so tangled up in poor choices we’ve made or events that have happened to us, that it becomes close to impossible to get ourselves undone.  Sometimes the more we try, the tighter the tangles become.  What if the secret is to let go?  To stop trying so hard…

I am blessed to have an employer who provides membership to a healthy living center for a considerably reduced fee.  I recently joined and am taking two classes there that have to do with stress reduction.  One of them is Resilience Training (based on the work of Dr. Amit Sood, who actually leads a few of the classes), and the other one is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).  Although both classes deal with mindfulness and gratitude among other things, it is interesting to see how the focus is different.  In resilience training, we are taught to focus our attention on what is immediately in our present reality… not to get lost in the attention black holes of our past or be looking too far ahead into our future.  Dr. Sood uses the analogy of driving a car.  We don’t (or at least shouldn’t if we’re smart) spend too much time looking in our rearview mirror as we’re driving along in our car.  Nor should we spend too much time looking ahead beyond the area where our headlights reach when we’re driving at night.  We are wise to focus just on that bit of territory directly within the reach of our headlights.  In the MBSR class, on the other hand, we are taught to let thoughts go.  We acknowledge them as they pop into our heads, but we don’t dwell on them.  For example, we are required to do a 27-minute body scan each evening whereby we listen to a CD with the instructor leading us through various parts of our body… focusing on them, the feelings associated with those areas, any pain we might be feeling, pleasant feelings, etc.  Due to the nature of the mind, it is easy to get sidetracked.  Our minds tend to wander.  We are taught, however, to gently bring them back to the area we are focusing on.  We don’t deny the thoughts we have, nor do we dwell on them; we simply acknowledge them and move on.  “Hmmm… I’m feeling angry.  I wonder what brought that on?  Interesting”  (and then let it go).

I have spent the past 20 years of my life dwelling on the same problem over and over.  The problem hasn’t changed, but the way I am beginning to think about it has.  I’m not a slow learner.  I just get stuck in wanting to do the right thing.  Sometimes doing the right thing is to let go.  I am learning that sometimes by letting go, the answer we have been so desperately searching for (and which has been there all along) is now able to make its way to the surface where it can be heard.  I am learning that the answer lies within our heart, and sometimes we tend to analyze with our minds to such an extent that we kill the instinct of our hearts.  When we kill the instinct of our hearts, we are in essence stilling the voice of the Holy Spirit within us.  If we don’t listen to the Holy Spirit within, we are failing to be obedient to the call of God in our lives.  That’s when things become so tangled.

I am learning, through these classes, to become reacquainted with the Lori Lynn I was a long time ago… a Lori Lynn I really liked.  I am learning that I have spent the majority of my adult years buried in busy-ness… steeped in worry and frustration… out of balance.  I have let life control me.  I have allowed circumstances to remake me into something I am not.  It is only in spending patient time alone… learning to just be (instead of always doing) that the reality of my present can become the discovery of my future.  I’m looking forward to where God wants to take me with all I am learning.  It should be an exciting journey filled with wonder and surprise.

How about you?  Have you ever found your life tangled up beyond belief?  What did you do to try to get it untangled?  Did it work, or did you find it becoming more tangled the harder you tried?

Lori Lynn

Abba… untangle the snarls in my soul, banish all my complexes, and transform my fixed habit patterns that I might glorify You.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.