Our minds are a battlefield. Satan loves to distract, to tempt, to overwhelm and entice. God longs for us to be very intentional about what we think about (as in take every thought captive) and to fix our minds on what matters most. Doing (and reviewing) personal vision work is a vital tool to bring the right thoughts to our minds more and more often. That practice gives us a much better chance at doing the God-honoring and life-giving thing more and more of the time. In my opinion, solid vision habits are foundational to flourishing.
The question is of course how do you do vision work? I’m so glad you asked.
Vision work is such a big deal, that it is one of the first exercises that we take our coaching clients through. We teach vision work as well in our Coaches Training Seminars. For the students who embrace it, it is often life-changing.
The first thing is to ask God to guide your vision work. That when you take the time out to do it, He will be the source and inspiration for what you envision.
Then, consider the major areas of your life that you would love to see God’s goodness infuse more and more. This usually means drawing on some if not all of the following categories, (as they pertain to you):
Relationship with God
Relationship with your spouse
Relationship with your kids
How your house or apartment and/or yard is set up to give you life.
What kind of shape you would like to be in physically
How you are doing emotionally (i.e., your level of peace, freedom, etc.)
How you would like to be eating
How you would like to be doing in your vocation or work role
How you are growing professionally
What kind of friendships you have
What you are doing for vacations
What you are doing for hobbies and self-care
Writing Out Your Vision
Then, the next step is to simply write out what you would love to see be real in your life in that area within a certain time frame, typically in a three to five year window. It is written in the present tense, as vision work by definition is written that way. (The idea is that when we read something in the present tense, it somehow makes the ideal more real. The act of imagining it is real, in faith, generates a unique and wonderful energy to cooperate with God in closing the gap between what is and what you would love to see be real.) Let me give you a quick sample from my vision work to give you a feel for what this can look like.
This is from the first main paragraph of my vision work, and it is first because it is the most important for me. It’s about my relationship with God.
A Sample Vision Statement: Relationship with God/Spiritual Maturity
Most importantly, my relationship with God, my most amazing Father, with Jesus my Savior, King, and awesomely perfect older brother, and with the Holy Spirit, the truly best Counselor ever, is going better and better. I am deeply surrendered to you, and am really good at making ample time to deeply receive from you, because it honors you, is so good for me, my marriage, my kids and those I serve. I am really growing in trusting You with my days, my future, and the ultimate future. I live in greater peace, happiness and trust more and more often through attaching to you more, and taking You in more deeply, especially Your amazingly generous goodness, breath-taking generosity (i.e., grace) and unconditional love towards me as a permanent family member, who is eternally good and has great value in your eyes through the work of your Son. In you, I am becoming more and more of a mature man, a real man, a mature disciple…spiritually and emotionally mature…actually a more loving and truly wiser man as I know You better and better…as I let you in to more and more of my heart. I am actually becoming more and more like your Son, even when I’m not trying! I enjoy greater and greater happiness and freedom in You, and am more and more often looking forward to the glorious Kingdom I’ll live in with my family, friends and those I’ve served (among countless others!).
As you may have noticed, it is a very positive paragraph! It truly helps me see myself in a great place with God. It helps me want those things to be more and more real to me, and to actively shape how I think, feel and live.
More Reasons Why It is So Helpful
Among the many other positive things vision work does, vision work gives us something we all desperately need: something good and right around which we orient our minds and lives. As we review the vision work regularly, and pray over it while we read it, it somehow gets further into our hearts. That gradually gives it more and more power to shape our lives for good. Who doesn’t need more of that?!
Vision work is also great for giving the Holy Spirit more room to convict us in ways we need to be convicted. Many times during reading my vision work, I sense a real nudge from the Holy Spirit to step up my game in an area. I then ask for the Holy Spirit to help me grow in that area, which gratefully, over time, actually works!
How Often to Review?
A common question that students in our trainings ask is: How often should I review my vision work? That of course is totally up to you. I review mine on a weekly basis, some do it more often, some do it on a monthly basis. I like to do it weekly (at least) and as a part of the exercise, I take some time to journal on how I have moved closer (or not!) to the vision. It is great over the long run to see gradual progress towards realizing it.
Reviewing your vision work is in some ways more important than even doing it in the first place. It is in the reviewing that the vision work has a chance to come to life, and take deeper roots in your soul.
What about you?
Now vision work doesn’t of course guarantee anything. God is not obligated to fulfill our dreams, even when we write them down!. The point is that a godly vision that is regularly reviewed and prayed over points us in the right direction more of the time, and gives us a better chance at living out what we have deeply reflected on.
I would really encourage you to take a few hours sometime in the next few weeks, maybe on a weekend, to give this a shot. I, and many of our clients, have found it to be remarkably helpful in helping us orient ourselves around what matters the most, reinforces our most important values, and draws us to what will ultimately bring the greatest life.
Blessings on your vision work!