Do you hear that? It’s the sound of scissors racing through the pages of Essence magazine grazing over cute money sayings, photos of engagement rings, and exotic vacations. Every year many of us create a Vision Board full of those magazine clippings and cute photos of the celebrities we want to meet and words that encompass how we want to feel in the new year.
It’s cute. It’s fun. It’s even a little predictable. But is it effective?
We’re not asking, “How much of those goals can you accomplish in a calendar year?” in terms of effectiveness. But instead, we’re asking, “Are the things on your vision board directly related to the vision God has given you versus just the things you would like to see happen in your life?”
If that question stung a bit, let’s dig deeper. Based on the last vision board you made, did you feel purpose-filled when you began to check off the things on your vision board?
If the answer is “no” or even if you aren’t sure, that’s also considered a “no” and this post is going to help stop you from making that same mistake over and over again. For some reason, we (let’s say the millennial generation) loves to skip over steps. We want the picture of the engagement ring but we don’t want to adequately assess what it takes to become the wife we want to be for our future husband. That step in-between is not checked off just because you pasted a ring on a poster board. Don’t stop reading because we stepped on your toes! Keep reading, it gets good.
“Are the things on your vision board directly related to the vision God has given you versus just the things you would like to see happen in your life?”
Let’s have a little heart to heart before you create another vision board full of wishes that aren’t actually connected to your vision. This whole post is going to be about deciphering between your vision– the one God gave you that you are here to explore and develop and not the one you pasted from someone else’s Instagram highlights. We’re foundationally a Christian brand so we dig deeper based on biblical scripture. So, let’s turn to Habakkuk 2:2-3. You might know this one because it gets quoted over and over again by believers and non-believers to translate their wants over to a vision. The two are related but aren’t necessarily the same thing.
The scripture says in the NIV version, “Then the Lord replied: ‘Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks to the end and will not prove false. Though it lingers, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
This is when people get hype! Let’s cue up the vision boards because God told me to write my vision down! That’s not what the scripture says. Where does it say “your vision?” It doesn’t.
You’re shook, right? This is when it comes in handy to read another version of the Bible where it reads a little differently. Let’s go to the same verse but the Contemporary English version:
“Then the Lord told me: ‘I will give you my message in the form of a vision. Write it clearly enough to be read at a glance.”
A few parts, okay all of it, required us to break it down further:
“I will give you”– God himself is speaking about what he gives that cannot be disputed. He gives you the message. We’re so used to pulling out our own messages out of the air or out of our experiences that we will create entire lives around them and put it on a poster board. That would be your message, which is still important and has its place, but it’s not necessarily God’s.
“My message”– Notice it doesn’t say YOUR message. The majority of the versions we’ve read say “the vision.” THE vision is so much more important than your vision.
“Read at a glance”– This really shook us because every other version talks about the herald running with the tablets/the vision. Why is this one reading and not running? In order for it to be fully understood and developed the way God wanted, it had to come in words that other people could understand. Our guess is that heralds didn’t usually have many jobs back then but to run and tell of the news of what was going to happen. They wouldn’t be able to adequately tell of the good news if the wording was off and not capable of them understanding it and relaying the message.
When God gives you a vision, he already has the audience in mind. It’s not up to you to recalculate what God gives you to make you feel more comfortable with what the message is. Look at the scripture again. Once God set the tone for the vision, there were no more “you’s.” Once you accept the call for the vision, you become less and less of an important piece of the puzzle. You take the responsibility of being a vessel vs. being at the forefront. It didn’t say “you were developed and you ran with the message and your voice was loud and everyone heard it and followed you on Instagram.” Was the message fully for you to begin with or was it for the people who were on the other side of the runner’s delivery?
Let’s use a real-world example– Did you struggle with money so that one day you would become a silent millionaire or did you struggle with money because you were being instilled with financial principles that would not only help you escape from debt but your entire family? What would happen if you became a millionaire and you raised children that would squander away your entire wealth because you never taught them how to handle money? Wouldn’t it make more sense for you to take that education and teach your children so that they could not only follow in your footsteps but exceed them?
Really being able to walk in God’s vision for your life takes a lot of self-reflection, not a flip through your favorite magazine. For that very reason, it may be worth your time to pause before you make your next vision board and make sure you don’t fall into these pitfalls:
Everything you see and want for yourself isn’t your vision
A lot of times our original “I wants” are selfish. That’s not to say that your wants are not intertwined with God’s vision but let’s be real, our wants tend to be mostly tangible and materialistic. Without seeing the bigger picture, we can create an entirely different world and limit ourselves.
There’s YOUR vision that you created and then there’s your vision that God GAVE YOU. Learn the difference between the two before you pursue the wrong things.
You won’t have a vision if you don’t listen
This might quite honestly be one of the most important things we say on this entire post. If you go back to Habakkuk 1 it’s essentially a chapter of complaints. But that’s how real life is: we sit back and we complain about what has and hasn’t happened and then we want a vision for something better so we use our experiences and our wants and craft a plan. Craft your plan but make sure it’s in alignment and listen for little instructions during your quiet time before you put yourself on a hamster wheel of making the wrong decisions. Some of you may need to head into a season of quiet time at the end of this year instead of going into overdrive to really be able to hear instructions and not immediately rush to goal setting and vision boards.
Revenge isn’t a vision
You cannot build your vision around proving people wrong. Read that sentence again. It sounds like a cute Instagram post but it is not worth the emotional roller coaster. They didn’t care. And if they care now, it’s too late and they don’t matter. What happens when the fuel of “them” wears off, you get yourself in another situation to get hurt so you can redirect that energy again? That ain’t it.
Instead of building your vision around people who are gone, build it around people you should be attracting. What kind of people do you want in your life? Who is going to read the vision?
It doesn’t matter if it’s similar to someone else’s vision
Even if your work reminds people of someone else’s work, the two will never be the exact same. It doesn’t matter how many people are in the same niche. It doesn’t matter if someone else has been in the industry for 5 years longer. If it’s your vision, that’s it. You move forward with it and I bet it’ll make room for you.
A lot of people think that they will immediately have all of the answers upfront. Your strategy comes with movement. You won’t learn until you move. You won’t grow until you move. The pieces won’t fully make sense until you move. If you’re given a vision, you’ll be given the provisions to make it happen.
Respect your vision enough to not over-consume others’
It’s easy to get caught up in dissecting people who you admire, listening to all of their podcast interviews and researching them to the point that you rely heavier on their mission than on yours. You have to stay focused on your big picture. This may mean doing an unfollowing spree on your social media accounts to stay focused.
So in conclusion, don’t create a board around the wrong vision and spend the next 12+ months moving in the wrong direction. We suggest studying Habakkuk and spending a lot of time becoming more self-aware with your overall purpose and how it extends into God’s vision for your life and how it will impact others. There’s a lot more power in being in alignment than there is in solely trusting yourself.
Are you planning on creating a vision board? Did this post make you pause and reflect on what you should actually put on it? Let’s chat in the comments.