Are you a New Year’s Resolution kind of person? Do you like to make goals for a given year and push yourself toward those goals? I recently read this article titled, “18 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick.” Would you like to know the 18 items? All of us, in my humble opinion, are intrigued about the articles that contain 18 ideas here and 24 ways there of how to make life work more meaningfully and successfully. Am I right? They are the things we have heard a million times! Some of them are great ideas, but let us look at change of behavior rather than just change of practice.
I recently had a conversation with a young man at the Y where I work out. He told me he wanted to stop drinking. It was creating problems on many levels in his life and he wanted a new beginning. I asked him to describe the vision he had for his life. He said, “The vision I have for my life is to stop drinking.” He then asked me, “From a spiritual viewpoint, am I on track?” After assuring him that it is not my place to judge him but to help and support him, I shared with him, “The vision of your life is rooted in abundance, flourishing, joyful, productive, hopeful, peaceful, and full of Zoë life! The vision of your life is not that you want to stop drinking. If that is your vision, you may stop drinking but be a dry drunk because your practices (drinking too much) may change but your behavior doesn’t (irritable, dysfunction, etc.) The goal of Christian spiritual formation is not just to change our practices but ultimately change our behavior.
True change or transformation comes from using the VIM method. Vision, intention, and means. (Dallas Willard).
This week, let’s talk about vision. As a famous pastor of the world’s largest church once said, “Describe to me your vision and I will predict your future!” (Paul Yongi Cho – Korean Methodist Church – 500,000 members). What is vision? Vision is what life looks when one is surrendered to the Holy One is all aspects of life – spiritually, emotionally, mentally, relationally and physically. Vision is a description of what happens in our lives when what God wants for us is what happens! Vision is living a life closely connected to Jesus who bears the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22) Vision is, in short, a surrendered life to the God who loves us and never abandons us!
This week, please spend some time reflecting on the vision of your life? Focus on behaviors not practices. We will deal with the practices next week as we unpack what an intentional life looks like.
Blessed New Year!