What’s one thing that saints, successful entrepreneurs, and great church leaders share in common? Vision. People often mistake vision for dreaming. Dreaming is believing or hoping that some fairytale outcome is going to come your way. True vision is seeing where you need or want to go and having the determination to do the work to get there.
What’s stopping you? I think there are many things we accept for reality that are far from the truth. Here are 4 things that hold us back in our vision:
1. It’s about luck or circumstance.
No one gets rich or becomes holy by chance. People who are thriving aren’t doing so because they accidentally wandered into it. Don’t get me wrong, there are people who win the lottery or those whom it seems everything goes well for in life, but without this vision those things fade away.
When you have vision, you are unwilling to let your circumstances define you.
Take for instance Mother Teresa. You would think a woman who saw Jesus in the poorest of the poor, who reportedly spent hours in prayer daily would have unbelievable closeness to Jesus. In her diary that was discovered after her death, we found out she experienced severe dryness in prayer. She didn’t feel God’s consolation or even his presence for long periods of time. Did she give up? No, she remained focused on Jesus and seeing him in the poor.
Seek the Lord in your circumstances today. He’s not far from you.
2. We act out of scarcity rather than abundance.
When you don’t have a lot of resources, it’s easy to get stuck in that position. If you want to achieve big things you must be willing to sometimes spend money or energy that you don’t have.
Scarcity says run from risk. Abundance sees the reward of risk. Vision is abundant.
Here’s something I’ve learned from doing all sorts of fundraising over the past 15 years in the church world. It can be easier to raise $100,000 than it can be to raise $500. I realize that sounds crazy, but let me explain. When we nickel and dime people to raise $500 it can be exhausting. Usually when we do that we seem to express to people that what we are fundraising for is somehow of a small consequence. They may be buying a donut from you after church for a dollar to support your mission trip, but they don’t feel any true sense of buy-in to what you are doing. They haven’t necessarily made a meaningful contribution not necessarily because they don’t care but because you haven’t asked them to.
If you want to fundraise successfully, ask with a big vision. Layout what the money is going to and why there is a sense of both urgency and need. Invite people to be a part of that vision. Don’t ask simply for money. Ask with abundant vision.
3. We replace the work with dreaming.
In over 15 years of working in the church I have yet to find the ministry or event that runs itself. This used to be my dream:
People just showed up! There were great people who volunteered without even being asked to be leaders. Everyone loved the event and I didn’t have to do anything!
If it’s something you believe in, it’s going to require investment of your time and energy. Stop dreaming and start doing. You can’t dream your way to leadership or holiness. We have to stop wishing we went to the perfect church and start putting in the work to make our local church better. This requires work, hard work.
4. We meet resistance and go backwards.
There’s a natural tendency to do what is comfortable. When we make a decision to rock the boat and do things differently, it’s easy to face resistance and go backwards.
Vision usually means hard change. Hard change doesn’t usually produce immediate fruit. In fact when you literally prune a fruit tree, you might be getting rid of some small fruit. The tree might look dead for a little, but the reality is you need to clear out some things to make room for better and larger fruit. You have to allow yourself to go through the pain of change.
If you are moving forward with a new vision, don’t give up when things don’t go your way right away. This isn’t to say that vision means not evaluating and recalculating. In fact, it’s imperative that if you want to be a person of vision that you are able to identify and set tangible, measurable goals.
Then the LORD answered me and said:Write down the vision;Make it plain upon tablets,so that the one who reads it may run.For the vision is a witness for the appointed time,a testimony to the end; it will not disappoint.If it delays, wait for it,it will surely come, it will not be late.” Habakuk 2:2-3
What’s stopping you? What holds you back? I would love to hear from you below!