Monday, November 05, 2018

How's Your Vision?

Success is not absolute. Failure is not fatal. The courage to continue is what matters.
                                                                                                      --Winston Churchill

How's your vision? Since I had the lens in my left eye replaced, I'm seeing things that I didn't know were out there.  I'm noticing shades of colors and shadows I've never seen before. Objects are sharper than I can remember seeing them, before.

Almost ready for quilting.
How do the points look?

Vision matters. Not just our physical vision, but our mental vision. In financial planning or job training classes, one of the most frequent questions you'll hear is, "Where do you see yourself in five years? In ten?" Then, ask yourself, "How do I get there? What's the process?" Before I could become an author, I had to know what the writing life looked like. I became a writer. And occasionally I even said it out loud. "I'm a writer." The next question was usually, "Are you published?" I had to get over that. Published author? Not yet. Writer? Absolutely. 

What made the difference? Vision. I saw an ad advertising a newly formed writers group in a tiny  town in South Carolina. I met other writers, and shortly after, I attended a writer's conference and I did what I do best. I asked questions. And I learned. Eventually, my first book was contracted and published. And then my second. And my third.

But none of that would have happened if I hadn't had the vision to see myself first as a writer, then as an author. I'd wanted to be a writer from the time I was twelve. But until I was in my thirties, I had no idea what that would look like. How did a person structure and write a book? I didn't even know where to go to learn how to do it.  But, I went to that writer's meeting and learned what the writing life looks like. Educators encourage their students to set small, achievable and  measurable goals.  I learned what I needed to do, and I followed the steps. I wrote and rewrote. And I submitted to publishers. I did what I could to make it happen and didn't take the rejections personally. And continued to write. Badly, but I wrote.  You can't fix a blank page, after all.

That's the real irony, here. I'm not good with words. Growing up, I never had  just the perfect, witty come back. I was always grateful if I didn't make a bad situation worse or embarrass myself.  That's why I wanted to write. On paper, I could go back and  reorganize my thoughts and audition words and phrases to convey what's on my heart.

My other dream was to play the piano. I never pursued it because I could never get beyond the cost and the size of the instrument. The result is that I have little understanding of music--just what I got in junior high school chorus and church choir. I had no vision.

So, where would you like to be in five years? In ten? Is there a dream God has put in your heart that you've not pursued? Are you discouraged because your life hasn't turned out the way you'd hoped? Are you seeing only your current situation rather than possibilities? Or, does the goal seem to be impossible?

If you have few dreams left, ask God for a vision for what He has for you. Your tomorrow doesn't have to look like your today.

 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17–19 (NKJV)

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