Exchanging New Year’s Resolutions for New Year’s Vision
By Bridget Mathwin, MA, Resident in Counseling
It is that time of year again. Time to make New Year’s Resolutions. I have decided, I am done with them. I tend to be enthusiastic with lots of energy to make my resolutions happen in the beginning. Then, when the going gets tough or I have over done it or another obstacle gets in my way or I make a dreaded mistake, I throw in the towel and give up. Negative thoughts and feelings exasperated my sense of failure ensue, making moving forward, putting salve on my wounds more difficult. So, it is time to do something different.
Looking at successful businesses, what do they have in common… a vision. They create a visual representation of what they want their business to become in the future. These visions are bigger than life and seemingly out of reach. However, they provide a sense of direction. Instead of being split into multiple directions at once, one vision overrides all business affairs. If the idea fits within the vision, it is considered and possibly developed. If it is not, it is quickly dropped. Wow, the idea of being able to say no. Hmmm… sounds beneficial to me.
So, how do you go about developing a “personal vision”? Good question. So… internet search I went. There are many sites that give ideas of how to do a vision board… but were any of these centered around Jesus? Unfortunately, none of the sites were. This made me question if developing a vision is biblical? Isaiah 55:8 says ,””For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” On the other hand, Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” So which is it? I think it’s both. If we keep our visions on what we know we can accomplish or we force our own selfish agenda, then our vision is not of God. However, if our visions are God sized, bigger than anything we can do in our own power and our heart bursts with joy, and it is within the laws of the Bible, then… I believe they can be even more powerful than the visions of secular businesses. In fact, I was surprised to read this in Habakkuk 2:2-3, “And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end – it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” I really do not think God is finished giving visions to His people, do you?
Therefore, I began my journey in developing my own vision with an actual visual to help me remain focused. My first step was to take a look at what I accomplished this past year. If you are like me, you will have a hard time seeing them in the beginning. After much searching, I actually found some pretty significant accomplishments from last year. I helped one of my daughters through a crazy year of hybrid school. I completed my internship successfully and earned my degree. I began a new job that I enjoy. My parents have stated they have not seen me this happy in a long time. My girls stated this Christmas did not really feel Christmasy, but it was one of the best Christmas’ they have had because we were together, spending more time together, and all in all, happier. Not bad for one who thought she had not accomplished much. Then came the question, what do I want next? What does God want me to do next? Hmmm…
All of the sites I looked at said to write down your biggest dreams and wishes… those things you would love to see happen, but have no idea how they would. What are my heart’s desires? What is that God sized dream that has been burning inside that I have almost but given up on? For me, there are two: opening and running a Christian therapeutic camp for children who would otherwise not attend and opening and running a family play therapy center that provides services in an interdisciplinary fashion to meet the mental health needs of the entire family. Pretty big for someone who is not licensed… yet… working on those hours now…
My vision board includes, first and foremost the cross, as for me, without Jesus, everything I do is worthless. Then I put a picture of a building that represented the camp I am dreaming of running. Next, I began thinking of what goals I can accomplish this year to begin working towards the big vision. For me, I need to become healthier, lose some weight and become more physically fit so I can keep up with all those kids and teens at the camp. Getting out of credit card debt would allow me to begin saving for this dream. (A year of underemployment was difficult on the family.) Continuing to work towards licensure as a professional counselor as well as EMDR and play therapy, and maybe even consider reinstating music therapy are on the list. Honing my guitar and piano skills also made the list along with beginning groups within my new employment.
As I worked on this, I began to realize that having my “big dream” on paper, made setting realistic goals that had a purpose, much easier. My new attitude is more of, I’m striving for something… I do not have to be perfect, just keep moving forward.
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty” Proverbs 21:5
Having a vision allows us to develop a plan to diligently work towards the vision. Even if we don’t reach the full potential of the vision… we will have made a difference in our world. Is that not what goals are all about?
Wishing you an exciting and purposeful New Year.