On August 31, 1997, I found myself in the hospital emergency room with a frightening heart problem. Numb from the shock of this unexpected event, I watched the monitors tracking my racing and sporadic heartbeat while an IV dripped medicine into my arm.
I was only 42 years old.
Could this be a heart attack? Is this the “big one?”
My crisis played out against the backdrop of the tragic death of Princess Diana that very same day. News reporters and mourners reported about and reflected on her life on the television.
I wondered if I was next to die young.
Thankfully it turned out to be a bit of a fluke. I had overtaxed my body. I realize now that my life was out of control. I was putting in many hours of overtime, working two jobs and we were raising three boys. I was out of shape physically and was mentally, spiritually and emotionally exhausted and overextended.
Looking back, it seems I was running around in circles doing all kinds of stuff and not getting very far in the process.
Like me, it seems many are like Pine Processionary Caterpillars who mindlessly follow each other in a continuous procession. As an experiment, a botanist put a bunch of them in a circle on top of a flowerpot. They followed one another in that circle for seven days until they finally died of exhaustion and starvation—even with their favorite food just inches away.
To avoid being like them, we need a plan—a personal vision for our lives.
A Life Vision allows us to:
break free from the mindless routines
find direction and motivation
accomplish more as we focus on what really matters.
A compelling sense of mission has been documented as the key to survival in such hopeless situations as Nazi death camps and prisoner of war experiences.
What is a Life Vision? A Life Vision is the fulfillment of your Life Purpose, Core Values and personal calling. It is the answer to the question “What should I be doing?”
Identifying your Life Purpose and Core Values will prepare you to write your Life Vision. I wrote about how to identify your Life Purpose and Core Values in earlier articles:
Now let’s look at how can you determine your Life Vision:
Take Time to Think, Pray and Write
Here is a wonderful passage of Scripture about discovering vision: “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.’” (Habakkuk 2:2-3 ESV)
This passage says that God’s vision:
Must be written down (v. 2)
Will seem long in coming and will require waiting (v. 3)
But will surely be fulfilled (v. 3)
God has a specific vision for each individual Christian’s life and we can follow these steps to discover it.
To the best of your ability, seek God’s perfect future for your life. This is an exercise in “future perfect” tense. I recommend a minimum of 30 days for prayer, meditation and seeking counsel with family, friends and mentors to develop your Life Vision.
Consider Key Questions
As part of the 30 days of discovery, ponder, discuss and make notes on your answers to these questions:
I may have dismissed the thought many times for various reasons but I really should be doing …what and why?
What would I do even if I didn’t get paid anything to do it?
What would my life look like if/when my Life Purpose is fulfilled?
What am I uniquely gifted to do?
What activities have been most responsible for my success to date?
People who know me well believe I am most helpful and fulfilled when I am involved in…what and why?
If I could only accomplish three things/goals before I die, what would they be?
(Or what three problems would be solved?)
What do I want others to remember me for?
Craft a Life Vision Statement
After considering these questions, craft your personal Life Vision Statement.
Example—My Personal Life Vision
Here is the Life Vision I wrote many years ago and revised recently:
I am fulfilled and joyful by being a delight to Jesus, a wonderful husband to Carolyn, a hero to my boys, a trusted friend, and an author and speaker who leads many to Jesus and helps Christians mature.
What is your Life Vision? If you’d like to, please share it below.
This article is based on one of the chapters in my eBook called Don’t Miss Your Life. You can get it for free when you sign up to receive my updates via email.