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I'm a wife, a mom, a singer/songwriter, an author, a public speaker, an abolitionist, an encourager & freedom coach, a seminary student, a worship leader, a lover of life and joy, and most importantly, a follower of Jesus Christ.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Freedom Friday: Keeping Vision Alive During Challenging Times

Lots of reflections these days, friends.

Our family is currently in a challenging season. There are a lot of potential changes on the horizon, but when I look around, I see stillness. There is very little movement toward whatever the next thing is (God has not shown us clearly).

We are also in a season where many things are wide open. Lots of questions, soul-searching. What do I want for my life? For my marriage? My family? My ministry and calling?

More importantly, what does God want for our lives as a family? How does He want to work in all these areas?

I know that my deepest desire is to see individuals walk in the fullness of the freedom that is available to them through Jesus Christ, to live with a full understanding of who God created them to be. I don't have much time to work on my goals surrounding and connected to this vision right now, but the vision God has given me has not changed.

I've been asking, how do I keep this vision alive during this challenging and exhausting season?

1. Keep your vision visible.
Write down your vision and post it somewhere you can see it every day. Read it out loud to yourself. Set up an email reminder that sends you the vision daily. Remind yourself of why you are passionate about this vision, and thank God with a heart of gratitude for giving you the vision.

2. Find ways to feed your vision.
As is the case with me right now, you might not have time during this season to actively work on your goals related to the vision, but you can still keep it fresh in your mind. While doing mundane tasks, brainstorm in your head ways you will accomplish your vision. Listen to sermons, podcasts or music that would continue to fan your vision's flame during your commute. Call a friend and chat about the vision, praying together that God sustains it during this challenging time.

3. Be on guard.
My tendency during times like these is to fall into a very negative attitude. I start feeling sorry for myself. That leads to questioning of my vision, which goes something like this: "Did God really call me to this vision? Maybe I should start brainstorming other ways that I should be living, different choices I could be making, because clearly, I cannot carry out this vision right now. Maybe I thought I heard from God when I really didn't."

How does this questioning start for me? "Did God really say....."

Sound familiar?
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’? Genesis 3:1
During a recent episode of this, God brought this above passage to mind. He knew I was tired, worn out, and confused. And he knew that I tend to be easily discouraged during these times.

The following scripture came to mind:
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings." 1 Peter 5:7-9 (NIV1984)
The way these verses are put together is strategic. First, we throw our concerns at God. During these times where we feel anxious, He calls us to be self-controlled and alert because the enemy knows we are struggling and is looking for a way to devour us. We must resist him. And we resist him by doing step 4.

4. Cling to what you know.
During times like this, I pull out my encouragement file. I remind myself of those stones of remembrance. I grab my journal and remember all the ways God has confirmed this vision for me. And I don't make any drastic decisions unless they have been thoroughly prayed through AND confirmed by people who love me, love God and know us both well.

Also remember what you know about God and His character. Remember His promises, His love for His children, and that He takes impossibilities and makes them possible.

I am reminding myself that God is faithful. He is good. He is my strength, my shield, and my sustainer. And He is giving me renewed vision for this season.

1 comment:

  1. We just went through a challenging time as well. I love your advice. I found that 2 additional thing worked to keep me sampne and open to the unexpected ways God can deliver us to the finish line. First - since I am an action-oriented person, when I would start to feel anxious, I would ask god what I could do to live out the vision he had given me. Sometimes it would be an insight - to research something. Other times He would out me back on the practice track and tell me to do the dishes. All necessary steps, :-) . Second, I would take time every day to empty my head to create space for God to talk to me rather thstpn for me to talk to him. This was usually my morning walk. The repetitive motion and breath became a sort of walking meditstion. I'd find my mind clear and soon God would be letting me in on what was planned. Reassuring me that even though things appeared opaque and entrenched, that He was moving things behind the scenes. He would she with me details of the vision. This reinvigorated my Faith and my Patience and kept me out of the land of despair and temptation. A year ago we had no REASON to hope things would work out the way they have - only steadfast faith in a vision. In fsct, looking only st reason and evidence, our vision was flat out crazy! I wish the same miraculous transition for you, Brenna! Just keep walking it out in faith! Hugs!