Considering our theme of stepping up and out of thought storms that can sabotage our days, our focus, I was reminded recently of the critical need for vision. This principle of vision is discussed in Fredrike Bannink’s works as she lays out principles of survivors vs thrivers.
What is vision? Where does it come from? And can something so non-concrete truly benefit us in our daily struggle? As I’ve pondered the principle, I’ve had the opportunity to really practice various forms of vision. My practice began with Viktor Frankl‘s stunning vision as he suffered the torturous injustices of life in Hitler’s concentration camps. Frankl remembers vividly catching onto a vision of himself lecturing in front of an auditorium filled with people post-wartime as he trudged along with fellow prisoners one day. This vision, he states, kept him alive, helped him survive life-destroying circumstances. What can we envision? Where can we focus our future selves when current circumstances seem impossible? Unbearable? Destructive and all consuming?
I have practiced the “what will my life be like in 5 years” exercise. Even one year? And then, putting some of our places of resort principles into play, what do I want my life, my perspective, my family, my circumstances to look and feel like if all barriers to that most desirable condition were gone? This exercise literally acts as a light concentrator, beaming a light through the confusion, stress, losses and clutter of today onto the path, the resources, the gifts that can lead from here to there.
Another exercise with vision includes a small-clip/time-lapse vision. What are we currently building that is small and simple right now but that we hope grows into something amazing? What are habits we are practicing, goals we are studiously following, small steps we are struggling to land day after day? And what do those efforts look like from a small-clip, time-lapse perspective? Do we see those efforts adding up, building momentum, experience, knowledge, effectiveness, success and new foundations? Do our imperfections and mistakes begin to take on purpose, focus and effect in the bigger picture? Will we be better because of what we have learned now? Tomorrow? And do we have compassion for that person in the time-lapse, struggling, persevering, pushing forward?
Maybe the concept of vision seems too hopeful. Too dreamy. And maybe that is exactly what we need. Life is hard. Changing the lives of our families, ourselves, our world, it is crushing work. But I know our God wants us to succeed. He wants the Viktor Frankl’s of the world to come out alive and thriving; He wants us to be a witness to the dark and the light. He can give us vision. Our trusted supports can help us lift our gaze. And our souls are stretching for a chance to be more than what our life now dictates to us.