Monday, February 20, 2012

Seeing Through the Eyes of Hope

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the concept of vision lately.  In some very personal areas of my life, I've seen some of my visions become--or begin to become--reality.  I began reflecting deeply on vision last week when I read a poignant truth quoted by one of my Pastor's.  Pastor Jeffrey Smith said, "Fear is vision with NO HOPE!  No expectation of good paralyzes progress and stifles productivity.  Expect the great.  What you look for you find!"  This quote just kept resonating in me all day after I read it.  At first, I focused on the second half of the quote:  "Expect the great.  What you look for you find!"  I was having the kind of morning with my children in which I wondered just where I had gone wrong.  They were doing and saying things that caused me to feel as if I had failed completely.  I was astonished at their behavior!  And...discouraged!  When I read this quote, I regained some peace.  Yes, they are children and their words and actions just may disappoint me time and time again, but if I choose to look for the good--the great--then I will see it!  When I changed my focus on that particular day, I began to see all kinds of good!

The first part of this quote then began to speak very strongly to me for other reasons.  I had made a recent decision to do something new and I was experiencing fear when I thought about it.  The decision was in relation to something that a friend, whom I greatly admire, thought that I should do.  She asked me if I wanted to make this commitment.  My husband also believed, wholeheartedly, that I should take on this new challenge.  The interesting thing is that this commitment involved strengths, talents, and abilities that others saw in me.  I could partially agree with what they saw, but more than that...I feared.  I feared that I would not be good enough!  I feared that I would fail and disappoint my friend and others.  Yet, while I was facing fear, I also felt very much excited at the thought of this new commitment.  In fact, in a way it was something that I had envisioned doing before.  Whenever I had previously envisioned it, I saw success.  But, when I was faced with this possibility becoming a reality, I feared failure.  So, when I read this quote, you can imagine how it changed my viewpoint.

"Fear is vision with no hope."  Well, I had never really considered it in quite this way.  We generally only have fear in areas of our lives that truly matter to us.  I have never feared whether or not I would be a good police officer, because I've never had the slightest desire to become a police officer.  Do you know what I mean?  We usually encounter fear in areas of our lives that matter immensely to us.  We sometimes face fear about things that we're called on to do, but that fear is simply having vision with no hope!  If we stand on what our Creator has said about us--rather than how we feel--we will have hope!  We will begin to see the full vision that we are able to obtain.  The main reason that I had faced fear in this area is because it is something that I'd very much like to enjoy doing successfully.  I can see this as part of my future.  I can envision it!  So, if I am allowing fear to pervade my thoughts, it is only because I am not allowing myself to hope--to hope that I will succeed and possibly surprise myself.

Finally, I have been freshly reminded to write down and speak (or pray) about the visions for my life and the lives of my family members.  Habakkuk 2:2 says, "Write the vision and make it plain."  There is something powerful that happens when we give words to our dreams.  When we speak life to our dreams, we begin to see them coming to pass.  As I thought about this, I was inspired to look back at a journal entry I had written almost 2 years ago.  I had listed many personal and family goals.  I knew even before I looked back at this, that I was going to be encouraged at how many of those goals I had accomplished--or how many dreams (visions) had begun to unfold for our family.  Yep!  As I turned open the page, I began to feel so encouraged at what I read.  I saw that God had been at work in my life and in our family partly because I put words to those visions.  The very act of writing down those goals had caused me to frequently think about them; pray concerning those areas; and make decisions in line with those prayers.  And, of course, without the grace of God, I would see none of it!

We all have visions for our lives, our families, and our future!  What good are those visions if we don't have hope that they will indeed come to pass?  What good are those visions if we do not see them come to pass?  What good are our prayers and our words if we don't remember to speak life to the visions that are God-inspired?  What good is hope if we don't allow ourselves to stand on it concerning our own lives?  What good are our expectations if we expect the worst rather than the best?  We must have hope!  We must give life and breath to our visions!  We must encourage ourselves and expect great things to happen!  We must trust that God has given us visions for a divine purpose!  We must stand on His truth only!  When we do, will will surely see His hand at work all around us!