Today I have invited Dawn Jones to post something from her heart to yours. I met Dawn in January and I love her heart for God and families. She’s direct, passionate, and committed to her family and her community. I’ve benefited from her writing. You’ll benefit from this.
Dawn’s words here are perfectly timed. As she points out near the end of her post, “As the school year draws to a close, we have a perfect opportunity to conduct a vision assessment.” Mother’s Day being on Sunday is another reason this post is important to read now. Read it slowly. I pray you think, ponder, and plan. What do you want for your children? Does your life match what you say you want? If not, I pray you courageously use time this summer to plan how you can redirect your actions to match your vision. The right – higher – vision matters!
Cast a Higher Vision
I recently saw the movie Like Arrows, and ever since then, one powerful verse from the movie has consumed my thoughts:
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. –Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)
Many of us have probably heard this verse quoted at one time or another. However, it is unlikely that we have ever thought about it in terms of the need to cast a vision for our families. While this Scripture specifically addresses the danger of casting no vision at all, I contend that most of us do have some type of vision for our families. When we take the time to examine where and how we spend our time, money, and other resources, we will come away with a fairly accurate picture of what that vision is.
If we spend the majority of our time running our children from one sporting event to another, our vision is focused on making our children great athletes. Likewise, if we push our children to take on a schedule that is overloaded with honors courses and activities that will look good on a college resume, our vision is focused on our children getting into the best universities so they can become successful adults.
The Wrong Vision is Deadly
These pursuits are not bad in and of themselves, but in many cases, they begin to consume our time, our families, and our lives. In the meantime, quality family time, Bible study, and church attendance get crowded out in favor of other endeavors. The flaw in this model is not that we have no vision, but that we have the wrong vision. We have traded God’s greater eternal plan for our own temporary, worldly one.
Sadly, casting this type of worldly vision is a recipe for disaster. On one hand, if our children are not able to live up to our expectations, they feel like failures because we have taught them to root their identity in something other than God and who He created them to be. On the other hand, if our children do go on to accomplish a certain level of success, many times they make poor choices, and their lives begin to crumble because they lack a strong spiritual foundation to help them navigate through the temptations and pitfalls that sometimes accompany that type of success. The sad truth is that casting a worldly vision without a spiritual vision to undergird it sets our children up for failure, sometimes on an eternal level.
If you doubt whether God has an eternal plan and vision for your child, consider the words of Psalm 139: 14-16:
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
Rise Above the Tension
The tension between a worldly vision and an eternal vision is that one allows us to feel in control, while the other requires complete surrender. One is based on self-reliance, and the other demands complete trust. This tension causes us to want to cast our vision a little lower because it feels safer, and we get to feel a sense of being in control.
Unfortunately, the thing that we fail to realize is that when we cast that higher, eternal vision for our families, several wonderful things begin to occur. First, our children start to grow deep spiritual roots that will help anchor them and give them the ability to weather life’s difficult storms. Their identities also become tethered to God and who He created them to be. At the same time, we begin to have the burden of feeling responsible for our children’s success lifted as we align our hearts with God’s will and begin to trust Him to reveal His perfect plan for our children’s lives. At that point, our vision shifts from one that simply focuses on the limited horizon we can see in front of us to the vastness of the entire universe and all of eternity.
As the school year draws to a close, we have a perfect opportunity to conduct a vision assessment. I encourage you to sit down as a family and examine where you spend your time, money, and resources. Ask yourselves if those things are pulling your vision down to a temporary, worldly level or if they are raising your eyes to see a higher eternal vision. Determine whether your pursuits are making a positive contribution only to the here and now or if they have the possibility of bearing fruit for generations to come.
Finally, when you are tempted to lower your eyes and focus on the things of this world, I want to challenge you to keep this one thought in mind. One day we will all stand before God, and on that day, He will not recognize us by our worldly accomplishments, but will instead be solely focused on whether we had a relationship with Him or not. It’s for that very reasons that we must commit to casting a higher vision.
Dawn Benson Jones is a follower of Christ, who is blessed to live in the beautiful Texas Hill Country with the love of her life and her four amazing children. She loves to write about her passion for faith and family at dawnbensonjones.com. In her free time, you are likely to find her writing or hanging out with her family. To learn more, connect with Dawn on Facebook.