by R.A. Weigel, Ed.D, CPCC, CLPC, and President of CCNI
Who you are today is the perfect person for your present reality, but not the person you need to get you to a different future.
I love working with people on their vision for the future. It’s really “co-creating” a vision of the future with the Lord’s help. What is often difficult to understand during our vision coaching is that the person they are today is not the person for their future. In order to have the future they want; something has to change. Most often that requires advancement in some form or fashion around skills, education, credentials, physical changes, mental improvements, and most importantly, spiritual growth.
Planning for the future is fun when you’re co-creating it with God and when you do that, it’s usually best to plan with a pencil that has an eraser. The Lord often has a way of bringing holy surprises as you move forward. No matter how much you might like it to be, you’re not going to control all the things that will happen to and for you as you travel toward your future. Many things in life are simply unpredictable.
As a Christian, your decision to be a follower of Christ means you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow him. (Mark 8:34) It’s like riding a bicycle built for two and you’re sitting in the back seat while Christ is in the front. You have a specific role to play, you’ve got to keep pedaling if you want the bike to move, you’ve plenty of dialogue with the front, but Jesus is still steering the bike. He sees the road ahead, steers around the potholes, negotiates the traffic, and keeps you from going toward places of danger. It’s a team effort to get you to your destination.
Some of the things that God is going to do for you along your visionary journey will be unplanned and unscripted. You have an idea of where you want to go and along the way, there will be surprises that may alter your path a bit. You may need to take some time to rest, fix a busted tire, stop to enjoy the scenery, or take the road less traveled. The Lord knows where you’d like to go but he also knows the best way to get you there without you falling away from your commitment to let him be in charge instead of you.
For example, for most of my adult life, the education profession has played a major role. My vision to help children led me to become a teacher and school administrator to help them gain the skills, knowledge, and higher-order thinking required to make the world a better place. I was continually pushed and challenged to find different forms of educational opportunities for different types of children. Over decades, my vision took many twists and turns, eventually leading me to become a Christian leadership coach who loves to work with educators to help them – so they can help their students. God knew the heart of my vision and he also provided me the insights for a road less traveled.
God knows your heart, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to take the time to co-create your vision with him and keep talking to him about where it is you want to go. As you take action toward your vision, don’t be too surprised when things aren’t going exactly the way you think they should be going. God always has plans for you – plans for good and not disaster – to give you a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) As Robert Frost said in the fourth stanza of his famous poem The Road Not Taken:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
God is great at providing new and challenging opportunities for your growth when you’re moving in a direction the two of you have outlined together. Sitting and waiting is seldom your best option. As you frame a vision for your future, God will put you in circumstances that will challenge you. You’re going to have to step up, step out, think differently, and trust him more. If you want God to do something new in your life – you can’t simply keep doing what you’ve always done.
The person who will get you to where you want to be in the future – to do the great things you dream of doing – is the person that God is helping YOU to become. And with every trial, level, or opportunity you face, when you allow Christ to steer the bike, it will always be moving you to a destination where you and the Lord will make great things happen.