Where there is no vision

…the people perish. (Prov 29:18a)

One of the final projects I’ve been working on this week for seminary is writing my personal mission and vision statements.  It’s been a challenging, fun exercise to imagine and articulate the direction my life is taking.  Where do I see myself in five years?  What am I doing?  What have I done?  At the end of my life, what do I want to have accomplished?  What do I want my life to have been about?

Lewis Carroll wrote, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do.”  I don’t know about you – but I don’t want my  life to be about just taking “any ol’ road”.  I want my life to be purposeful and intentional.  Of course, that intentionality doesn’t discount and ignore God’s leading and directing.  But without any goals or mission, I am surely going to miss out on what He has planned.

I love the translation of Proverbs 29:18 from the Message:

If people can’t see what God is doing,
they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
they are most blessed.

What about you?  Do you see what God is doing?  Are you stumbling in the dark, or are your feet firmly traveling on a path, lighted by His lamp? Have you stopped to imagine life 3, 5 or even 10 years from now?  It’s definitely worth the effort to spend time sorting and sifting through your goals, dreams, aspirations and desires.  When you’ve done that, write your own mission and vision statement.  An excellent book to help you is The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life by Laurie Beth Jones.

Here are my personal mission and vision statements.  They’re still a work in progress, but maybe reading someone else’s will encourage each of you to take a stab at creating your own.  Because remember, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Mission Statement:

My mission and passion in life is to serve, pursue, and inspire transformation and justice for the hurting and marginalized.

Vision Statement:

It’s Monday late-morning, and as the children complete their schoolwork, I survey the living room. I’m awed by the rainbow of faces and chorus of international accents, remembering each child’s background and story. Several have been a “Marble” for quite awhile, and I notice they help and encourage the newer additions. I pray for each of their hearts to be open to God’s love and for their lives to contribute meaningfully to society….

I glance at my desk, seeing pictures of houses in Haiti my daughter helped build, and the children’s picture book on adoption another daughter is writing and illustrating. They’re partially buried underneath the new recipe I’ve picked out to try tonight, and the receipt from John and I’s recent date night. The artwork on the walls catch my attention, reminding me of amazing times spent abroad traveling, living, ministering and serving the poor and needy.

Refocusing, I glance at my calendar for the upcoming week – video conference and project due for my doctoral studies, preaching on Wednesday night, and travel to the Midwest to speak at a large event next weekend. I remember it’s Viergine’s turn to come with me, and smile remembering the special one-on-one times with each of the kids as they travel with me to my twice monthly speaking opportunities.

Later in the week as we finish prepping the meal we’re serving at the homeless shelter, the entire family chats excitedly about the girls’ softball team we’re helping coach and our upcoming cross-country camping trip. I grab a coffee on the way out the door to a brainstorming meeting I’ve been asked to be a part of, and drop off my latest newspaper column. A quick stop at the local thrift store reminds me how much I enjoy living in a small town – where I can be just me without the hype of author, speaker and social justice advocate. But as I reflect on the lives changed by that hype, I realize I also wouldn’t trade that in for anything. I sigh, deeply contented and joyful.