How can we be certain we don’t repeat the same mistakes? And I’m not talking about dating or second marriages. Have you measured your progress recently? Where do you envision yourself in ten years? In twenty years? Not financially, and to be frank, this blog isn’t about finances at all… It’s about dreaming again, moving forward, and finding hope – right in the midst of our mess. If we don’t want our spiritual walks, our relationships, our emotions, our bank accounts, and our environments to stay in the chaos they are in after divorce; we need to create a measurable plan to improve them. We need a vision for our future… one that isn’t tainted by wounds and negative thoughts.
In Proverbs 21:5 we read that “the plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance…”, it’s one of the most quoted scriptures regarding financial planning. But it really applies to all areas of our lives. No one becomes rich in money, love, or experience without planning to do so. We can’t just float in a river – without a current – and expect to get up stream. Merely creating a vision for our future doesn’t make us successful, but it does give us a beacon by which we can measure our progress to ensure we are moving forward. Without a vision, we would just be floating aimlessly into the path of least resistance – allowing every ripple that comes our way to change our direction.
5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.Proverbs 21:5 (ESV)
After divorce, we don’t necessarily think about creating a vision for just us. We know we have to reconfigure our finances and divide up material possessions, but have we sat down and reconfigured everything else?
Part of what hurts so bad in losing a marriage is grieving what never came to pass. All the plans you and your spouse had created… your hopes and dreams merged into one vision that you thought was going to be your future. Maybe you guys had planned to travel after retirement or maybe you had planned to return to school when your children got older or maybe you were struggling to make it through each week so your vision was for where you would be next month?? Even if you have been divorced for several years, you may still experience feelings of despair as a result of the crumbling storyline you had written.
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.2 Corinthians 4:8-9
It’s essential to our personal progress that we create a new vision for our future. We need to redefine our hopes and dreams, try to understand what parts of our married vision still pertain to us? I recommend that you sit down and write out a vision statement for your life and what you would like to achieve personally. Our hope cannot solely lie on earthly relationships. We must have an achievable vision we can look forward to – vision that only requires relationship with Christ and action on OUR part. Having a vision changes our perspective on our current struggles and sacrifices, giving them purpose for our journey. It’s much easier to face hardship when we know there is change ahead. I can stay on budget all month long if I know there is new pair of shoes at the end of the month – Haha! Most of us don’t mind eating healthy all day if we know we can have a treat after dinner… it only makes sense that we see our sacrifices as less trouble if we have something bright on the other side!
I am listing a few things below to remember when creating a vision statement. This list is from an old sermon on Hope by Senior Pastor, Chris Hodges, from my home church.
- Your past DOES NOT dictate your future
- Some of our greatest battles are not EXTERNAL but INTERNAL
- OTHERS can’t deter you from your destiny. People cannot stop what God has planned for you.
- Failure to let go of your past WILL destroy your destiny.
- Associate yourself with people who are like-minded with your PURPOSE not those who are like-minded with your personality.
- Sometimes God uses unusual situations for His GREATEST blessings.
Before we marry, we have all these hopes and dreams in our heads. When we haven’t been broken, it isn’t very difficult to create a fairytale future. We may not have written out what we dreamed about but we thought it. And some little portion of that dream was a hope that we could cling onto even when we were less than satisfied with our circumstances. Ex. We were okay with being in high school because we knew one day we would graduate… we were okay with being alone because we dreamed about one day getting married… we were okay with being a broke college student because one day we knew we would be in the workforce. When we are young, anticipating change seems natural. As we age, marry, and have children that changes. Somewhere in the midst of becoming a family we change our mindset to hold onto to every minute – which isn’t a bad idea – life happens fast, cherish those moments. The struggle is that we get swept up in the extreme, we go from wishing our life away to praying our kids never grow up and fighting to make time stand still… you know?
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”Psalm 39:7 (KJV)
Taking the time to layout a vision in front of us can help us find that ground between wishing away the present and holding onto to the past. Our hope shouldn’t be in the things here in earth but in Christ and eternity. While we should enjoy the season of life we are currently in, we shouldn’t dread the next one. As a mom, that’s easy to say but hard to think about. Does that mean I should be happy my toddlers are no longer babies??? As hard as it is, YES – I should, God created them for a purpose and my role as a parent is to help them steward their gifts and talents to fulfill that purpose and grow God’s Kingdom. I love every second – hold on – I don’t want to lie Haha! So maybe not the time they painted each other with fingernail polish – but I do love the season we are in. It’s important that we keep in mind God has purpose for each season we face and that means I do look forward to the new opportunities He has planned for the next stage of parenthood for me. I happen to have a teenager in addition to those two toddlers, so I know first hand that with each season of parenthood God brings new purpose and new joy. The same goes for the seasons in other areas of our lives. The seasons shouldn’t change our divine purpose but our divine purpose should change the way we approach the seasons! We can’t apply that principle if we don’t have a vision for our future. The point in having a vision is to learn to have hope by finding ways to use our current situations to propel us closer to our goals…
NEXT WEEKS POST:
GET REFOCUSED Part Two: Two types of vision