A couple of months back, I spoke with a couple who wanted to learn how to manage their money. At first, they seemed eager to begin coaching. But then I asked them about their “why” for getting out of debt. “We just don’t want to go broke and be homeless,” they said. I replied with, “Yes, but nobody wants to be broke and homeless. What is it that makes your lives different? Where do you want to go? What do you want to do?” They didn’t have an answer. And I realized that they didn’t know how to create a vision for life.
So why is a guy who blogs about money so concerned about something like vision? Because I believe what the Bible says about the importance of it. Proverbs 29:18a says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” In other words, it’s a lot easier to run off a cliff if you don’t know where you’re going.
Creating a vision is essential to the Christian life. Vision is also essential when it comes to stewarding your resources for God’s glory. So let’s take a look at how to create a profound vision for your life.
1. Pray over what God would have you do
Everything begins and ends with prayer. Scripture continuously reminds us to bring our concerns and our needs before God. The same should be true as we’re trying to form a vision for our lives. After all, our lives truly belong to him. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” – Psalm 24:1
As you speak with the Lord, consider what Scriptures he brings to mind. Search God’s Word and see where he takes you. Talk to him about your desires, your dreams, and your plans. Once you do so, you’ll have a clearer idea as to whether or not your plans line up with his.
2. Have a vision meeting with your spouse (or accountability partner if you’re single)
If you’re married, there’s nothing more important than you and your spouse being on the same page. For the singles out there, you need someone who can speak into your life and help you think through things.
Set up a time to meet and speak with your spouse. Talk about your shared dreams and goals, as well as your individual ones. Also, just spend some time getting to know each other more! And yes, it’s okay for each of you to have different dreams. However, you both need to be on board with supporting and loving each other so you can accomplish those dreams together.
If you’re single, find an accountability partner who can challenge you and make you think. It’s always good to confide in someone. Moreover, a friend can help you think through blind spots in your plans.
3. Think specifically about where you want to be and what you want to do.
Which of these statements is more compelling:
A. I want to be able to give a lot of money and help people.
B. I want to give money to build a community center so I can better show the love of Christ to those in need. Furthermore, I want to be involved in this project and become a mentor to young men in my community.
Hopefully, you said option B. Why? Because it’s a lot more specific.
When it comes to having a vision, you need to be clear and specific. Sure, giving money and helping people is great. But who do you want to give to? How do you want to help? Ask yourself who, what, where, when, why, and how. Once you know the direction you’re going, you can begin to create a vision for your life.
4. Begin to envision ways you can give, serve, grow wealth, and enjoy wealth
The Bible makes it very clear that Christians are to be cheerful givers. After all, we are stewards of all the good things God gives to us. This includes our wealth, time, and other resources.
Often, you’ll find that people gain little satisfaction by just throwing money at everything. Instead, try to involve yourself with whatever you give to. So, whether that’s mission trips, a youth mentorship program, or a homeless shelter, find ways to give your time as well as your money.
It’s also biblical to build and enjoy wealth. Yes, the Bible does give some stern warnings about wealth. But all those warnings are about misusing wealth. You can still build wealth and be within God’s will. However, make sure you’re not just building your own kingdom. As a steward, your wealth is for God’s kingdom. But as it’s a gift from God, he will also allow you to enjoy some of it.
Therefore, as you learn how to create a vision for your life, be sure to include elements of giving, serving, building wealth, and enjoying wealth.
5. Budget based on your vision
Hopefully, you already have a budget. If not, you need to start TODAY! A budget is you telling your money where to go and what to do. Furthermore, if you have long-term and short-term goals in mind, you need to plan accordingly.
For example, if you plan to put your children through college, you should start saving as soon as possible. This can look like budgeting $100 a month into an ESA, or it could mean putting in $10,000 a year for two or three years. Either way, it doesn’t happen by accident.
This also means thinking ahead about retirement. Once you’re debt-free, you should invest at least 15% of your gross income into retirement. Otherwise, you may not be able to fund the things for your vision. But budgeting for this starts now. Don’t put this off.
6. Make a plan to eliminate financial obstacles to your vision
For one, I encourage you to take a look at what the Bible has to say about debt. Spoiler alert! The Bible never speaks positively about debt.
Also, a large amount of debt can have a profoundly negative impact on your finances. If you don’t eliminate your debt, you may not be able to make the impact you desire.
7. Start living your vision now
Living your vision isn’t something you put off until later. There are things you can do to start living it now. As an example, let’s revisit the community center situation we talked about earlier in point 3. You may not be able to fully fund a community center now. However, you can involve yourself in the lives of young people. Also, you can start to learn how to be a good mentor and teacher.
Involving yourself with your vision now will fuel the passion for it later. In other words, don’t just sit on the sidelines. Get in there and get your hands dirty!
Create a Vision for Your Life
This week I take my daughter to her college dorm. We go out for one last daddy-daughter Chick-fil-A date, where she smiles at me and tells me not to worry. I don’t worry, because I’ve prepared her for this moment. She doesn’t have to pay a dime for college, and we fully prepared her for the world to come. I cry on my way home, but I know that she is secure both in her faith and in her finances.
I see the young man in my church who has a huge passion for mission work. I’ve grown more impressed with his maturity and passion for the gospel. However, his family is going through a tough time. He won’t be able to pay for the youth mission trip. I silently write a check and hand it to the youth pastor. He can go on the trip. He’ll never know who paid his way. When he returns, he gives a testimony of how God used him and the other youth on the trip. And I praise God.
My church takes a yearly trip to Bulgaria, where I previously served as a missionary. I’m able to fully fund my trip myself. Furthermore, I anonymously donate some money to each of the other group members. We get there and work alongside some of my dear Bulgarian brothers and sisters. We share the love of Christ and support our Bulgarian friends as they continue to labor in a hard place.
None of these stories have happened…yet.
Do you know what these three stories have in common? None of them have happened yet. But these are parts of the vision that I have for my life. I write them so you can see and hear what it sounds like to crystal-clear pictures for your life. When you have a muddled vision, it only creates confusion. Therefore, picture very clearly the things you want to accomplish. And see if you can do them over and over again!
The Ultimate Vision and the Ultimate “Why”
Truly, whenever you create a vision for your life, you’re not just trying to create your own vision. You’re trying to discover God’s vision for your life. Of course, we can’t plan every single detail of what God will do for us. However, we can get to know ourselves, our gifts, and our talents and use those for God’s glory.
So, why give, serve, and build wealth? Because God created us in his image and made us to be like our Savior. Our Savior is a giver. He gave everything for us on the cross, showing us the meaning of true sacrifice. Our Savior is also a servant. “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28 ESV). He is the ultimate example of servant leadership, taking the time to invest in people and show them love. Finally, our Savior is rich in everything. He is the owner of all things, and he gives abundantly to all who belong to him.
In conclusion, why do all those things? Because our Creator designed us to reflect his image. And for the Christian, we reflect his image when we steward his gifts for his glory. Do you see how this isn’t just about money? This is about something much deeper. Therefore, I implore you to create a vision for your lives. Go and build a plan to reflect the image of God.
For further reading on this subject, check out the books below!
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