In the past few weeks, I have been in a number of discussions about what my vision or dream might be. I am talking about the “where do I see my life in 5-10 years,” kind of vision. Contemplating this has always been a challenge for me because I am not sure how to do it. My friend told me to give myself permission to imagine big ideas and write down everything regarding what I think is possible and what will take some faith to make happen. It can be a scary process especially when it comes to relying on my faith to make my vision happen because I like to rely on something tangible when it comes to my future. I like guarantees.
So how do we discover our vision when it is not so obvious? A number of scholars say as a child we all dared to dream and we are to get in touch with what that might have been. I have racked my brain trying to recognize what a young Denise might have wanted to be in her hopes and dreams. My best guess was to be a “Solid Gold” dancer from the 70’s show bearing the same name. While I love to dance, I don’t believe that truly was what my heart was thinking at the time. I use my heart as a reference point of what or who I am, because the heart is the soul of our physical, emotional and spiritual being. We often say that someone is the “heart and soul” of the organization or follow your heart whether it is for a vocation or education or a relationship. When we recognize that our hearts are the very soul of who we are, then it makes sense that this very necessary part of our physical being would want us to succeed at whatever we do. When we follow our hearts, we follow our passion, which will make our heart sing with JOY.
The word “joy” has special meaning for me, as it is my middle name, which has also been passed down to my youngest granddaughter Finley. The typical definition is happiness and gladness but for me, experiencing joy happens way down deep. The feeling is not giddy or ecstatic but a profound sense of wholeness and confident pleasure. Happiness can be changed by events from the outside environment but joy comes completely from the inside and is not based on what is happening around you. It comes from the heart.
Joy does not come with money or prestige attached. You don’t have to be rich and famous to live out your dreams and have joy. Many rich and famous people are very unhappy in spite of their worldly success. I will confess that I have put too much emphasis on titles. I have often thought that doctors, lawyers and pastors were some of the highest esteemed positions that existed. I was in awe of their education and the knowledge they have gained in practicing their craft. I grew up with respect for pastors because of their direct connection to God, right? Thank goodness my thinking has changed because there are many people who do not have the education, title or knowledge, like these three vocations, but are just as happy and fulfilled living out their heart’s purpose. I still think that doctors and lawyers have a noble responsibility and I respect pastors greatly because of their call into the ministry of faith, but my point is that they are just people like you and me. It doesn’t take a title or money to be successful or to be able to see a vision come to fruition.
It sometimes takes awhile to identify our dreams as we consider how can we live out our dreams or passions in the real world. Most of us live in the reality that we need to earn a living or we have responsibilities to our families. While a person might dream about becoming a author or a singer, the pay is not good unless you are an accomplished writer or if you are a finalist on the Voice TV show. You are right, living your passion is not as easy as it sounds. But the award winners did not just enter the contest and win. It takes practice, practice and more practice to learn and grow in the craft so when the time comes to step forward into your passion, you are prepared.
There will be times when we will have to take risks in order to accomplish our dreams. Someone pointed out to me that we take risks everyday by just living. When we get up in the morning, we are not sure what will happen throughout the day but that does not stop us from getting out of bed. Each new day is a surprise and an adventure that we should not take for granted. The same can be said for our vision. Without the courage to take the risks involved in becoming who we are meant to be, our hearts will not be fulfilled. Your heart will continue to remind you of your purpose or vision for your life. It is always seeking to help you find who you are meant to be. Are you ready to take the risk to listen to your heart and find your real purpose? Just as God knew us before we were born, Proverbs 3:3-6 assures us that God is ready to help us with the vision for your future too by saying, “With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow.” What is your vision?