Then the Lord answered me and said, “Write the vision and engrave it plainly on [clay] tablets so that the one who reads it will run. “For the vision is yet for the appointed [future] time It hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail. Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it, Because it will certainly come; it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:2-3 (AMP)
Whether I was at a conference, meeting, church event or doing schoolwork, every time I read this verse and paid attention to the teachings that followed on vision and goals, I’d get lost and puzzled.
To me, vision and goals seemed similar. The difference lies in vision being a long-term goal. Still, I could tell something was amiss in my understanding. I believed wholeheartedly Prov 29:18.
Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained; but happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God]. Proverbs 29:18 (AMP)
Naturally, the start of a new year always resurfaced these scriptures as people prepared themselves for another year. Year after year, I remained puzzled about the difference between vision and goals. Until…
God answered a prayer
Considering the vast differences between me and my husband in character, personality, worldviews, and spiritual beliefs, it’s understandable that I began to complain both to God and my husband my frustration at no “us” dynamic as a family or married couple.
No, we haven’t been co-existing. Our interests have seen us in this beautiful conundrum of “separateness” but together. (Don’t try to figure it out ha ha ha ha).
Recently, my hubby started dreaming about homesteading on a beautiful piece of land in the US. I listened as our mutual love for countryside living and travel morphed from RV living to homesteading to relocating. What I saw more than a dream was an “us” starting to form as a family sharing a mutual goal and vision.
God began to explain to me the difference between the two:
Vision vs Goal
Whatever you want to do in life needs to be driven by a sense of purpose, also called “your why”. This purpose is born out of your understanding of who God is, his plans for your life, your aspirations, dreams and desires, your gifts and skills, and your identity. This becomes your why which gives you your vision.
We need a vision to give us direction in our lives. It’s the life we want to live; the people we want to become; and the things we want to do.
Without vision, we are shooting at everything but never really hitting anything. We have no bullseye to aim for. We end up wasting our time. Our goals slip into a pile of unachieved checklists. Or, they land up in the “one day box” – “one day, I’ll do…..; one day, I’ll visit…..” This sets us up for living a mediocre life full of disappointment and discontent.
Vision is the reason you have goals. It’s the why behind everything we do. Without it, we have no hope and we tumbleweed through life.
Goals are the steps we take to achieve our vision. Our big dreams and plans can only be achieved if we break them up into small achievable goals. Goals are our stepping stones in life; they help us get to where we want to go.
Here’s an example.
Our vision is this – live a life out of the rat race; give our children amazing experiences of culture, family, history, and life, have an adventure. Leave a legacy behind for the next generations who can live on our “farm” steeped with heritage.
Given that living in the US on a homestead is our dream, hubby and I had to give ourselves some goals. These goals look something like this:
- Update family EU passports
- Apply for jobs over in the UK
- Do our homework for cost of living, land prices, job availability, paperwork, etc.
- Cancel schooling for the kids so we can homeschool
- Spring clean our home to see what we can sell or donate
- Sell our household goods
- Hubby goes over to the UK for a job while I stay at home to pack up our lives into 10 bags and 2 boxes.
- Settle in the UK.
And the list can go on. For the sake of time and making my point, I won’t give you the full plan. These goals have been broken down into achievable tasks. We tackle one at a time until we end up reaching our dream.
Our vision will keep us focused on achieving these goals and seeing our dream fulfilled. Even when our dreams are fulfilled, the vision will keep us enhancing our quality of life, defining our family decisions and interactions. We don’t know where we’ll end up all we are doing is putting one foot in front of the other.
Write down your vision
Now that you’ve got a better idea of the difference between vision and goals, it’s your turn to look at what your vision is. Here are a few things to think about while you write down your vision:
- What is your purpose?
- What are your core values?
- What do you want your future to look like
- How is are your gifts and talents going to play a role in this
- What makes you come alive
As you write down your vision, ask God to help you. Allow him to give you a vision that will last for the next 100 years. Your vision needs to be able to tie into your legacy as the motivator and reason you did what you did in your lifetime. How are you going to leave an impact in this world? A vision does not need goals to achieve it. Vision is all about the drive and heart in everything we do. It guides us in our life journey.
Resources to help you find your vision and purpose
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