Leadership Influence: My Vision Problem

Blog / Produced by The High Calling

I’ve been wrestling lately with this whole idea of vision. Or perhaps more accurately, with the lack thereof. And it’s odd because several years ago, I delivered a speech in Toastmasters on this very subject. I began by quoting the familiar proverb, “Without vision the people perish.” Advice from the pages on white built-in bookcases in my bedroom remind me that vision is important to business success. To life success.

Instinctively, I know it’s true. I’m inspired when I see the results of lives lived pursuing vision. Howard Butts, Sr. and his wife had a selfless vision for a Place and I am better because of my recent time there. Jim Baucom, Jr., Rex Hammond, Ken Burger and Christine Kennedy, all people with great vision.

But me? Not so much. I went to Laity Lodge last week, seeking God’s vision for my life, or at least for the next phase of the journey. Thursday morning, as I ran along white pebble road, I sensed God saying, “Look up.”

You should know that running is hard for me. I have to concentrate and carefully watch each step. I run with head down, and when there’s an incline, I tuck my chin to my chest. To keep distractions at bay, I wear a baseball hat and sunglasses, much like a race horse wears blinders. Most days, I listed to music on my iPod. I only look up occasionally, to make sure I’m on the right course, and that there are no tree limbs overhead waiting to clobber me or wayward branches hoping to poke me in the eye. If I look up for longer than a glance, I get discouraged. The destination seems unattainable. My pace slows, sometimes to a grinding halt.

For the remainder of my run, I looked up. Fortunately the road was free of pot holes and low hanging limbs. The running with my head up, that was hard. The wind blew in my eyes ’til they watered. I had to remind myself to look up, because my natural inclination is to watch shoe over shoe. The view was so spectacular that I fully expected God to shout out His vision to me. Instead I heard, “you can’t see the vision because you’re looking at your feet.” I heaped condemnation on myself.

Later that day I journaled, hoping to gain clarity. “I’ve been asking for a God-sized dream, for focus, and it just occurred to me. Biblically speaking, Abraham, Joseph and even Paul--none of them asked for Your voice. You just made it known in Your time. So am I being presumptuous?”

With more questions than answers, I returned home and settled into routine, I took to familiar streets for my morning run. Forests, trees. Vision. People perishing. Dreams. The words all swirled in my brain as I ran and prayed. Again, “you can’t see the vision because you’re looking at your feet.” This time, however, I heard the words differently. Not booming with condemnation, but with a hushed whisper of love.

God wasn’t condemning me for not having vision. He created me, knowing full well that I’m a step by step kinda girl. He wants me to see glimpses of Him, His beauty. But He also knows what I need most is His Presence in the step by step, so I don’t get discouraged or overwhelmed with where He’s taking me.

I don’t have to be who I’m not. He is my vision.


Leadership Influence: Beyond the Stereotype

When we think of “leadership” or “influence,” we often get the image of a person of arrogant swagger, always self-confidently willing to tell people what they ought to do. And we naturally find such an image unseemly. This is not the image of Jesus, the most influential person who walked the planet. Neither is it the image of those we truly admire and can name were the most influential people in our own lives. In this series at The High Calling, Leadership Influence: Beyond the Stereotype, we feature stories of how people can be influential in ways that really matter.