If you finally want to do the things you always wanted to do, you need to know how to write a vision for your life. This applies to those who already have an idea of their vision, but writing a personal vision will especially help everyone who doesn’t yet know what his or her calling in life is.
Writing a personal vision
Has somebody ever asked you to describe your life, ten years from now? Or write a personal vision essay? That usually happens in a job interview or a personal development course.
I always disliked that exercise. It was a painful reminder of how far away I was from where I actually wanted to be. From where I should have been – had I only made the right choices.
But that is exactly what you need to do, when you write a vision for your life. But don’t start with where you are now. Instead, write down where you want to be. And I mean WANT.
When you envision your life, don’t let your dreams be blurred by your current circumstances. Envision what you truly want your life to look like! I once heard someone say this about Will Smith, the actor and film producer: When he writes is his movie scripts, he starts with the last scene.
So before you write a vision for your life, think about it: What do you want to achieve? Where do you want to get to? What is it you want to change in this world?
What does the Bible say about vision for your life?
In the Bible we find many inspiring and helpful verses about goal setting and planning. The Bible also tells us that God has a vision for your life. He created everyone for a particular purpose, a calling in life.
Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is one who keeps the Law.” (NASB)
Proverbs 21:15 “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” (NLT)
Luke 14:28 “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” (ESV)
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (NLT)
Read also: 30 Bible verses on vision and purpose
Throughout the Bible, God gave many men and women dreams and visions. Most of those visions had a national dimension, i.e. were for the nation of Israel, and therefore addressed future generations.
What all of these visions and dreams in the Bible had in common was that they were written down. It was so that future generations could read it and act on it.
In the Bible, Daniel chapter 9, we read that Daniel read Jeremiah’s prophecy about the Jewish people’s exile in Babylon. God had promised that the exile would last 70 days. Thank God, Daniel got hold of a written copy of Jeremiah’s vision, and started to intercede.
Write the vision…
In the book of Habakkuk chapter 2, the Bible underlines the importance of writing our personal vision, and also how to write a vision:
“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” (Habakkuk 2:2-3, ESV)
Writing your personal vision helps you verbalise, maybe for the first time, what you really want in life. You will see things clearer and maybe notice a pattern. There might be things that overlap. As you do this, more and more ideas will start to flow.
…make it plain
God told Habakkuk to “make it plain”. Writing bold vision statements is great but they are pointless unless they are fleshed out with clear and concise description of what is actually meant.
A vision statement like “I want to change the world” sounds bold but what does that actually mean? What exactly you want to change?
Writing a vision for our life gives us direction. If we don’t know where we are going, we don’t know what decisions to take on a daily basis. Where will you live, what career choices will you make, what kind of person will you marry?
Without a vision, your life will happen to you. Others will make decisions for you. On the contrary, if you know where your life is going, you will be in control of your life. You will take decisions that will get you closer to your vision. (Be sure to also read: The power of having a vision)
How to write a vision for your life
Let’s get practical.
Take a notebook, divide it into 7 sections. At the top of each section, write down the below listed areas of your life. Then start writing down what you have on your heart and on your mind.
1. Write a vision for your passion/calling
If for a long time we have not been engaging with or pursuing what we are truly passionate about, we may have lost sight of it.
Do this exercise: Think about all the things you always wanted to do. These can be big things and small things, one-time things and ongoing things.
Here some examples:
- Climb an eight-thousander or run the marathon in your favourite city
- Set up a soup kitchen for the homeless in your neighbourhood
- Write a book, set up a business
- Preach the gospel to a particular people
- Learn playing the piano, take art lessons
- Turn your hobby into your profession
- Find the cure for cancer
- End child poverty in a particular country
2. Write a vision for your career
This might overlap a bit with the above section, and that is totally ok. It may be, that you want to make your passion or calling your profession.
- If you are content with your current career, where do you want to get to?
- If you would like a different career, what would it look like?
- What further education do you need and where can you get it?
- How can you ensure a successful, responsible and smooth transition? (Do NOT just quit your job!)
- Do you need to go back to university? Can you do part-time studies alongside your current job?
3. Write a vision for your personal growth
Think about the person you would like to be: positive, mature, consistent, fun to be around, kind, etc. You need a plan and work towards that. Personal growth does not happen by chance.
- Which habits do you want/need to get rid of, and which new ones do you want to learn?
- How can you work on your character flaws?
- Which debilitating fears do you want to overcome? If you step out of your comfort zone, you’ll get more and more comfortable and secure!
- What kind of people do you want to be around? Do you actually have the right kind of friends? (E.g. do they have your back and celebrate your success? Or are they toxic people, constantly putting you down?)
4. Write a vision for your spiritual growth
It is important to also think about how you want to grow spiritually with God. We can easily get caught up in our busy schedule (especially as we pursue our vision and our calling).
Beware of spiritual shipwreck, but also, don’t just try to keep your head above the water – it is growth that you want! Ways how you can grow spiritually are:
- Have a “date” with God each day or each week to speak to him and listen.
- Study the Bible more regularly than you do now and/or invest more time so you can dig a little deeper than before.
- Attend a Bible school that offers studies for personal enrichment.
- Get involved in a ministry in church or even lead it.
- Take responsibility for at least one person at your church and be their mentor.
- Develop a particular spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12:8-10) or a ministry gift (Ephesians 4:11-12).
- Help out in a ministry that it outside your comfort zone (e.g. street evangelism)
5. Write a vision for your marriage & family
This exercise is for everyone who is or wants to be married and has or wants to have children. Single people: write how you would like your future marriage and family to look like.
- What do you want your marriage to look like?
- How do you want to do family life? If you have children, should one parent stay at home, or should both of you have full time jobs?
- How do you envision your relationship with your children? How do you want to raise them in the faith you have?
- What family traditions you want to build? E.g. family prayer, Sunday lunch with the extended family, live in a multi-generational household.
6. Write a vision for your finances
Think about how much money you want to earn and how you will use that money.
- How much should be spent on yourself, how much do you want to invest in others?
- What is the standard of living you want?
- By when do you want to be debt-free?
- How much money do you want to have at your retirement?
- Think about laying up treasures in Heaven by investing in the kingdom of God.
- To what extend are you willing to support your family? Should your children have a job while at university or do you want to put money aside to support them financially?
7. Write a vision for your health – mental and physical
It is in our self-interest to live a healthy lifestyle. But to the Christians out there: your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). So please, take care of that temple.
- Keep your Sabbath: Plan and schedule time of rest. God rested on the seventh day, you should too.
- Eat healthy, nutritious food and exercise.
- Write down things that you enjoy doing, like reading a book, going for walks in the nature, attending a musical concert.
- Which countries do you want to visit?
What to do and not to do when you write your vision
As you are writing your personal vision, you will notice that in some areas, your thoughts will just flow. That is probably because you have been carrying those dreams on your heart for so long. In other areas, you may need to take more time to think about what you really want.
- Be specific.
- Be bold.
- Dare to dream!
- Don’t write down what someone else thinks you should do. This is about you and the dreams God has given you!
- Don’t be discouraged by where you are currently. Maybe you are totally unqualified for what your true vision is. That’s ok – that is exactly why you need to write your vision.
Remember: Your dreams are not impossible. Most of us will unlikely dream of flying to Mars. You will be dreaming of something, that someone else has done before you. In other words: it is achievable!
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After writing your vision: Take action
Writing your vision will not make your vision come to pass. It is the beginning. Now you need to know where you want to go and set appropriate goals.
Pursuing your vision involves work. It involves action. Your envisioned life will not fall into your lap.
The Israelites were given the Promised Land as an inheritance. But they had to take possession of it by fighting and winning battles. If you have a dream or a vision for your life, you’re the one who needs to do the work!
You may not see the full picture yet, but unless you step out, you won’t get any closer to whatever your vision is. Think about a satnav, it will only give you directions, if you are on the road.
Don’t miss your life while pursuing your vision
As you write your vision and start setting goals, bear in mind that productivity is not the end goal. That is why you don’t just need to write a vision for your calling, but also your family, your relationships and your health.
You need to rest and be refreshed. You need people in your life with whom you have meaningful relationships.
A beautiful, exciting life does not happen by accident. It is planned and intentional! Don’t miss your life, don’t miss the seasons you are in, for the sake of pursuing your vision.
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