One of the most important abilities we have is the ability to imagine. The greatest nation on earth is the nation called imagination. No matter what is happening around us, no matter how dire the situation is we are always able to escape with our imagination. We can dream, we can have a vision, we can picture a different future, we can have it all in detail in our mind, and this is called visioning or dreaming and it is a very important capacity for every human being.
Essentially a vision is seeing the future in the present build on the past, or it is seeing the invisible and making it visible or it is an informed bridge from the present to a better future.
JC Maxwell defines a vision as follows:
“it is a clear mental picture of a better tomorrow given by God which moves a person to believe that it not only could be done but that it should be done”
A vision is a clear picture, it serves as a sort of a map on the inside, secondly, it brings a positive change, it improves the present condition by introducing a better future. It has a future focus, it finishes direction to the unseen future, it is a gift from God, and it is divinely inspired not humanly manipulated, it is to a chosen people and time, it is for a select leader and a group at a given time.
Your vision or your dream is always about how you will create a better future for other people. It is not about yourself; when people’s vision consist only of beautiful houses and cars, it is not a proper dream, a vision is always about how you are going to help other people. A fruit on a tree is not for the benefit for the tree, it is for the benefit of other people.
So how do we birth a vision?
Step 1: Intimacy
The first step to birth a vision is solitude. In the same way that a husband and a wife must experience solitude to give birth to a baby, a leader must experience intimacy with God in order to conceive a vision.
You can’t catch a vision in your spare time, you catch a vision when you cultivate a deep and intimate relationship with God, this provides God an opportunity to speak and reveal, what He wants you as a leader to do. He plants the vision seed inside you.
Step 2: Conception
Conception does not occur every time a husband and a wife come together, however when God does reveal a vision to you it comes in a seed form and must grow inside of you, he plants the vision in you and in the beginning it may still seem unclear not fully formed, but it will grow and just like a baby will look like both mom and dad – as the vision grow, it will look like God, it will be big and centre around his priorities and it will look like you, it matches your interest and gifts.
Step 3: Gestation
This is the longest period of time in the process. It takes 9 months for a child to be born, it takes almost two years for an elephant cub to be born. A vision from God may take even longer during this time the leader identifies with the problem intercedes for the people and intervenes in the process. The vision is forming inside the leader, when a baby is forming inside the mother it changes the mother dramatically. So is it with a vision, God’s vision will stretch you, and you will never be satisfied again with a manmade idea.
Finally the vision is born, everyone can see the fruits of planning, work and prayer, actually many come to celebrate with you at this point and you may wonder where they were when you were struggling to keep the vision alive. Don’t get angry, let them celebrate with you and invite them to help you bring up the vision. The vision must now grow up and eventually stand on its own.
The difference between a manmade vision and a God given vision according to JC Maxwell
- A manmade vision you create it based on your gifts and skills, a God given vision you receive it as a revelation from God.
- A manmade vision’s fulfilment rest on staying ahead of others, a God given vision rest on the leader’s obedience.
- A manmade vision is when seeing similar organisations as competitors, in a God given vision similar organisations are seen as complimentary.
- A manmade vision’s goal is to build your organisation and generate revenue, a God given vision is to serve people advance God’s rule and to honour God.
Why don’t you start today, set yourself apart and in solitude seek the presence of God so He may give you a dream and the vision that will capture your life and give direction to your life. In my own experience, in the lowest times of my life the vision that God has put in me has always lifted me up, and has always encouraged me that I am here in this world to make a contribution that I am indeed necessary just as you are necessary!
Adapted from “I Have a Dream!” Million leaders mandate by Dr. John C Maxwell Notebook 1.
By: Nhlanhla Zwane