Visioneering: Your Guide for Discovering and Maintaining Personal Vision

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9781590524565: Visioneering: Your Guide for Discovering and Maintaining Personal Vision

Everybody ends up somewhere in life.
Wouldn’t you like to end up somewhere on purpose?
 
What breaks your heart? 
What keeps you up at night? 
What could be that should be? 
 
Andy Stanley believes these questions are bread crumbs that lead to the discovery of personal vision. With down-to-earth practicality, Andy extracts principles from the story of Nehemiah to help you discover your purpose in life.
 
Visioneering includes helpful exercises and time-tested ideas for visionary decision-making, personal growth, and leadership at home and at work. Catch a glimpse of God’s incredible vision for your life, relationships, and business—and discover the passion to follow it.
 
Includes discussion guide for use in small groups.

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About the Author:

Communicator, author, and pastor ANDY STANLEY founded Atlanta-based North Point Ministries in 1995. Today, NPM consists of six churches in the Atlanta area and a network of thirty churches around the globe that collectively serve nearly seventy thousand people weekly. As host of Your Move with Andy Stanley, which delivers over five million messages each month through television and podcasts, and author of more than twenty books including Ask It; Seven Practices of Effective Ministry; Deep & Wide; and Next Generation Leader, he is considered one of the most influential pastors in America. Andy and his wife, Sandra, have three grown children and live near Atlanta.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

INTRODUCTION
 
Visioneering. A new word. An old concept. A familiar process. Where definitions fall short, a story often achieves clarity. So let’s begin with a story.
 
On December 17, 1903, at 10:35 a.m., Orville Wright secured his place in history by executing the first powered and sustained flight from level ground. For twelve gravity-defying seconds he flew 120 feet along the dunes of the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
 
In the field of aviation, this historic event represents a beginning. But for Orville and Wilbur Wright, it was the end of a long and tedious journey. A journey initiated by a dream common to every little boy. The desire to fly. But what most children abandon to the domain of fantasy, Orville and Wilbur Wright seized upon as potential reality. They believed they could fly. More than that, they believed they should fly.
 
Wilbur described the birth of their vision this way:
 
Our personal interest in it [aviation] dates from our childhood days. Late in the autumn of 1878, our father came into the house one evening with some object partly concealed in his hands, and before we could see what it was, he tossed it into the air.
 
Instead of falling to the floor, as we expected, it flew across the room till it struck the ceiling, where it fluttered awhile, and finally sank to the floor. It was a little toy, known to scientists as a “hélicoptère,” but which we, with sublime disregard for science, at once dubbed a “bat.”
 
It was a light frame of cork and bamboo, covered with paper, which formed two screws, driven in opposite directions by rubber bands under torsion. A toy so delicate lasted only a short time in the hands of small boys, but its memory was abiding.
 
This childhood experience sparked in the boys an insatiable desire to fly. The only thing they lacked was a means. So they immediately went to work removing the obstacles that stood between them and their dream. They began building their own hélicoptères. In doing so, they stumbled upon the principles of physics that would pave the way to their first successful manned flight. In short, they began to engineer their vision. They took the necessary steps to ensure that what they believed could be, would be. This process captures the essence of visioneering.
 
Visioneering is the course one follows to make dreams a reality. It is the process whereby ideas and convictions take on substance. As the story of the Wright brothers illustrates, visioneering is the engineering of a vision. If I were to boil it down to a formula, it would look something like this:
 
VISIONEERING = INSPIRATION + CONVICTION +
ACTION + DETERMINATION + COMPLETION
 
Destinations
 
Life is a journey. And as you know, every journey has a destination. In the pages that follow, we are going to spend some time discussing your destination. Not heaven and hell. Your destination in this life. Where you will end up in the various roles you play; what you will accomplish personally, professionally, domestically, and spiritually.
 
Everybody ends up somewhere in life. A few people end up somewhere on purpose. Those are the ones with vision. They may have other things going for them as well. But they certainly have vision. Not necessarily vision (singular). Vision for each of the key roles they are assigned along the way.
 
Life is a multifaceted journey. It calls for a multifaceted vision.
 
Whether you are aware of it or not, you have multiple visions for your life. That is, you have a mental picture of what you want the various arenas of your life to look like down the road.
 
If I were to ask you to describe how you picture your life in ten years, chances are you could paint a fairly clear picture. No doubt you could outline a financial profile. You could describe what you hope to achieve relationally. You have some idea of where you want to be professionally. In other words, you would be able to look beyond what is and paint a picture of what could be—and in some cases what should be—true of your life. That’s vision.
 
clear vision, along with the courage to follow through, dramatically increases your chances of coming to the end of your life, looking back with a deep abiding satisfaction, and thinking, I did it. I succeeded. I finished well. My life counted.
 
Without a clear vision, odds are you will come to the end of your life and wonder. Wonder what you could have done—what you should have done. And like so many, you may wonder if your life really mattered at all.
 
Vision gives significance to the otherwise meaningless details of our lives. And let’s face it, much of what we do doesn’t appear to matter much when evaluated apart from some larger context or purpose.
 
But take the minutia of this very day, drop it into the cauldron of a God-ordained vision, stir them around, and suddenly there is purpose! Meaning! Adrenaline!
 
It is the difference between filling bags with dirt and building a dike in order to save a town. There’s nothing glamorous or fulfilling about filling bags with dirt. But saving a city is another thing altogether. Building a dike gives meaning to the chore of filling bags with dirt. And so it is with vision.
 
Too many times the routines of life begin to feel like shoveling dirt. But take those same routines, those same responsibilities, and view them through the lens of vision and everything looks different. Vision brings your world into focus. Vision brings order to chaos. A clear vision enables you to see everything differently.
 
Specifically, vision weaves four things into the fabric of our daily experience.
 
1. Passion
 
Vision evokes emotion. There is no such thing as an emotionless vision. Think about your daydreams. The thing that makes daydreaming so enjoyable is the emotion that piggybacks on those mind’s-eye images. When we allow our thoughts to wander outside the walls of reality, our feelings are quick to follow.
 
A clear, focused vision actually allows us to experience ahead of time the emotions associated with our anticipated future. These emotions serve to reinforce our commitment to the vision. They provide a sneak preview of things to come. Even the most lifeless, meaningless task or routine can begin to “feel” good when it is attached to a vision. Through the avenue of vision, the feelings reserved for tomorrow are channeled back into our present reality.
 
When I was in high school I never dated anybody who lived on my side of town. Our church was located in the middle of Atlanta. Consequently, we drew families from all around the city. Being the preacher’s son, my primary realm of influence (and acceptance) was church. So I dated church girls.
 
Unfortunately, none of the girls I was interested in lived near Tucker. They lived thirty or forty miles away. So I would put up with the traffic, the gas bills, and even leaving their houses early enough to be home by curfew. Why? It was worth it!
 
On Friday afternoon, the thought of being across town elicited in my teenage heart emotions that were strong enough to make the headache and expense of driving across town worth it. That’s vision. I was committed to what could be (being on the other side of Atlanta) as opposed to what was (sitting at home in Tucker).
 
Let’s face it, you did similar things as a teenager. Thoughts of what could and should be—and the emotions associated with those thoughts—drove you to all kinds of extremes. Some of which you probably regret. But think about how powerful, how compelling, those thoughts and feelings were. The emotions associated with being there (wherever there was) were enough to motivate you through the drudgery of getting there.
 
Vision is always accompanied by strong emotion. And the clearer the vision, the stronger the emotion.
 
2. Motivation
 
Vision provides motivation. The mundane begins to matter. The details, chores, and routines of life become a worthwhile means to a planned-for end. Dike builders are a motivated bunch. Saving a town is enough to keep you working through the night. But just filling bags with dirt for the sake of bag-filling will leave you looking at your watch.
 
Vision-driven people are motivated people. Find me a man or woman who lacks motivation and I’ll show you someone with little or no vision. Ideas, yes. Dreams, maybe. Vision, not a chance.
 
Vision is a big part of the reason you completed college or graduate school. A lack of vision is the reason many never finish. Think of all the seemingly wasted hours of study and class time. Even then you knew that much of what you were memorizing for tests was a waste of time and effort. But you did it. Why? Because of what could be. A degree. And beyond a degree, a career. For four (or in my case, five!) long years you endured science labs, European history, research papers, and lectures. And you hung in there through it all-motivated by the thought of graduation and the rewards it would bring.
 
That is the power of vision.
 
3. Direction
 
Maybe the most practical advantage of vision is it sets a direction for our lives. It serves as a road map. In this way, vision simplifies decision making. Anything that moves us toward the realization of our vision gets a green light. Everything else is approached with caution.
 
I have loved music all my life. God has blessed me with a measure of musical talent. I played in bands through high school and college. I have written a couple dozen songs. Like most serious musicians, I accumulated quite a collection of gear: recording equipment, guitars, keyboards, drum machines, and several miles of cable. Through the years it became an expensive and time-consuming hobby.
 
When Sandra and I were married, she allowed me the luxury of setting up a small studio in the basement of our condominium. In that environment time stood still. It was not unusual for me to retreat to my studio after dinner and emerge just in time for breakfast.
 
Four years after we were married, Andrew came along. Twenty months later, Garrett was born. As Andrew began to look less like a baby and more like a little boy, I started to give serious thought to my relationship with my children. I began focusing on what could be and what should be. Having spent ten years working with teenagers, I had a frighteningly clear picture of what could be and what should not be!
 
So, a few months before Garrett was born I made a decision. It was one of the easiest decisions I have ever made. But it came as a shock to those who knew my love for music. I decided to sell my studio gear. Why? I could see a storm brewing on the horizon. I knew I would be torn between my family and the studio. Something had to go.
 
My vision for my family dictated that I put musical pursuits on hold. There was no way I would be able to develop the relationship I envisioned with my children while pursuing my musical aspirations.
 
Vision will prioritize your values. A clear vision has the power to bring what’s most important to the surface of your schedule and lifestyle. A clear vision makes it easy to weed out of your life those things that stand in the way of achieving what matters most. Vision empowers you to move purposefully in a predetermined direction. Once you have clarified your vision, or visions, many decisions are already made. Without vision, good things will hinder you from achieving the best things.
 
My observation is that people without clear vision are easily distracted. They have a tendency to drift from one activity, pleasure, or relationship to another. Without vision, there is no relational, financial, or moral compass. Consequently, they often make foolish decisions. Decisions that rob them of their dreams.
 
4. Purpose
 
Vision translates into purpose. A vision gives you a reason to get up in the morning. If you don’t show up, something important won’t be accomplished. Suddenly, you matter. You matter a lot! Without you, what could be—what should be—won’t be. A vision makes you an important link between current reality and the future. That dynamic gives your life purpose. And purpose carries with it the momentum to move you through the barriers that would otherwise slow you down and trip you up.
 
Your set of visions are unique to you. No one else will share your particular passions for what could be. Others may applaud them. They may buy into the aspects of your vision that interface with their life. And they may work with you in the areas where you share a common vision. But your vision-set is unique to you. This uniqueness gives your life purpose. You have a reason for getting up and showing up.
 
The Divine Element
 
Granted, you have probably heard or read this type of stuff before. Self-help books are full of this kind of hype. We have all read something about goal setting. If you believe—you can achieve! You know the drill.
 
But here is where we part ways with the secular motivational gurus of our culture. The average person has the right to dream his own dreams and develop his own picture of what his future could and should be. But at the Cross, those of us who have sworn allegiance to the Savior lost that right. After all, we are not our own. We have been bought with a price. Remember the rest? We are to glorify—or honor—God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).
 
Honoring God involves discovering his picture or vision of what our lives could and should be. Glorifying God involves discovering what we could and should accomplish. We were created and re-created with his purposes in mind. And until we discover his purpose—and follow through—there will always be a hole in our soul.
 
With that in mind, rethink the implications of this familiar verse:
 
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
 
Don’t let this slip by. You are his workmanship. Say it out loud: “I am God’s workmanship.” Do you know what that means? It means you are the product of God’s vision. God has decided what you could be and should be. You are the outcome of something God envisioned. And through Christ he has brought about, and continues to bring about, changes in you in accordance with his picture of what you could and should be.
 
But his vision for you is not complete. You have a part. Look at the next phrase. We have been envisioned and then crafted for a particular purpose. And that purpose is to do good works which God has envisioned us doing.
 
God has a vision for your life. That is, he has a mental image of what you could and should be as well as...

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