If the Lord took me home to heaven tomorrow, what would I want people to say about me? It may sound strange, but writing out, or at least thinking out, my memorial speech helps me envision the kind of person I want to be. Do I want my children to grow up and remember that when they were little, Mom yelled a lot? Or that she was too busy to help them? Or that she was always on the computer, and seemed irritated when interrupted? Of course not. I pray that my children will see their mother as a kind, gentle, and hardworking servant of the Lord. I want them to remember hugs and words of encouragement and being taught to work hard with a cheerful attitude. Fixing the vision of that kind of mother in my mind helps me to choose words, actions, and attitudes that befit such a character. When my children complain about their breakfast, refuse to do their chores, or fight over who gets to wear the green bib, I can choose to let my flesh take control and react with anger or irritation, or, by God's grace, I can react with patience and love. When I step back for a moment and listen to myself, or imagine what I would look like to others, it is easy to know whether or not I am honoring God by acting like a Godly mother.
Likewise, I try to consider what I would like my husband to say about me to his friends or coworkers. In my ideal world, my husband boasts, "My wife is beautiful inside and out. I don't know how she manages to teach and train our children, keep our home neat and ready for guests, make nutritious meals for all of us, and still look amazing. I hope our daughters grow up to be just like her." Of course, in my ideal world, I am actually able to do all these things! In the real world I may (and consistently do) fall short, but having the vision of the wife, mother, and person I want to be helps me to achieve my goals.
So where does this vision come from? How do we determine exactly which traits and characterisics to strive for? While specific roles and personalities vary greatly, we Christians ought to have the same end goal: to be like Christ. Every day, we are called to pursue Christ-likeness by fixing our eyes on Him in order that God might conform us to the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:29). Other Christians, from mentors and pastors to heroes of the Bible, can provide inspiration for us, but it is Christ Himself from whence our vision ultimately comes.
The writer of the hymn "Be Thou My Vision" had it right: My Vision, my Wisdom, my Best Thought, is Christ. In order to develop a clear vision for my life and the person God created me to be, I must have a clear vision of who Christ is - a vision that is found by reading and studying His Word. In reading, I learn that Jesus lived a life of holiness, prayerfulness, humility, patience, compassion, goodness, and other such fruits, and He desires that same kind of life for me. As 1 John 2:6 succinctly states, "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did."
As I look ahead at 2010, at what I hope to accomplish and how I hope to grow in grace and knowledge, I am humbled to see how my most lofty human aspirations pale in comparison to the plan God has for me. Diet and exercise resolutions may be forgotten by February, but our resolve to follow Christ is a life-long journey. This year, this day, and every day, I urge you to join me in fixing our eyes on Christ. Let us prayfully allow Him to direct our steps, asking Him to give us a clear vision of His good, pleasing, and perfect will for our lives.
My Goal is God Himself, not joy, nor peace,
Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God;
'Tis His to lead me there - not mine,but His—
At any cost, dear Lord, by any road.
~ Frederick Brook