Here are 3 ways vision boards help you tap into your God-given purpose.
- Posted on Jan 4, 2018
Write the vision / make it plain / that they may run and not faint
I didn’t understand the depth of the lyrics to gospel singer Patrick Love’s hit song “Write the Vision,” when I was a kid in the 90s listening to the song on repeat in my mom’s minivan. But as one who loved to write stories and songs, I knew these lyrics were special. They were evidence that the words I loved so much had power, and that God had made it that way.
As I grew in my understanding of God and found the inspiration for my favorite song in the Bible, Habakkuk 2:2, I realized even more the power of words and having a vision. God spoke “Let there be light,” and light came into existence. Since I’m made in God’s image, I began to connect the dots, that the stories and songs and words I write can also bring to life a vision God gave me.
Now, I make it habit at the start of every new year to cut out images and words from magazines and tack them onto a cork board. These words and images express my vision for the next year. In addition to words like “More God,” and “Close Family,” I cut out words that define what I want in my professional life, as well. When I was preparing to publish my debut novel, I cut out the words, “award-winning.” A year after I published my book, it won two awards for best fiction!
Another goal I put on my board from 2015 seemed completely out of reach: a sit-down interview with Oprah. As a professional writer, I’ve
interviewed all kinds of celebrities and notable people, but interviewing the queen of media just a few years into my career as a professional writer seemed completely out of my reach. I cut out the words, “The Oprah Interview!" and "Oprah Sits Down with Brooke” anyway. And since I was reaching for the moon, I cut out an image of Oprah holding a serving tray from O! Magazine that said, “Summer at Oprah’s” below it and added that to my board, as well.
Fast-forward to 2017 and I received an invitation to interview Oprah about her HBO film, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, for Guideposts.org! I could hardly believe it. She was so incredibly kind and lovely, and our brief 20 minutes together had me floating on Cloud 9 for days after. I was completely satisfied if I never saw her again, and fully convinced: words are powerful!
But, God wasn’t done bringing my vision to fruition. Just a few months later in October, I received a phone call from Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday crew inviting me to interview her again…at her home! The occasion was her book launch party, The Wisdom of Sundays. Oprah did indeed “sit[ down with Brooke” at a lovely, wood roundtable under oak trees down a short cul-de-sac on her property nicknamed “The Secret Garden.” It wasn’t “Summer at Oprah’s” since it was October, but it was 80 degrees outside! If ever I needed a reminder that with God, nothing and no one is out of my reach, I received the message loud and clear that day.
The images on my vision board didn't all manifest right away; "Summer at Oprah's" didn't happen until 2 years later! But in the time since I've been vision boarding, I've learned 3 ways vision boarding can help you live a more purposeful life right now.
1) A Deeper Understanding of What Your Purpose Is
When you’re deciding which words, phrases and images to cut out, think about how you want to feel and who you want to be and how those things align with who you know God wants you to be. Instead of cutting out money bags or dollar signs, cut out things that represent the fruit of the spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.” The more specific you can be when creating your vision, the better. One of my favorite phrases on my last vision board is “Okay with your criticism,” which I’ve taken to mean that I can hear criticism (constructive or otherwise) without internalizing it and making someone else’s criticism a part of how I think about myself. This is crucial because, as the vision board practice teaches us, how you think about yourself determines what you will do next. So, once you have the words and images that define your vision for who you want to be and who God wants you to be, you’ll have a clearer picture of what your God-given purpose is.
2) A New Sense of Responsibility
The vision boarding process doesn’t end once you’ve attached your cutouts to a board. Hang the board someplace where you will see it frequently, providing you with a constant reminder of the decisions you’ve made about who it is that you want to be. Often, we pray to God for the changes we want to make in our lives, but prayer alone is not enough. I didn’t just cut out the words “award-winning novel,” put them on a board, pray about it and watch the awards roll in. I had to write and publish a book, get publicity for it and submit the book for awards consideration. The board is just a reminder of what our God-given vision is. It’s up to us to take the necessary steps to bring that vision to fruition. When we see our lives, our hopes and dreams as something we're responsible for creating with God, we can get into gear and start doing the work necessary to help God manifest those things in our lives. Don't just cut out "peace," for your board, talk to a therapist about what's taking your peace away and work on solutions to get it back. Don't just cut out "kindness," evaluate your life and the way you have been unkind to others and even how others have been unkind to you. Write out a plan of action for how you plan to be kind and experience more kindness in your own life.
3) A New Definition of Life
Best-selling author, producer and preacher DeVon Franklin gives a sermon where he encourages listeners to think about the word “deadline” in a new way. Instead of this looming date on a calendar that fills you with fear and anxiety, he suggests we use the word “lifeline,” instead, because when we’re working on goals that move us toward our life’s purpose, the process renews us, enriches us and gives us more life. It’s the same with your vision board. In Proverbs 29:18, King Solomon writes that “without a vision, the people perish.” When we continue to go through life with our actions unattached to our God-given purpose, we’re directionless, full of deadlines, our unfulfilled potential dying inside of us. But when we connect our goals to the greater purpose of who God has called us to be, we have a vision for ourselves that gives us new life and a new definition of what it means to live. We’re not dreading Monday mornings at work because we can see a deeper purpose in the work we’re doing and the mark we’re pressing toward. When you feel purposeful, you feel more hopeful and at peace and can tap into that more abundant life that Jesus promised us.
In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader