Of Vision and Action
Thanks to the kindness of some friends, I just spent a day and a half in near solitude. I haven’t experienced quiet like that since my first child was born. While my husband was attending a convention I sat in the quiet stillness of a hotel room… and loved it!
We’ve all heard the Proverb, “Where there is no vision the people perish” (see Proverbs 29:18). It is so true. Without vision we will never amount to much. But it’s also true that vision alone, without planning and action, cannot bring our dreams to fruition. I’ve spent several hours here and there planning my goals and habits for 2011, but knew I needed to fill in more gaps. The vision will wither if I don’t nourish it through consistent effort.
On our drive to Las Vegas we talked for 5 hours about our children, listing each one individually, talking about their strengths, their needs, our concerns, and specific things we can do to help them. We talked about hopes and fears, about things that haven’t worked out how we wanted them to and about the blessings that have come BECAUSE they didn’t work out how we hoped. We shared hopes and dreams we have for ourselves, our family, our future in general. It was wonderful.
I spent most of my solitary time planning. I turned a table and chair to face the window so I could stare at the blue sky as I worked. I listed specific things that need to happen this year and scheduled them by month. I planned time to work on these items. I tried to find time in my daily or weekly life when I can reasonably work on reaching these goals. I am a very busy mom, but I know I can improve.
I feel like my success hinges on these things:
1. Planning. Planning is where vision is preserved. It’s how we harness our dreams and give them substance. I won’t get a chunk of time like that again soon, but I need to be more effective in planning on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
2. Schedule. If I stick to the daily schedule I’ve outlined for myself, I will give up some time that I enjoy using for non-essential, nice-to-do things, but in the long run I believe I’ll gain more opportunities for these things than I currently have. It won’t be easy; I have to really push myself to get the cleaning done in the time I’ve set aside, and to take better care of myself, but it’s worth a try. I am excited to develop the self-discipline to really do this.
3. Prayer. I am fully cognizant that I am in no way qualified enough, intelligent enough, or talented enough to do what I need to do on my own. I cannot succeed without His grace and intervention. I also know this: he DOES intervene. That’s why I read history. Through prayer I will find strength and faith to do what needs to be done.
When my brain was on overload I worked on a project I’d taken with me and as I worked I listened to some talks and messages which inspired me. If you want a masterful discourse on the use of “today” and what it means to receive at God’s hand our daily bread, watch this. It will take about 30 minutes, but it’s completely worth it. I watched it three times while I was there.
In all, it was a wonderful trip. I felt calm, confident, happy in the plans I made, at peace with the feeling that I’m moving in the right direction.
And then we drove home. As I expected, we were met at the door by our wonderful children all wanting to claim our laps and arms for themselves. And that is where the test really begins, isn’t it? When you come down from your mountaintop experience to get back to work in the valley.
My baby has spent most of the day screaming. The pain her incoming molars cause is so great that she writhes around in my arms, gets down, rolls around on the floor, gets up and comes back to my arms to repeat the cycle. Schedules are a little more difficult when babies are in pain.
They’re a little more difficult when little ones don’t make it to the toilet and when those little ones rebel against quiet time.
Still, I’ve done ok so far today. I haven’t done everything on the schedule, but I’ve done a lot. I’ll do my best today, and then do the same tomorrow. It will work out.
I’ve been pondering a particular sentence in The Book of Mormon. King Benjamin (like most kings) faced great challenges from both within and without his kingdom. Wars with the Lamanites came from without, but perhaps worse was the challenge of false Christs, false teachers and preachers who came from within, spreading lies and discord which always leave people destitute of truth. Sound like some big challenges? I’m sure he felt unequal to the task. And here is the sentence that keeps flitting through my mind:
“…King Benjamin, by laboring with all the might of his body and the faculty of his whole soul, and also the prophets, did once more establish peace in the land.” (Words of Mormon 1:18)
All the might of his body and the faculty of his whole soul.
I can give more than I’ve given. I can work harder. I can pray more. There is more for me to lay on the altar.
And with Christ’s help, I will.