The Visions You Already Have
I was reading through Willard’s Renovation of the Heart again recently as I thought it might have some worthwhile thoughts for my dissertation. I got to thinking about his VIM model – you must have a vision, the intention, and the means to accomplish any kind of task, including self-improvement and, in this case, spiritual transformation.
There’s some concern here about what God’s role is in spiritual formation when you look at things this way, but while that might be a missing piece, what he’s getting at in this is still valuable. Scriptures even say that without vision, chaos can result (e.g., Prov. 29:18), and similar things could be said for the intention and means.
As I pondered the issue of vision (and intention fits in here as well), I thought about a sort of flip side to the coin that Willard presents. He argues that we must have a right vision, and if we do not have a vision for what the spiritual life could be like, it would behoove us to go out and find one from the Bible or other theologically sound sources. But I got to thinking – what about the visions we already have?
If we have it in our heads to go to the store, the library, the post office, city hall, the train station, a nice restaurant, the aquatic center, the Bat Cave, the gym, the park, the florist, Stark Enterprises, Best Buy, a couple of used book stores, our friend’s place, the Emerald City, the office, and the university, the reality is that some of those ideas or plans are going to crowd out the others. We simply can’t hold all those things in our heads. For that matter, executing some of those plans will interfere with others. If the gym is on one side of town, it’ll make it hard to get to the university on the other. Visions can conflict.
So even if we have a vision for the spiritual life, even if we have a vision for being spiritually formed (and maybe we do, and maybe we don’t), is it possible that other visions that we have for out life are interfering with it or crowding it out?
Do you even know what visions you have for your life overall? If you were to step out of yourself for a week and watch yourself, what might you say are the main visions you have? What are you aiming for, perhaps even without realizing it?
I gotta’ admit; I’m kind of scared to do this, myself…