I know it’s the middle of January and lots of people have already created their vision boards for the year, so sorry I’m late to the party! But I also know there are people like me who want to take time at the beginning of a new year to feel it out, to pray over it, and to really lean in to the endless possibilities and hope that come with the countdowns, champagne, and endless confetti.
I’ve never been much for New Years Resolutions; really they’ve always just been a reminder of how early and often I mess up (real talk). When I started working for myself a few years ago, I participated in training after training that stressed the need for setting goals and creating vision boards for the year. Every video I watched encouraged me to dream big and shoot for the stars. I heard things like “fill your vision board with the biggest, scariest things you can think of.” So I did.
I spent the first half of the year striving and pushing and non-stop-going. And when I realized I wasn’t going to accomplish my lofty visions, I spent the second half of the year comparing and pouting and ignoring all the good that did happen that year. For me, creating a vision board started to feel like accepting an invitation to the cycle of perfectionism. So one year, I decided not to mail in my RSVP. And I spent the year doing something a little different; something that keeps my focus on the present, and the great memories from the past. It encourages me to strive and work hard; not because of what I don’t have or haven’t done, but because of what I already have and I’ve already done.
Now is where I should probably stop and address the title of the post; please let me be clear that creating a vision board isn’t “unchristian” and if you’re pursuing God’s plan for your life, it doesn’t matter how you dream about it, celebrate it, or keep track of it. My goal in sharing is simply to offer another way to those who feel like these activities don’t encourage their best self to shine. This is simply an exercise in perspective-change; not right or wrong, but maybe right or wrong for you.
Okay, if you’re ready to get your vision board on; let’s do it. What you’ll need:
- Some type of memo board, card display, or collage board
- A heart that’s excited to create/serve/share/love this year
The card display can be anything you want – but there’s some really fun ideas. Some of my favorites are the LED string lights, Wire Card Holders, and the clothespin frames. I have a shutter memo board that hangs from my office, and I use clothespins that I spray painted gold.
If you’re confused about why you don’t need more supplies, that’s the purpose of this reverse vision board; start with a blank slate. You’ll want to hang up your board and wait for it be filled! Throughout the year, you’ll see just how much good has happened to you, and because of you. I keep things that remind me of what I want to see more of and do more of. Some of the items that usually end up on here are thank you notes, letters from friends, receipts or photos from a unique experience, tax write-off slips from donations, stickers or postcards from favorite places, and awards/certificates.
When I look at my wall, I want to be reminded of everything God is using me for, and every time I’ve been the recipient of His love and grace through someone else. When I’ve told a few friends about this method, they’ve all asked this question:
“What about the motivation to work hard? How does this encourage hard-work, because a girl’s gotta pay bills.”
Yes girl, I feel you. But, I honestly find myself more motivated with this method than ever before, because I can see real-life things that I’ve already done because of hard-work. Every baby gift we’ve sent, every donation we’ve made, every friend’s business that’s been supported, every experience and trip that was paid for – those things aren’t just ideas or hopes, they’re truths. They’ve already happened, and they can happen again with God’s provision and my continued commitment to doing my best.
At the end of each year, I take everything off of my board and put it in an envelope. Every now and then, I have particularly hard days or seasons that make me question everything – and that’s when I go back to those envelopes, as a reminder of what God’s already done, and what He’ll continue doing in my life. And if you’re twitching a little bit from the lack of consistency in these envelopes, me too girl. I ran out of the manilla ones, and now… we’re learning to break through the chains of control and perfectionism, one flower envelope at a time.
No matter how hard I worked, I used to end every year staring at my vision board with regrets, missed achievements, and longing for something better, because everything I thought I wanted was staring me back in the face, as a distant fantasy. Now, I end the year reflecting and remembering the amazing, incredible things that happened. And since I started with a blank board, I’m grateful for everything that filled that space.
However you decide to take on this year, I hope you find God’s grace, goodness, and love in every accomplished and missed goal, every successful and unsuccessful plan, and every totally full or completely blank vision board.