Think about a time when you couldn’t “see the big picture”—a painful time that something positive came out of, or a promise you had to wait for, for example. How did you handle the waiting? And what was it like trying to explain to others what you were going through? What was it like when the pieces finally fell into place? And what or who helped you while you waited?
“If it is that difficult to describe something perceived through the senses, imagine how much harder it is to put words around what does not come through the senses!” said St. John of the Cross in Dark Night of the Soul. “The language of God is like this.”
Last Wednesday, we discussed the importance of finding others we can be open with—others who can support us in prayer, and by doing whatever God puts on their hearts to do as a result of those prayers. Now we take this one step further. It’s time to bring this vision out in the open where even more people can see it—and hopefully become a part of it in some way.
This is a big and often tricky step. By putting ourselves out there, we’re opening ourselves up to people who we pretty much can guarantee won’t catch the vision right away. But as we share what’s really moving us—Who’s really moving us—we also develop new relationships. People get the opportunity to see where they fit into this new thing. Real needs get revealed. And as relationships develop, others begin to get excited about what God wants to do—maybe even to the point where they can let go of whatever fears or established ways of doing things might be holding them back.
It’s not easy for others to understand what God’s showing us. It probably hasn’t been easy for us to get what God’s showing us, and we’ve probably been at it a lot longer. So let’s look at an example of someone else about to “go public” with what God showed him, and then explore what that struggle might look like for us. Open a new tab, read Exodus 3:7-14, 4:1-14, and 4:28-31, and then think about this:
• Truthfully, how much does Moses’ experience feel like where you’re at right now? Why?
• How does God reassure Moses that his message will be heard?
• How might our anticipation of people’s reactions affect what, and how, we share? Think of both positive and negative examples.
• What parts of this vision are you sure are God’s, too? How can keeping the focus there, rather than on your own ideas, help you share more effectively?
It’s important that we don’t just share the plans in our heads, but that we share the burden God’s put on our hearts. Plans will change. The people around you will change. Maybe even the focus of what you think this vision was about will shift. But whatever truly comes from God will survive all those changes. Keep that the center as you share, and don’t ever leave that center. Let God sort out the details. And let’s move on.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Field of Dreams, you know it’s not just about baseball. This pair of scenes (go here and here) gives a great illustration of a skeptic finally getting the vision — and what kind of sacrifice from others it took for him to get there. Check it out, then think it over:
• What “realities” did Ray have to look past to keep sight of his vision?
• What did it take for the vision to become real to Mark?
• What risks or sacrifices might you need to make to show how much you believe in God’s vision, so others can, too?
He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better’ (Luke 5:36-39, NIV).
• What specific resistance do you expect from others as you share this new thing? What’s “just fine” about the old things that might get defended as you share?
• How can you validate what others have already done while showing them the need for change?
• How willing are you to change, so that you can walk others through this vision in a way that they can see it? What will that look like?
We’ve talked a lot about talking a lot about vision. So let’s wrap up by putting some of our talk into practice. Come up with a no-more-than-one-minute statement. Be as clear and simple as possible. Then, find someone to share it with, and let that person give you feedback. What helped him or her understand the vision? What got in the way of understanding? What didn’t that person say that needed to be said?
Ask God to show you how to make His vision real to the people you need to share it with. And may God break down resistance, so that both you and those you speak to would be able to open your hearts further to this new thing God wants to do in your midst.