As I prepared for New Year's Eve service with 2019 drawing to a close, I began to think about the spiritual declaration of 2020 being a year of vision in churches across the country. I am energized and pumped about having a vision, as I've never really been into New Year's resolutions, except for recommitments to a regular exercise regimen. A lot of people will look at "2020 vision" as a catchy church phrase, but pursuing a vision is actually basic biblical instruction for successful living. A vision is needed for accomplishing monumental goals in life. You need a well-developed plan combined with passion and dedication. I'm sure that many ministers referenced Habakkuk 2:2 on New Year's Eve, which says, "And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it." The next verse says that the vision is for an "appointed time" and commands Habakkuk to "wait for it, because it will surely come." Many of my friends began making vision boards several years ago, detailed and colorful outlines of their ambitions with a focus on God at the center of their dreams. They are meticulous with their planning, so many of them have set an appointed time to meet their goals, and they would tell you that like Habakkuk, in some instances, God's specific season required patience and waiting.
This year will be my first time creating a vision board — shocking news to many, since I am a writer. I never took the time to sit down and construct one. Habakkuk 2:2 will be one primary scripture of meditation, and I'm also including the wisdom of Proverbs 16:3, in which the New American Standard Bible says, "Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established." As a Christian, I can honestly tell you that I did not always entrust my plans to God when I was younger. Fresh out of grad school, I thought I knew what I was doing and where I was going. I also felt a bit entitled being well educated, but my biggest fault was selfishness. Not so much with friends and family but toward others. My vision or plan for my life back then centered solely on the personal gains that would benefit me. I now understand that when God establishes your plans, it is not only to bless you but to bless other people, those inside as well as outside your intimate circles. When you are successful, people are naturally drawn to you, and when you glorify God in your success, it is a powerful testimony. For the past two years, I have begun to see how writing my column from a faith-based perspective in analyzing politics, race and popular culture began to genuinely touch my readers. I have received numerous emails thanking me for providing an uplifting outlook on polarizing issues. Two of the many messages that I remember from 2019 include kind words from Ohio readers. One told me that I have a "gift" that is meant to be shared, and another wrote to me that my "points for social/economic justice speak of the all-inclusive good news that Jesus proclaimed."
In working on my 2020 vision board, I am writing down personal career and business goals and asking God for guidance in accomplishing them. I am thinking much more about how I can positively impact those around me. For example, with the platform that I have been blessed with in column writing, I want to speak to the nation's conscience during a year that many experts predict will bring even more divisiveness and toxicity in politics. As a college professor, I want to help bridge generational gaps, and encourage young people to think critically and contribute to constructive public discourse. Being a writer and a teacher, I have the responsibility to be a sincere example of what I profess through my words. I have a powerful vision that carries more weight than a resolution, and through God's grace I believe it shall come to pass. Happy new year!
Dr. Jessica A. Johnson is a lecturer in the English department at Ohio State University's Lima campus. Email her at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @JjSmojc. To find out more about Jessica Johnson and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.