One of the first books I read as a child was Alice in Wonderland. In a conversation with Cheshire Cat, Alice asked, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” the cat replied, “That depends a good deal on where you want to go to.” When Alice said, “I don’t care where,” Cheshire Cat wisely told her, “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
I didn’t understand the depth of that exchange between Alice and the cat until years later, when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Once I told my elementary school teacher what I wanted to be, she queried me on what steps I had taken to become what I had dreamed. She then strongly encouraged me to set goals so I could realize my dreams and aspirations.
I also made resolutions; something many people do for the New Year. The effort to fulfill the resolutions usually ends shortly after the year begins because most people’s goals are not realistic. Many resolutions are doomed because people but don’t have any idea of what they really want.
Before goals are established, one must have a vision. Vision is the gift of seeing clearly what is possible. Vision expands our horizons. The more we see, the more we can achieve. The courage to follow our dreams is the first step towards our destiny.
Habakkuk was a prophet who wrote one of the lesser read books of the Hebrew scriptures. The land of Judah was filled with violence, greed, injustice and idolatry. As a religious man with high morals, Habakkuk complained to God about his community. He was confused about why unjust people prospered and those who lived righteously suffered. The Lord answered him by instructing him to watch the Divine work once Habakkuk wrote a vision of the way things could be. Then he was instructed to work towards the fulfillment of that vision, and then wait and watch God work. Habakkuk moved from complaint and confusion— to confidence in the Almighty.
Habakkuk was encouraged to not focus on what was, but what COULD be. George Bernard Shaw said, “You see things and you say, “Why?” But I dream things that never were, and I say, “Why not?”
For Habakkuk and each of us, goals must be realistic, but at the same time should stretch and challenge us. They cannot just be selfish or personal, and must include sharing cheerfully, giving generously, loving lavishly, and serving spontaneously.
Write your goals down somewhere where they can be easily reviewed and reflected upon. Make a “bucket” list and check it twice. Remember the Lord’s promises to those that trust Him. Then run with the vision and see it through to completion.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Don’t just LET life happen; make it happen.
Lord, help me not waste one day. Help me look forward, only glancing back. Grant that my days be filled with peace and free from strife, animosity, resentment, or retaliation. Help me be quick to see my own faults, and even quicker to correct them. Help me to realize the goals I have set for my life so that I may achieve my real purpose. May I walk with you more closely as I go on unto perfection! AMEN
Walter T. Richardson, PH.d., is pastor-emeritus of Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church in South Miami-Dade County and chairman of the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board. He may be contacted at wtrichardson@Bellsouth.net or by visiting his website, WTRMinistries.com