One of the books of the Bible that we don’t talk about a lot is the Book of Proverbs. So I want to read you something from the Book of Proverbs. It says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” This is a way of saying that everyone needs dreams and a goal in order to live life satisfactorily. If we don’t have a specific goal in mind, if we don’t know where we want to go, we’re more likely to end up in places not of our choosing. If we have goals, if we have milestones toward our goals, these things will keep us focused and energized to make our lives more interesting and useful. There is a woman named Florence Chadwick who provides us with a clear illustration of the importance of keeping our goals in sight. She swam the Catalina Channel in Southern California and set many national and international records. She then attempted to break the record for swimming the English Channel. On the day set for the Channel swim, Chadwick encountered heavy seas, but because she had trained in the Atlantic Ocean, she was in peak physical condition and she prepared to do battle with large waves. Along with the rough weather, she encountered chilling cold. That was a problem, but again, her training made a difference. She was used to cold water, and her trainers had greased her body to help insulate her from the elements. In addition, Chadwick’s trainers rowing along side of her were able to give her hot soup from a thermos and words of encouragement as she fought the cold and rough sea.
Yet with all the planning and all the superior training, the one thing Chadwick and her trainers hadn’t anticipated was fog. As the fog bank descended, visibility closed into just a few feet obscuring the horizon and distant shore. Although her trainers continued to shout words of encouragement, Chadwick started to flounder. With the loss of visibility, the ice cold heavy seas seemed to grow to towering proportions. Chadwick began to suffer cramps in her arms, legs, feet and hands from the effects of the severe cold. Her muscles screamed in pain as she battled the huge waves. Finally she asked her trainers to bring her on board the boat and take her ashore.
Later, when she was warm and dry, newspaper reporters asked her if she knew that she had been only a very short distance from the shore when she gave up her valiant effort for the record. She responded that even though her trainers had told her the same thing, it simply hadn’t made a difference to her. “You see,” she said, “I lost sight of my goal. I’m not sure if I ever had it firmly in my mind.”
When we have no goal, or when our vision of the goal is obscured, we lose our sense of purpose. Even when we’ve prepared ourselves well and have an aptitude for a given activity, poorly directed efforts can rob us of vital energy. We may spend a great deal of our time, money and resources running around in circles. Unless we create specific goals that match our purpose in life, unless we keep a clear vision of those goals, we may eventually falter and fail.
Once you have your purpose clearly in mind, explore the various ways you can make it happen, and visualize the process you believe will work best. Make sure and always keep a vision of the shore in your mind, so that even when the fog sets in you can still see it. Set goals, do what it takes to accomplish them, and enjoy your success.