Saturday, October 25, 2014

“Writing the Vision”, the Law of Attraction and God’s Incredible Design

"Then the LORD answered me and said,
    "Record the vision

And inscribe it on tablets,
That the one who reads it may run."
Habakkuk 2:2

Vision is specific. It is goal-oriented and undeniably tenacious. Vision investigates and delineates what is currently practiced and seeks to tweak it to produce qualitative results. Vision personified walks in the Spirit of Excellence, aggravates the status quo, and frustrates any attempt to perpetuate mediocre performance.                                Marcus Mason

             Type these words into your favorite search engine - “Creating a Vision Board” – and top returns will invariably have references to the mysterious “Law of Attraction”.  Even Psychology Today has published articles about this trend (and I recommend this article for the serious research it contains) and cites where the idea got its recent momentum:

                Vision or Dream boards have achieved notoriety in the past few years with the release of
the book, The Secret. An endorsement from Oprah also didn’t hurt. Vision boards are based
on the Law of Attraction. The idea that your mode of thinking directly affects what the
universe gives you. If you put positive mental energy into the universe, you’ll be the
recipient of positive outcomes.1

The idea of the vision board is to get very specific with what you want to accomplish: whether it is in your life as a whole, or a particular project for work, or even something more personal like “I want to learn a foreign language” or “I want to lose twenty pounds”.  Making that goal statement is just the beginning…you need to get very specific.  Let’s use the “losing weight” statement as our example.  What additional “vision elements” do you need to add to your board to realize your goal/vision?  You need to:

       a)   set a realistic time frame to reach the goal,
b)   think through the steps you need to implement to move you in the direction of the goal:
*stop eating sugar
* eat more raw foods
* exercise at least 20 minutes 5 days a week
c)    note when I crave “comfort foods”
d)    make a list of alternatives to eating when I feel sad, upset, lonely, etc.

Do you see how being very specific will challenge old patterns of behavior as you develop new habits rather than being general and vague?     

             Counselors and life coaches know that “getting specific” plays an important role in people being successful in achieving their goals.   It helps us to understand the many small steps needed to reach that larger goal.  “Vision Boarders” say it is due to the “Law of Attraction”.   However, research in the field of neuro-science leads us to a less nebulous yet no less amazing reality.

God's Design for Focus
The reticular activating system ( or RAS) is the portal through which most information enters the brain.  It also filters the information, selecting what to pay attention to, how emotional you will be about the information, and what information is going to be simply swept into your subconscious awareness. The RAS helps us consciously focus attention on something and dampens down the effect of repeated stimuli such as loud noises, thereby preventing the senses from being overloaded.2  Simply stated, each of us has this RAS, and it functions as a type of radar – zeroing in on information that is assessed as important and actively placing unimportant information where it won’t clutter up our thinking.  In our example, getting specific with the steps to achieve the goal of losing twenty pounds gives importance to those activities, resulting in a sort of “calibrating” of the RAS.  We have in effect, programmed our mind to pay particular attention to those actions and to disregard anything that doesn’t line up with those goals.  God’s design within our mind is simply incredible!

I am thinking even of how often the Scripture tells us to meditate on the Word of God, to set our minds on the things that are above and not on the things of the earth, and to guard our thoughts.  These things help us to live a life of peace and blessing because they help to “calibrate” the RAS to focus on God’s ways!

 "Write the Vision" as the Best Calibration

Similarly, the Biblical instruction to “Write the Vision” acts as a “calibration” of our minds (the RAS).  But that isn’t the only way that “writing the vision” leads to better outcomes than the “Law of Attraction” (as it is presently promoted).  Following Habakkuk’s plan takes into consideration the reality that goals, vision, promises and prophecies don’t always come to pass in some fixed time frame that fits our typical 6-month, 2-year, and 5-year goal strategies.  What happens if it takes more than 25 years for God’s plan to come to pass as in the case of Abraham receiving the promise of his own child?  If you subscribe to the “Attraction” theory, you are to blame by not having positive enough thoughts or by not wanting these dreams enough.  You might even decide that “the Universe” is against you.  This sounds so much like some Christians who might believe God is against them because He isn’t answering their prayers the way they want or because they aren’t “good enough”.  This is faulty thinking no matter if you are trusting “the Universe” or trusting (your mistaken concept of) God !

Secondly, The Law of Attraction emphasizes thinking about the items placed in or on the Vision Board.  God’s command to “Write the Vision” includes a “call to action”…things are written so that the reader can “run”.  That word “run” means to escort, run to meet, run as messenger, guard, and even (in a figurative sense) the activity of a prophet!  I LOVE that in a sense, we are prophesying to ourselves by escorting, running to meet, guarding, and keeping the message!  

Finally, HOPE permeates every aspect of God’s vision for us.  In Habakkuk, He declares that “even though it tarries, wait for it, it will certainly come.”  In another spot of Scripture we are promised that “His Word doesn’t return empty, but accomplishes that which it was sent to do” (Isaiah 55:10-11).  I want this hope.  I want my mind to be set on the vision that God has for me, because THAT is what He is championing and working towards in my life.  And if I set my mind on those things, then that God-given radar of the reticular activating system will help weed out distractions and help me focus on activity, thoughts, words and deeds that will move me along on the path of this purpose and vision.  

This, coupled with the Holy Spirit’s power working in and through me, is a truly dynamic and powerful combination!  This is just one of the ways that I can “do all things through Him who strengthens me.”


Other articles in the series can be found here:
 What the Bible Says About Creating Vision Boards + Healing Art Prompt