I slipped out during the night, taking only a few others with me. I had not told anyone about the plans God had put in my heart for Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 2:12 NLT)
A recent survey suggests 74% of Americans will make resolutions to learn something new, set a personal goal, or make lifestyle changes in the New Year.
As we start this New Year, what vision has God put on your heart? How are you going to pursue it?
The first time I got intentional about pursuing God’s vision for my life, I found encouragement in Nehemiah’s story. Let’s look at it together for inspiration.
Nehemiah was king Artaxerxes’ cupbearer. When he heard that his hometown was in shambles and the walls were broken down, he was heartbroken. The Lord put a vision on his heart to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:12).
How did he pursue this vision and what steps did he take to accomplish it?
Steps for turning your vision into reality
Fasting and Prayer
Nehemiah fasted and prayed. He didn’t try to figure it out but relied on God for help, direction, and favor with the king and his fellow Jews.
While at a writer’s conference in 2015, I felt the nudge to write a devotional book. I had no idea how to start, but I sought the Lord’s help through prayer and fasting. I prayed for guidance with my writing.
Whatever your vision is this year, whether it is to improve your relationship with God, make changes in your lifestyle, career, or health, or write a book, or go on a mission trip, you too can submit your vision to God and ask for his help.
After gaining permission from the king, Nehemiah thought about what he would need for the project. First, he asked for letters of introduction to the governors in the area so he could have access to timber for the work (Nehemiah 1:8-9). Next, he left for Jerusalem and when he arrived, he went out at night to survey the wall. He made an honest assessment of the situation. He envisioned what the finished project would look like.
Like Nehemiah, I asked God for a strategy to write the devotional. I broke the writing plan into manageable sizes, and I planned to wake up early and write before going to work. I estimated it would take about 3 months if I worked consistently on the plan.
Assess your vision and prayerfully ask God to help you break it down into smaller goals. We can ask God for specific strategies to accomplish our goals. Without careful planning, we will wander aimlessly and be frustrated.
But with God’s help, we can accomplish a seemingly impossible vision.
Nehemiah shared the vision with the Jewish leaders and the people. He invited them to join him in rebuilding the city walls and gates (Nehemiah 2:16-18).
I reached out to a group of friends who were prayer warriors. I shared my vision with them and invited them to support my writing with prayer.
Who in your circle can you invite to support your vision?
Whenever we have a God-given vision, we can expect opposition. Nehemiah faced opposition from Sanballat, Tobiah, and others who did not want him to rebuild the city wall. When they mocked him, he told them God would grant him success.
About a month after I started writing in 2015, I encountered a myriad of challenges. All in one year, my family experienced job loss, serious health issues, and a fire that destroyed our home and left us homeless. I struggled to write and for the first time, I doubted if I heard from God or it was just my idea. The spiritual battle against writing the devotional was intense.
What challenges might you face in accomplishing your vision and goals this year? What plans can you put in place for when they arise?
Vigilance and Dependence on God
Nehemiah and the people rebuilt the wall in 52 days. He entrusted the vision to God, and he was successful. The naysayers realized that the work was done with the help of God.
The intense trials I experienced while writing “Weathering Storms” devotional changed my relationship with God and took my prayer life to a whole new level. Was I tempted to quit? Yes, many times. I felt it was too difficult, but then I would remember Christ did the hard thing on the Cross. So, I prayed for help. Thankfully, the devotional was published in October 2019.
If you and I are to accomplish our vision and goals in 2021, it will take constant vigilance and dependence on God to keep our focus on the vision.
In what ways will you invite God to help you with your vision in 2021?
Weathering Storms: Finding Treasures in the Ruins. This 90-day devotional is packed with encouragement and biblical truths to help you get through any crisis. Get your copy today on Amazon (https://amzn.to/35gKQOz).
Find more encouragement from Tope Keku at www.hiddentreasuresandriches.com
Temitope is a scientist, author, speaker, coach, mentor, and Bible teacher. Her passion is to help women walk through hard times in victory and help them encounter God while learning practical ways to discover hidden treasures in their trials. She is married with four grown children and lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Connect with her at www.HiddenTreasuresandRiches.com.
Read Temitope’s articles HERE.