When I was young, I was told by many of my superiors (father, grandfather and teachers) I’d never amount to much. I got the memo that dreaming big would only lead to big disappointment.
I cannot remember a time when I did not wrestle against hopelessness. Drawn to and inspired by the glamour of modeling, I decided to venture into a world that would whisk me away from my harsh reality. Without much to lose, I decided to go for it. I figured even if I failed, I could die knowing I didn’t wuss out on my own life.
I truly should have taken no part in this industry, because the reality is, I am only four foot eleven! Despite all warnings, I continued dreaming big, not allowing my obvious short-comings to stop me from working my way out of the fate spoken over me.
This was America…the land of the underdog! Everyone is given the opportunity to create a life they define as beautiful. With the American dream in my heart, I committed to adapting the habits of successful models I admired (My favorite was Cindy Crawford). I did everything needed for that competitive edge; consistently eating healthy, working my tail off in the gym, taking care of my skin, bleaching my brown locks, surgically altering my petite bust, donning eight-inch heels all whilst learning to feign confidence (in a bikini!) under spotlights.
After years of competing in local beauty contests, (learning from each win and loss) and against all odds, I found myself on stage with statuesque models from around the globe, competing against over two hundred beauties at the Miss Hawaiian Tropic International pageant! Not only did I end up there but I was in the coveted top fifteen. No one sitting under that intense Oahu sun could have been more surprised than me!
As my name was announced, I recalled numerous discouraging comments and conversations reminding me that my petite stature and mixed race had stacked the odds against me. Being in top fifteen was nothing short of a miracle. I did not have what Ron Rice, the owner of Hawaiian Tropic, typically sought for it was widely known he preferred leggy, All-American blondes to represent his brand.
What Ron and the naysayers didn’t anticipate, was the great vision fueling little old me. I knew I wasn’t born with the ‘right’ genes. I didn’t have a trust fund supporting the expense of investing in myself; but I was hungry which made me resourceful and strategic. I never wasted a moment or opportunity to improve, learn and grow. Most of all, I wasn’t afraid to work hard and I always kept my vision in sight and close to my heart.
Ignoring the voices of negativity, I sacrificed my weekends and nights sweating it out at the gym, habitually turning down mouth watering brownies and pizza for unappealing veggies and plain lean meats. To be honest, most of this was fueled from a place of deep rejection and insecurity. The reality was, my circumstances did not offer the luxury of laziness. If did not succeed, there was no place to go. My dreams were depending on me…they could not count on anyone else to be fulfilled.
Although it felt great to be included in the top fifteen, that temporary flash of victory quickly faded. I was alone; which made the celebratory moment very short lived. Think about it…can a celebration be real if one celebrates alone? Where’s the joy in that?
As I contemplated all the hard work and my final achievement, I realized that my insecurities had led me towards a very self-centered vision. There was no greater purpose in my shallow goal. Deep down, I knew I was made for more.
Here I am, about twenty years later. Although much has changed, much has not. You can bet that I’m still that wistful dreamer who fights to believe the impossible is actually possible. But, now, with the help of encouraging mentors (Amy, Lauren and Manna) I come from a place of love and acceptance. I’m firmly planted in God’s approval, which lessens the draw of the shallow kind.
I’m also honoring the way God created me; I know myself better. I’ve learned what really feeds my soul and fuels my passion is building others up. I enjoy creating connection and fostering community. This is what I was born for…not to teeter on the world’s stage in glorified (but glittering) underwear. I don’t need to settle for a lonely victory; I can take part in helping others find God’s specific destiny for their lives! What could be more satisfying that that?
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18
Don’t get me wrong–having visions and goals is a very powerful thing! But, holding the right vision so you can achieve the kind of fulfillment that really fulfills is a blessing which has no heaviness attached to it.
“The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” Proverbs 10:24
Are you feeling unfulfilled? Stop and give yourself a moment of quiet reflection. Ask yourself if where you are headed is truly the direction you want to go. Then, bravely loosen your grasp on how you define success by allowing God to give you His definition of it!
What is a GOD vision?
It’s a clear and precise mental portrait of a preferable future imparted by God to His people.
What does it look like?
-It begins as a burden from the Lord.
-Many times our circumstance positions and prepares us to accomplish God’s vision for our lives.
-Compassion will cause you to move to action to set the captives free. (Matthew 14:14)
What is your responsibility?
1.Pray into the vision God gives you. (A vision does not mean you sit back and be lazy; it’s to inspire you to MOVE!)
2.Receive God’s promise with child-like faith.
3.Make the best of bad decisions. (Ask God to help re-route things that take you off course. He will show you the way.)
4.Stand with integrity in trials and temptations. (Let your vision strengthen you as you wait to see it fulfilled.)
5.Walk in humility before God and man.
6.Take the time to ask for God’s perspective; discipline yourself to see things from His view.
How to see your vision fulfilled:
1.Our vision comes from God; He is the only one that gives a sense of purpose that only He can satisfy and fulfill (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
2.Your priorities and spiritual gifts will help you focus on your vision; your vision begins where you are now, so you must face your problems, then overcome all barriers to fulfill your dream.
3.True realization of a vision begins with goal setting.
Set Goals that motivate you!
“Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.” Habakkuk 2:2
Set SMART goals (Psychologist Dr. Edwin Locke’s developed Goal Setting Theory):
- Set Specific goals.
- Set Measurable goals.
- Set Attainable goals.
- Set Relevant goals.
- Set time-specific goals.
Writing down your goals takes it from the dream and good intention realm to the realm of the possible. They become mile markers on the path to fulfillment, giving you a sense of where you are and how far you have to go to obtain completion. It’s important to meditate and pray over your goals as this will motivate you to prioritize your efforts.
Make an action plan to build momentum; this will give you a sense of accomplishment that compels you to keep moving forward.
Prayer to activate vision:
“Lord, I thank you for the plans you have for me. I was born with a purpose and a God-ordained destiny. I repent for losing my focus and vision; for allowing the enemy of my soul to steal the vision you’ve given me. Restore what was stolen. Bless my heart to dream the dreams that will fulfill me on the deepest level; dim the seductive chant of the enemy so I can walk without wavering towards the path you’ve set for me.
Thank you for the promise that you’d never leave or forsake me for if I lose my way again, all I must do is cry from my heart, Jesus! I don’t have to be perfect; all I must do is follow your voice and you’ll lead me to success.”
Prayer to Break the spirit of Procrastination:
“Lord, without a vision, your people perish. Restore my vision! I give you full permission to dismantle every plan that is not of you. I repent for allowing laziness and procrastination to prevent me from walking the path of my divine destiny. Lord, recalibrate me! Restore lost time and opportunities. Fill my eyes with vision and my heart with passion. Bless my feet with action and momentum in every area where procrastination and laziness once ruled. I come out of agreement with these spirits and come into alignment with your spirit that loves me and wants the very best for my eternal destiny.”
*A special thanks to Michelle Mclain-Walters for this outline taken from her book, ‘The Deborah Anointing’.
*Prayers by Julia Shalom Jordan