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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Getting vision clarity

by Nelson Roth
Today, I would like to share one of the important responses from my book, Nehemiah Response - Vision. Vision, along with the other ten responses from my book help a person move forward during a time of transition or crisis. 

These responses come straight from the experiences of Nehemiah in the Old Testament of the Bible. It’s the true story of a young man who in a huge way led in what might have seemed an impossible task - the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem some 2,500 years ago. The wall around the city measured over two and a half miles and it enclosed 220 acres. Amazingly, once started, the job of rebuilding the wall was finished in fifty-two days because God’s vision was clearly known by Nehemiah! 

What was Nehemiah’s response when he heard the news that the wall of his homeland city was broken down and its gates were burned? Instead of creating his own plan, Nehemiah took time to ask, “Is there a plan for me in all of this?” Nehemiah 1:4 says, “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days, I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” 

Clarity of vision, at least in this case, seems to be born out of a sense of great need! As I think about it, I’m wondering if this isn’t most likely the case rather than a rarity. How about you? Could it also be that a vision for you will come out of the tension between what is and, what can be?

What are you yearning for? What causes you to sit down and weep? Is there a plan for you in all of this? What might be the vision that is starting to become clear for you?

At the point of intense emotion over the problem, we note that Nehemiah took some time. Maybe, he wrestled with the tendency that most might have to solve the problem as soon as possible. But not for Nehemiah - he took “some days” and sought the Lord. Because of his patience we learn that during this time - an incubation stage of sorts, God revealed His vision in perfect timing to Nehemiah.

So, is there a plan for me in all of this? That’s a good question to ask when you want to move forward with a clear vision during a transition or crisis.

An added benefit of taking time, is also assessing personal needs. Moving on in chapter one, we find Nehemiah in the middle of a prayer to God. In verse seven, he gets honest about human failure. Here, we learn that the purpose of taking time can also be for self evaluation by asking the following questions. What are some of my strengths that are being revealed during this time? Or, are areas being revealed where I need to grow? Answers to these questions may be critical to moving forward into the vision that God is revealing.

One more thing, we note from the text - Nehemiah joins with others in prayer. Verse eleven says, “Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name.” How good of a team player are you?

As you get traction and move forward - in your transition or crisis - are you open to receive help from someone else? Who do you have in your life that you can confide in or share ideas with?

What is God’s plan - His vision for you? You may have an answer, but if not, remain in the incubation stage! Nehemiah was in an incubation stage for at least one hundred days. What might have been his feelings on day sixty or day seventy-five? We know he kept on. How about you? To get vision clarity, keep on repeating the steps outlined above:

  1. Vision comes out of the tension between what is - and, what can be.
  2. Waiting is an incubation stage for God to reveal and bring clarity to His vision.
  3. An added benefit to taking time is assessing personal needs.
  4. Partner with others, form a team.

Feel free to leave a comment below.

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  1. Nelson,
    Definitely some food for thought! Unfortunately, clarity has always been an issue for me. Too easily distracted in search for my purpose and mission. It can be a tough process. I do think support is very important although it can be difficult to find the suitable partner(s) to fit the need. Lots of prayer!!

  2. Thanks Nelson for the blog today. Every since I left Apopka in 1996.... often I feel like Abraham when God said go.... I will show you

  3. I know how Amazing it is to hear God speak to you so clearly. Thank You for this... God definately has a vision for me. I will continue to wait and listen as he keeps revealing his plans for me . : )

  4. "Clarity of vision, at least in this case, seems to be born out of a sense of great need!" I have found this to be the case in my own life. From listening to others, I have observed this to more of the "norm" than the unusual.

    Your words remind me that when I find myself in this place of need and it seems overwhelming- this can be the birth place of a vision! Rather than being stuck in fear, overwhelmed or feeling inadequate, seek His Word and the vision He has in mind. It's not the end but can be a new beginning.

    Also, GREAT questions! "What are you yearning for? What causes you to sit down and weep? What might be the vision that is starting to become clear for you?" Will borrow this question when coaching people around discerning their passion, "What causes you to sit down and weep?"

    Thanks Nelson!

  5. Joining with others in prayer. It is a great reminder about what happens when we come together. So often, in an individualistic society we feel like we have to be supermen and super women even in our faith walk. Yet often become most aware and connected to the Spirit when we are gathered with two or three. It is easy to forget.

  6. Wow, thanks! I've definitely been in waiting lately, and transition can be a rocky road. God has been teaching me to hold tight to Him in all that goes on in life and not to my personal goals or even the path that He has set me on. If I hold tight to a path, He'll provide an obstacle to show me that I'm not holding onto Him. His vision will be apparent when we cling to Him alone. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. Great to hear from you Brooke! Get ready, God's got an awesome plan for you. We seem to either underestimate or overlook the waiting or incubating time. Here's something interesting, Nehemiah 'incubated' about 100 days. Then the wall rebuilding time was 52 days. Take time for the clear vision - then, go for it! Excited about your new internship with Relevant Ministry!! - Nelson

  8. I loved this article Nelson. It definitely applies to the period in my life right now. I am sensing God's vision in the process of developing, but have no idea what's He's got in store! Patience has been a recurring theme for me. I love the analogy of waiting as an incubation time for God to reveal things to us. Ready to see what's next..

  9. Great to hear from you Mandy. Keep your focus on the journey you're on and let your incubation time go full term. - Nelson


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