A vision is a mental image of what the future will or could be
by by Mark & Debbie Laaser
An excerpt from The Toolkit for Individuals & Couples
by Mark & Debbie Laaser
Simply defined, a vision is a mental image of what the future will or could be like. We like to think of vision as a picture in the mind. The mind has the ability to “cut and paste” images that have actually been historically seen and stored in the “archives” of the brain. The associative abilities of the brain can take these pictures or images and use them as components of a new image that has not been actually seen. We often use the term “imagination” to describe this. We say to each other, “Imagine the possibilities.” Another word for vision is dream. We dare to dream dreams about what life could be like.
We go through this cutting and pasting process all the time. People who struggle with anxiety often “project” into the future and imagine negative scenes of terrible events happening.
Sometimes we create an imagined future that we think will solve or heal some of our problems in life. We can imagine winning the lottery and the resulting money will take care of all of our financial difficulties. We can imagine becoming a famous athlete or movie star and the resulting adulation from our fans heals our sense of being unloved or unchosen.
Sex addicts should be very aware of this mental process. We call it fantasy. Addicts take old pictures of actual sexual experiences and images seen in pornography and cut and paste them into an imagined new sexual experience. We refer to this as lust, a desire for some sexual outcome. Addicts may also think that such sexual experiences are a way of healing some perceived wound in one’s self. An addict who never felt that he was attractive can imagine being sexual with the most popular girl in school. Now, he thinks in his fantasy, that he is attractive.
We believe that a healthy vision, rather, is a picture of the future that is not driven or inspired by anxiety, lust, or unmet needs and desires. Rather, a vision is a picture of the future that we are called to by God. We mean that the source of the vision is God and His direction for our life.How might we live so that we become the person he has designed us to be? How might we be intentional about our life choices so as to serve him and his world best? Discerning this direction is one of life’s great spiritual challenges. We believe that prayer, scripture study, and meditation are all tools of this discernment. We also believe that God provides us with what our pastor calls God Promptings (GPs for short). GPs can be a word from a friend who affirms our talents. They could be an inspirational thought triggered by a movie or a song. It could, and often is a feeling of intuition of what is “right.” It is the Spirit within us that directs us to the next right step—even about very small changes in our life. We like this definition. Prayer is the way we talk to God; intuition is the way God talks to us through the Holy Spirit.
When we are not inspired or directed by vision, our lives can be very “reactive.” We react to life as it happens and then plan or act accordingly. We find that reactivity describes the majority of people. When we are motivated by vision, however, we become proactive, planning and making intentional decisions that allow our vision to direct us.
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