Through various conversations at work, at home, and online, it finally hit me: I have no vision.
A vision is not meant to describe a current state of being. A vision is meant to stretch, challenge, and lead the way forward. Lacking a vision, is it any wonder that I feel confused, fearful, defensive, and reactive?
At the moment of realization, I started thinking about such a vision. I dug deep, beyond thoughts, into what I was feeling—both negative and positive. I wrote a draft, talked through it with my partner. I asked for guidance from friends. I lit a candle and sat in silence (this is how I pray). I made more edits and finalized both a vision and guiding principles. This is how I want to engage with family and friends, at work, in my community, and online.
I want to be very clear: the vision and guiding principles listed below are mine alone. I do not and will not expect others to live up to my vision and guiding principles. There are so many moving parts in the Body of Christ. It would be unfair and foolish for me to judge others on the basis of my own call.
Listen. I will open my ears and heart to actively listen and respond to those who share their journeys, challenges, struggles and cries for help, giving precedence to those who are marginalized by oppressive structures and systems in society and in the church.
Amplify. I will amplify the voices of those who are marginalized. I will not use those who are marginalized to amplify my own voice.
Speak. I will actively seek my personal hero’s journey. I will follow the path of this journey whenever and wherever I find it. I will speak up and share this journey in order to encourage and empower others, and to enable true connection.
Do Better. I will continue to grow and move forward by applying that which I have learned by listening, amplifying, and speaking. I will learn from my mistakes rather than give up because of them. I will be willing to change.
Honesty. I will be honest about my story and journey. I will be authentic in my engagement with others, including (and especially) when we disagree. I will honor (not deny) my thoughts and feelings, and communicate them using the other guiding principles.
Kindness. I will be kind (not necessarily “nice”) in my interactions with others. I will see God’s image in each individual before engaging. I will have compassion for myself and others.
Humility. I will be willing to accept and admit error. I will not engage with arrogance nor with negative humility (i.e., false modesty).
Patience. I will have patience with those who ask questions honestly. I will have patience with myself: I will not panic if I have nothing to share—the sharing will come eventually by following the journey.
Courage. I will not be afraid to stand up to those who use power to abuse and silence others. I will push through fear and tell my story.
Receptiveness. I will assume positive intent. I will be open to criticism and disagreement. I will be willing to engage when asked or challenged. I will not take disagreement personally.
Do you have a vision and/or guiding principles that have helped you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter/Facebook!