August 11th, 2010

God’s Vision vs. Your Projection

When you want something really bad, its easy to call it God’s vision. But sometimes what we desire most is not God’s better future, but simply a projection of what we want to be or have.

For example, in my early call to ministry I wanted to be a great preacher. While this desire was rooted with holy intent and calling from God,  I eventually ran into walls of manufactured energy, deep frustration, and finally jealously when the “vision” didn’t transpire as I’d planned. What caused me to see a different future than the one God had for me?  Two things I have encountered are ministry idolatry and approval addiction. 

  • Ministry idolatry- being fixed on gifts and levels of talent you wish you had more than humbly accepting the gifts and level of ability God has given. 
  • Approval addiction- worrying about how others perceive you, or adapting to others’ expectations of you, well intended or not.

These words sounds heavy, but in fact, they are very common in the daily stuff of most people in ministry. 

What’s the remedy? While God works in various ways to help us overcome our idolatry and addictions (not the “evil” ones but the ones we wrap holy disguises on), two ways for me were moments of brutal honesty and seasons of personal brokenness. 

  • Moments of brutal honesty: When these moments occur from the right people at the right time, self-perception is purified, and primary gifts are clarified. When I work with teams, what strikes me is how possible it is for people to spend their entire life in ministry without brutal honesty. What a sad thought! Proverbs, says, “Rebuke a wise man and he will love you.” 
  • Seasons of personal brokenness: Many times, our failures and shortcomings glue us closer to God and free us from approval needs of others. When you actually feel the gospel in a thoroughgoing way, (beyond intellectual assent) the  hunger to do God’s will, God’s way increases. Each step of integrating the gospel in my life has taken me to a new level of  freedom from “image management.”  

As you run toward the future, don’t always assume you are running toward God’s plan for your life. Discern the difference between His vision and your projection. If you are running and you trip or feel disillusioned, don’t stop running. Just keep course correcting and seeking first the kingdom. And His vision will become clear. 

7 Comments on to “God’s Vision vs. Your Projection”

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by FastChurch and Will Mancini, Kevin Yoho. Kevin Yoho said: Clear reading. God’s Vision vs. Your Projection: When you want something really bad, its easy to call it God’s vis… http://bit.ly/aTrpuQ [...]

  • Dave Hess says:

    Great post! I agree that those are both very real issues.

  • Eric Schmidt says:

    Will, great post. Practicing personal brokenness is one of my favorite things to do (NOT) :-) but very necessary and it does take brutal honesty. Scripture says that God loves a broken and contrite heart and our own ambition can get in the way of that everyday. I believe God has a fairly specific work for everyone. When we allow God to work in our hearts he will bring us to knew levels of usefulness in His Kingdom. New levels of usefulness bring new levels on brokenness, etc. etc. Thank you.

  • Jeremy Davidson says:

    Great post. It took me nearly a decade to trade my desires for His will when it came to ministry. I know that I am not called to be the pastor/preacher but I do feel that my current role of Associate Pastor is exactly what God has been preparing for and I am loving every minute of it. It is so freeing to stop trying to be someone God has not called you to be and to start being who He designed you to be.

  • [...] How does personal and organizational clarity fit with the Sifted them? You might be surprised. I have found that the most painful periods in my life were also the most significant clarifiers for personal and ministry vision. I talk about this, for example, in God’s Vision vs. Your Projection. [...]

  • eric tober says:

    God’s vision and our projection can potentially be the same or very different. I am not sure we will really know all of what God is up to till the re-run. There is much mystery to God’s work in our lives.
    The general vision of loving God and people is at the heart of Jesus vision for us – we can’t do it alone -we need constant re-fills of God’s love poured out through the Holy Spirit -whatever the “vision” or “our projection” – if done with a motive of love – it last forever -all we can know for sure is the motive of love – all else is mystery

  • Rick Duncan says:

    Will, Great stuff. I just read Keller’s new little book, The Freedom of Self-forgetfulness. He addresses the same theme. When we live in light of the gospel as beloved sons and daughters, we are free from ego-driven ministry. Then I spent a little time last night in The Explicit Gospel, by Matt Chandler. His last chapter deals with the application of the gospel to our lives, too. Now, I read your words. God is really wanting me to grow more and more in understanding these important truths. Thanks. God is using you in my life and at CVC!!! Reread and re-experienced FLUX last night. Wow! Keep up the great work!

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