By Dr Uvoh Onoriobe
Some years ago, I took stock of my life and frankly speaking I was not sure
where I was heading. There was a feeling of emptiness inside of me. I was not
satisfied with my state then and the future seemed bleak. I was moving but the
destination was not sure. I was lost like Adam.
In an attempt to locate myself, I stumbled across ministry materials by Dr Myles
Munroe. He posed five questions that took me weeks to answer.
Who am I?
Where am I from?
Why am I here?
What do I have?
Where am I going?
I realized that fulfillment arose from living out God’s purpose for my life. I
also realized that like many people, I had not discovered why God made me.
Unconsciously, I had a personal vision statement - “I would just like to get
through another day”. I had never asked what God wanted my life to be. I had
never prayed that God would give me a burden or a calling, that He would use my
life for a deeper purpose. I had a pinball approach to life. A pinball has no
sense of direction. It is simply bound around by the events and influences
For the first time, I had a yearning to make a difference- to be a part of
something bigger than myself. To know that I can do something on this earth that
would outlive me. I wanted to be able to say that there is a purpose to my
"I realized that my life was like a coin and I could spend it anyhow I liked but I could only do it once. My goal now is to get to the end of my life being able to say, “God I served my purpose".
If you look at those who have been used by God to make a difference in this
world, it shouldn’t you take long to see that they have lived a life of purpose.
When I carefully look at people who have built successful marriages, I realize
that those couples have a specific vision of what could and should be in their
relationship from God’s perspective. They know that it’s not enough just to be
married. That’s not a good enough vision. They have developed a picture of what
they want their marriage to look like.
Thus my quest began. I sought God to reveal to me the reason He brought me into
this world. I asked Him for a picture of what my life could be and should be. A
picture of what the future should look like. I earnestly desired to rise above
the daily grind. To live a life full of passion and purpose and in no time, I
found a higher purpose to live for - a life of vision. It became real to me that
I was born with a personality and a set of strengths and an allotment of time in
which to accomplish my purpose. I could almost hear God say, “Go for it, serve
your purpose, and make your life count”. I realized that my life was like a coin
and I could spend it anyhow I liked but I could only do it once. My goal now is
to get to the end of my life being able to say, “God I served my purpose. I
lived out the reason for which you made me. I finished the race. I served Your
purpose in my generation”.
A few years into my newfound life, I discovered that there is a more dreadful
tragedy than not being able to discover ones purpose / vision. It is not being
able to finish the vision. I had discovered why God made me. I waited, prayed
and planned while God moved the right people and circumstances into place and
provided the resources to carry out the vision. I had communicated the vision
and got other people on board. Soon, I realized that the daily grind is hard on
Life is so full of distractions and your vision can get lost among the many
lights on the horizon of life.
Subtly, I was getting distracted and again began to live for no higher purpose
than to get through another day. I related my experience to a friend and sought
his advice on how to get back on track. This was what he told me. “When I got
married, I had a picture of what our relationship could and should be. I did not
just want to get married; I knew that, there were a set of qualities that I
wanted to see in my marriage - qualities like, honesty, kindness, intimacy and
respect. Eleven years into my marriage, how many people think that there have
been times that, I have lost that vision due to the daily grind of life? My wife
please put down your hand! You see I know what my marriage could be and should
be, but life is hard on vision. There are bills, and in-laws and work and all
sorts of other obligations. Each of these if not put in their right position
could threaten the life of our vision. Seven years ago, a doctor turned to me
and placed a little baby in my arms. I had held babies before, but for the first
time, I was a parent, and that child was mine. I had a God given picture of what
type of parent, I should be. How many think that seven years into that vision,
when the school bell is about to ring, and there is cereal all over the floor
and my daughter can’t find her running shoes for the 23rd time, that I am the
type of husband that I should be? Reality is hard on vision.
Property is a famous distraction. So is the need to feel powerful and to be
admired. Obsession and addiction are good ones. Holding grudges,murmuring, regrets are other fine examples.
things, I know I would have served my purpose. And I will have had a life well
lived. Every day, it is a struggle to stick to those three things. One of the
greatest tragedies is to know what we should be doing from God’s perspective,
but we are not doing it, because life is getting in the way. We are struggling
because there are so many distractions.
Life is now. Bills are now. Crises are now. Vision is later. It is easy to begin
living moment by moment, and to sacrifice what’s really important for what’s
urgent, sacrificing what’s best for what’s good enough. Distractions can
slow-kill a vision. We know exactly what God wants in our marriages, our houses,
our relationships, our finances, our ministry, but we get so busy living, and
that what could be, is then lost.
What is it that you hope for? Love of friends and family, good relationships, a
sense of peace and contentment, providing help for others, laughing, and
enjoying our bodies, dance or sport. How does it feel when you know that God is
near you? What is it that keeps us from these things?
Property is a famous distraction. So is the need to feel powerful and to be
admired. Obsession and addiction are good ones. Holding grudges, murmuring,
regrets are other fine examples.
Three Major Distractions
Every day we face unimaginable opportunities - more opportunities than have ever
been available in the history of humanity. We have more entertainment, travel,
business, career, and investment opportunities than in any previous era. But the
opportunities can easily become a problem. Opportunities can kill a vision. We
can sacrifice God’s vision for any number of opportunities that come our way.
I have found that the most dangerous distractions for me are the opportunities
that pull me away from God’s best. There are tons of opportunities that come up
that are really good: planning meetings, speaking engagements, board
memberships, community functions, conferences. I could be out every night of
every week taking advantage of “good” opportunities. I have come to realize that
it’s possible to be busier than I already am, even doing good things whilst
accomplishing fewer things I know that God really wants me to do. The good can
be the enemy of the best.
This is a constant struggle for me. Every week it’s a fight to pull back all of
my opportunities and to focus on what’s really important. In fact, a few months
ago I was wrestling this very issue when a magazine landed on my desk and said
Take a look at the future when you write your company’s (your family’s, your
children’s) history two years from now, which decisions will have really
mattered? What were the key comments that led to create such a success?
Write them down. Post them on the wall. And work on them!
That’s what you should spend your time on. Getting those decision right is far
more important than answering your 103r email message or hacking that last piece
At reader’s digest in the 1950s Lila Wallace used to walk from
office to office saying, “It’s a beautiful day. Turn off the lights and go
home.” And it was 4 -p.m.! Maybe if you left the office once a week at 4:00p.m,
the decision you’ll make the next day would be a lot better. Go home have dinner
with your family. You’ll be glad you did.
My recommendation: If your current job environment is one where the only way to
avoid getting fired is to work all the time, then hey, get fired. The
unemployment rate is still only 4%, and if you’re smart enough to be
reading this magazine, well, there are plenty of jobs out there that reward you
for being smart-not for digging the most coal. (Seth Godin, Fast Company June
What are the two or three things that are really important to carrying out God’s
vision for your life - in your marriage, your finance and your ministry? God has
called you to do these two or three things. When other opportunities come up,
ignore them. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by events, organizations,
hobbies, and activities that do nothing to further the vision that God gave you.
Don’t let your job take you away from that. Don’t get distracted by the
opportunities. Focus on what matters most.
Every day of our lives opportunities have a way of coming up that have the
potential to distract us from the main things that God has called us to do. Many
of these distractions aren’t even bad things. But we can be out six nights a
week taking advantage of good opportunities. At the same time, we could be
making less and less progress toward the purpose God has for our lives. To build
a life of purpose, we have to learn how to say no to some good things. When you
begin to live a life of purpose, you need to live with Nehemiah’s words etched
on your mind: “ I am doing a great work and cannot come down.
Nothing attracts critics like vision. If you’re passionate about what could and
should be, eventually somebody will question your motives or your enthusiasm.
Somebody will misunderstand your intent. Don’t be distracted by them. Don’t let
the critics take you away from God’s vision. Pour out your heart to your father
and then get back to work.
There will come a day, when the vision becomes a reality, that even your enemies
will have a hard time explaining away what has happened through you. So don’t
let criticism distract you. Take it to God, and let Him partner with you to what
could be and should be.
Every vision contains an element of fear. It’s easy to doubt ourselves, our
abilities, our safety, and focus on the risks we are taking. There are often
people who will point out the risks we are taking, and why they’re not
reasonable. But there’s a phrase in the Bible that’s repeated over and over
again to people who lived lives of vision. It goes like this: “Do not be afraid”
Joshua 1:9 says, “I command you - Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or
discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. 2 Timothy 2:7
says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power,
love, and self-discipline”
Don’t get distracted. Don’t let opportunities or criticism or fear derail your
pursuit of God’s vision - keep your eyes focused on the finish line.
I want to ask you a question. What is keeping you from living that life of
vision? What opportunities, and which criticisms? What fears are keeping you
from seeing God’s vision come true in your life?
If you’re somebody who has all kinds of opportunities that keep you from seeing
God’s vision come true in your life, then you need to take some specific steps.
Maybe you need to go home one night and go into your kids’ bedroom when they’re
asleep maybe you need to grasp their tiny little hands and silently pray,
“Father, I am doing a great work and I cannot come down”.
Father, forgive us for getting distracted so often. Father, I’m preaching this,
and you know how often I get distracted. I get pulled away by opportunities, by
criticism, even by fear. Help me to stay on target and on vision.
I pray that each of us would learn and apply the phrase, “I am doing a great
work and I cannot come down. Help us to see your vision for the various areas of
our lives, and to be so committed to living them out that we would do whatever
it takes to keep that by the daily grind.
Father, we know that the starting point of personal vision is that each of us
would have a relationship with your son Jesus Christ. So right here, right now,