A Vision for My Appointment
By Maj. Thomas McWilliams
“…that I am sorry to say was the end of Cocky Locky, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey and Turkey Lurkey. Henny Penny was the last to enter the Fox’s hole and she heard Cocky Locky crowing in alarm in front of her. Squawking with fright and scattering feathers, she turned and ran as fast as she could for the safety of her own farmyard. There she stayed and never did tell the king that the sky was falling down.” So ends the children’s fairy tale of Henny Penny who was hit on the head with an acorn and was convinced that the sky was falling. Her vision of this impending tragedy was so powerful; her resolve to address the problem so absolute; and her passion to the cause so overpowering as to naturally draw others to follow her, even to their own demise.
Vision is a difficult concept to speak of in exacting terms. Yet the hallmark of a winning leader always includes his/her ability to formulate, communicate and implement a successful vision. There are many inherent internally and externally generated ingredients which can derail, inhibit, alter, or even destroy the successful implementation of a Godly ordained vision. Understanding what these internal and external vision harming agents are is the first step to creating and implementing a successful vision plan. Some good general thoughts to keep in mind while forming a vision for an appointment are:
1) When serving in an appointment we are continuing an already long established meta-vision which is currently being fulfilled. Planting an Army flag in a community creates a vision of service from both the perspective of the Army and of the community; a vision which is currently being supported by the local donors. As officers we stand on the shoulders of others who have given their blood, sweat and tears to this vision and who have now handed it over to ensure its continued fulfillment.
2) All right and good visions come from God. Visions themselves can be constructive or destructive, helpful or hurtful, positive or negative. Some are even rooted in great intentions but fail in the end. Henny Penny had a clear vision of the fact that the sky was falling and that she had to act to save others. For her, fulfilling this vision was the right and true thing to do. In the end however, this perceived good vision caused the death of her followers. As officers we profess and therefore must practice the truth that the author of all good visions is God. As Daniel, a great man of wisdom and vision prayed, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him.” (Dan 2:20, NAU)
3) “…I must decrease.” John 3:30b. Our own limitations can damage or destroy a vision ordained by God. The more intrusive our own personal limitations are in casting a vision the more detrimental they can become to our own desire for these visions to be successful and to reap great benefits. In order to release the pure wisdom and true power of God through our vision we must do everything we can to eliminate our own negative personal impact on these visions. This is not to say that we can’t contribute positively to a vision, after all, the Lord has uniquely gifted each one of us for His work for just such purposes. However, if we are not mindful of our own limitations we can also bring negative weight to the vision scale. Some of the limitations which we may exhibit are: Possessing a limited singular perspective, Holding tightly to preconceived ideas, Being blinded by our own strong passions and/or Relying too heavily on previously established personal preferences; all of which can severely limit or even destroy the Lord’s vision for our ministry.
4) “He must increase…” John 3:30a. We must seek vision wisdom from the Lord. As officers we work under a covenant to God, not as organizational employees. As covenant people we should endeavor with all of our might to understand and to follow what God’s vision is for ourselves and our appointments, even if it runs contrary to our own will. The more purely a vision from God can be understood and translated through our individual ministry, the more glorious the results can be. The steps to achieving a clearer understanding of God’s vision for us are found through: Intentional righteous living, Vision prayer & supplication, Patience and active spiritual listening, and the Courage to follow God’s directives. If Turkey Lurkey were real, I imagine that he would quickly say that he would have preferred that Henny Penny had been a patient, dispassionate, and methodical vision creator in her particular approach to the falling acorn.