Self-discipline or self-imposed discipline is key to achieving your goals and moving in the direction of your vision. Your vision imposes a measure of discipline on you. In fact, your vision is the source of your discipline. People who are self-disciplined are trusted and respected.
Vision is like your destination which determines the route you take on the journey. Of course, if you are not sure of your destination, you can use any route because it will still lead you somewhere, even if undesirable. Recently, I started using my GPS (Global Positioning System) more effectively. For the GPS to direct you, you must be sure of your destination, which is the end-point. If you do not know where you want to go, no GPS can help you.
Your vision points to your destination and if you have no predetermined destination, you move aimlessly round and round, like the Israelites in the wilderness. That is why the Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Proverbs 29:18). It implies that if you do not know where you are going, you will be confused, disorganised, and waste your resources – especially time, money and natural gifts.
Someone without a vision is like a bull in a china shop and should be avoided. The NASB version says, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained…” A person without vision moves like a free radical, inflicting damage to whoever he associates with. In any case, he does not select whom to relate with or where to be at any point in time.
As long as a person has no vision, his decisions, choices, and actions are not harmonised and cannot be predicted. Often, he takes wrong decisions resulting in losses of some valuable resources.
When God gives you a vision, you know the direction to go in life. This will affect your total life, the associations to which you belong, the friends you keep, the books you read, your diet, your work, your hobby, your meetings, how you spend your time and money, the television programmes you watch, the time you spare for rest and sleep, the exercise you take, and above all, your relationship with God, who is the source of the vision.
When you have a vision for your life, you have restraint or control and your life becomes orderly. An unrestrained life is a complicated life. When your life is restrained, you can boldly say “no” to what you don’t want. You are invited to a dinner in a first class restaurant, and you are able to say no because you don’t associate with such people. You don’t keep such people as friends. You are invited to a seminar or lecture on a certain subject by a popular speaker. You must ask yourself whether the subject has any relevance or value to you. If not, why do you go simply because you were invited?
The discipline imposed by your vision causes you to live somehow a regulated life. It restricts your life and makes you not to be a jack-of-all trades-and-master-of-none. It limits your scope of activities and influence, causing you to concentrate on areas of interest and value to you. You are no longer a man of unlimited interests. People who are close to you know your daily habits and your priorities. They know where you should be at certain times of the day or days of the week. Your movements are predictable.
In your life’s journey, you must avoid unnecessary diversions or detours which consume your limited resources and cause delays. Sometimes they are inevitable in life. Detours are challenges you must face. But the beauty of detours is that God has already known about them and made the necessary provisions for you. Even if the challenge is life-threatening, it does not come to God as an accident. Isaiah 43:2 (NIV) says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Also, avoid shortcuts which appear to make your journey faster but eventually bring more problems. If you live in Lagos, like me, you must have realised that you are most of the time better on the major roads than using the so-called shortcuts or “corner-corner” routes, which often cause more frustration and disappointment.
I believe that shortcuts are never better options to the major way.