Every holiday season, I set an intention for the year to come. Sometimes it’s a catchy phrase like “Make It Official” aka “MIO” in 2014, when I got serious about branding my businesses and writing my first book. Sometimes it’s a reminder, like 2016’s Galatians 6:9-inspired “Don’t Grow Weary, Grow Well,” which reminded me to: (1) Be intentional, (2) Don’t try to outwork God, (3) Do things well, and (4) Do well things. Or, it may be simple, yet focal like 2021’s “Year of Gratitude,” which challenged me not to complain, but instead, grow in gratitude in these six specific ways.
For 2022, I am celebrating the “Year of Perspective”. It’s actually inspired by a Bible discussion which was led by my good friend and mentor Minister Eulinda Smith. It really resonated with me when she said, “Envision the life—design the life—you’ve asked God for.”
For deeply reflective people, such as myself, we do take the time to see ourselves in positive spaces, whether it be through journaling, deep breathing, honoring Sabbath, or meditation. However, I shortchange this vision by not feeding it with intentions and subsequent behaviors to design that very life in my everyday experience. I had the faith, but not works (James 2:14-26).
I had the faith, but not the works.Dr. Asha
Other times, I would work so diligently at making something happen—put in excessive hours, leak energy in the form of stress and emotional anxiety, and waste time both second-guessing myself and re-doing/perfecting my work—only to later realize that it was all works with no faith. (Which sends me back to the lesson of “Don’t try to outwork God” from 2016, sigh.)
Ideally, the two will come together, faith and works, to feed each other, undergird each other, and create space for “the agenda of Heaven to truly be experienced here on Earth.” And that requires a fresh perspective.
Your eyes are the key to your perspective. What you see, watch, and observe all formulate your beliefs about the world around you. If you see desert lands and dusty grey skies, you will believe these are the norm in all places. If you see green grass and clear, blue skies, you will believe this exists everywhere until you are introduced to other notions.
Additionally, words are powerful, because they help us “see” what was, is, will, and might be. This is why fictitious stories can take us to faraway places, and historical documents help us paint pictures in the present. This is also why we must protect our perspective, so it doesn’t get clouded by our own doubts, judgment, and ultra-realism. “Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness (Luke 11:34).”
In processing my own perspective, I realized that I have a habit of dreaming big and believing small. I get caught up in the minutia of “But how will it happen?” and “What’s the [fully-detailed, step-by-step with comments in the margins] plan?” that I lose sight of the vision God gave me in the first place. Well, this story brought me to full accountability:
As Jesus left the house, he was followed by two blind men crying out, “Mercy, Son of David! Mercy on us!” When Jesus got home, the blind men went in with him. Jesus said to them, “Do you really believe I can do this?” They said, “Why, yes, Master!” He touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.” It happened. They saw…
–Matthew 9:27-31 MSG (emphasis author’s own)
To me, “Become what you believe,” is both a challenge and a charge. Would your prayers/requests be answered if this was the only caveat: Become what you believe?
I have a habit of dreaming big and believing small.-Dr. Asha
Do you truly SEE yourself as what you are asking for, praying for, believing for? If so, act there. That’s faith. And faith without works is dead. If not, you need to level up your faith. That is what’s keeping you from getting the response. Everything could be there, right in front of you, but you can’t see it, because you don’t truly believe that it exists [or even can exist].
As I set my sights on the year ahead, God has already given me some beautifully amazing visions. I’ve had some of these visions in the “big picture” sense for 10+ years. Other visions are Him adding fine strokes and colorful details in the last few months. As my friend put it, “We must see it in the spiritual and pull it into the natural.” Therefore, let us close 2021 with a cleansing of our eyes—our vision—and this prayer…
Lord, thank You for being such a wonderful and loving God. I know You would never abandon me. I’m sorry for the times I didn’t see You preparing the way and walking the way with me. Help me to see me as You see me, and see this life as You see it for me—abundant and in overflow. You make known to me the path of life, whether it’s a few steps, all the steps, or intermittent steps in between. In the places where I fully trust You, thank You for developing my faith. In the places where I still struggle, Lord, help my unbelief. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.*
What’s next? Try setting your intentions with this affirmation, as you anticipate the year ahead:
*This prayer was inspired by the following Scriptures:
Mark 9:23-24, NIV, “Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’”
Psalm 16:9-11, ESV, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Dr. Asha—speaker, educator, published author, and radio host—is aptly known as the Creator of Healthy Conversations. Her life purpose is to teach the busy and overwhelmed how to live life abundantly. She is an educational consultant and owner of the Temple Fit Company, LLC, and she is the director of Temple Fit Health, Inc. faith-based wellness nonprofit organization. Grab one of Dr. Asha’s recent books and book her for your upcoming program.