When the Vision Isn’t Clear
From Ecclesiastes 11
Before I started grad school in 2013, I had a clear plan. I would complete an MA in English, concentrating on practical courses like pedagogy and composition, with an eye toward a PhD in rhetoric. Eventually, I would teach editing and writing at the college level, preferably at the small university where I’d received my bachelor’s.
Boy, did those plans change.
By my third semester, I took my first creative writing course, and I was hooked. Something opened in me that I’d kept shut for a long time. After years of writing only for academic papers at school, I began exploring the kind of writing I enjoyed. In the end, I wrote a collection of poems for my thesis and did not apply for doctoral programs. I focused on writing instead, not knowing where it would go.
Maybe this sounds like no big deal to you, but for me, the shift toward creative writing required an act of faith. I’m a do-what-makes-sense kind of person. I like to have a clear plan in my head before I get started. I did neither when it came to my master’s. I just did what felt right even if I couldn’t see the end.
I just said yes.
I just starting writing.
I just followed what felt right. I just let the work take me to the next step.
I think this is what the Preacher of Ecclesiastes was talking about when he wrote, “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap” (Ecclesiastes 11:4). You can plot, you can plan, you can observe and regard and do your best to predict all the outcomes. But if you’re going to accomplish anything, at some point, you just have to start.
You have to do, sow, reap, go, write, create. And sometimes, what you create is far more meaningful when you take a chance, when you turn away from what’s safe or practical and go toward the thing tugging at your Spirit-shaped heart.
This chapter of Ecclesiastes says several times: “You do not know.” You don’t; but He does. Trust Him to have a clear vision of where you are going even if you don’t. Trust Him to tug you toward the right things, even if to you, they feel confusing, unexpected, or new. Trust Him so that you can do your part “in the morning” and “at evening” (v. 6)—that is, one day at a time. Let Him hold your future while you focus on today.
No doubt, what we find on the other side of following Him is far better than anything we plan for ourselves (Ephesians 3:20-21). So get going, friend. Chase those big, God-given dreams—even in the moments when the vision isn’t clear.
Next Week’s Reading: Song of Solomon 2:8-17–6:4-12.