What Are You Living For?


“Society encourages us to ‘visualize’ success and what we want in life—but that isn’t necessarily true vision.”

-Abigail Cole Hardin, CLC; PNLP

By Abigail Cole Hardin, CLC; PNLP

“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). 

I’ve heard this verse many times, and growing up with such visionary parents, it became a family perspective staple. It would be a way to inspire goal-setting or encouragement when I felt aimless because it would direct my focus to seek vision.

While vision can be such a conceptual term—I think of it as the ultimate prize. It’s what we long to see when we close our eyes and it’s within our range of possibilities. We see it ahead of ourselves. We see a broader scope. We have purpose in our steps and motivation to move forward.

With vision, we actually know where to go. 

The problem is we can get to points in our lives that what we imagined or visualized didn’t happen. We start to become disillusioned, or perhaps chase someone else’s dream only to reach it and realize it was not what we wanted. In this case, we’re following an image rather than a vision.

An image is what we think we ought to be, and a vision is what we are called to be.  

Society encourages us to “visualize” success and what we want in life—but that isn’t necessarily true vision. Instead, it’s encouraging us to pursue an image of how we define ourselves as successful. Most people define their success by such things as their relationships, their work, how they give back, or even how happy they feel. These are all good goals, and it may encourage one to work harder and get out of bed—but it’s all finite.  

Images don’t last and can drastically change with us having no control over their outcomes like a loved one dying, having cancer, job loss, burnout… We can easily lose direction because these images are not vision. And “where there is no vision, the people perish”—meaning we will eventually lose our way when we pursue images.

So, what do we really need to tap into true vision? 

We need to connect to our spiritual dimension. 

Hardin Life Resources is founded upon Luke 2:52 where “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man,” which shows the life that we live here on this earth is meant to be growing in four areas: physical, emotional, social and spiritual. We refer to these areas as the four dimensions of self.

Society usually touches on three of the four dimensions, i.e.:

  1. The social dimension with professional and relational success

  2. The physical dimension to keep our bodies healthy, and

  3. The emotional dimension to be happy and think positively.

Yet society often neglects the most important dimension, the spiritual. 

The spiritual dimension is the lens to view every other area of who we are—it answers the question of,  “What is this all for?” It defines purpose and provides connection to a greater power and plan. It is where true vision is found. And where there is vision—there is life abundant.

I had to learn from many disappointing pursuits of images that I misinterpreted the verse I heard so much growing up. I got vision confused with my image of success. I thought the prize would be becoming greater in something I saw as acceptable and desirable. I expected this to be the fuel to make me work harder and accomplish things in my life. Instead, I became disillusioned, burned out, and aimless as it was not all I thought it would be.

It took this kind of heartbreak and disappointment to create a void in me to seek something deeper and something greater. It was when I looked to Christ and His promises, finally embraced His vision for me, I gained life abundant.

While I had all these dreams and images of what I thought I needed to be, He already knew what He created me to be—and He has called me to be part of His master plan full of love and hope. And I don’t have to become something to be acceptable to Him.

This is the prize my soul longs to have— to be in perfect rest and contentment that I am fully known, accepted, loved and provided for while getting to be a part of a greater story. This is the vision that never disappoints and the adventure that never ends.

So, which are you pursuing: an image of success or a vision of purpose?