How to Have a Vision When It Has Failed

We got a question from Tom. This is a good question, Tom. Thank you for asking it, one I think we all deal with, so let’s try to lean into this for a couple of minutes, is how to have a vision when everything you had a vision for has failed? I feel like a failure at vision setting and achieving things. So what would you say to that, Jeremy, because this is real. This is the hard part, too. And I think we always have to be very careful of every system, every thing, anything that’s helpful always has, call it dark sides or just things that can hurt or whatever. And I think sometimes family teams cultures can be so high vision, high culture, high all these things, but what do you do when you’re not meeting your own bar or you’re feeling like you’re not achieving this vision or things aren’t happening because I think this is totally realistic question?

Yeah. Well, the first thing I tell every dad is that if you’re breathing, you haven’t lost. I’ve talked to grandfathers who have done a lot of damage to their families, and have become aware of it, are beginning to repent and man there is a ton of opportunity for them to continue to push into this. And so it’s really important to understand that the fruit that we’re going for is a multigenerational fruit. Don’t judge yourself. One of things that Paul says is, “I don’t even judge myself.” And so be careful not to cast too hard of a sentence on yourself.

The other thing that I just think is super important to keep in mind is that when you’re trying to figure out who to compare yourself to, it’s really discouraging to compare yourself to other families.

Yeah, be careful.

Yeah. The best thing to compare yourself to is your own family and in the past. Where were we? I want my ceiling to be my kids’ floor. And so I don’t want to look around to other families who may be generationally are light years beyond us. I have friends who are the fourth or fifth generation of just incredible faithfulness, and I’m watching what they’re accomplishing in their generations, and I can get really discouraged. Likewise, there are a lot of people who have come from really tough families and are doing so much work in their generation, and it’s important to be okay with that. And to say, “Man, we’re not going to recover everything in one generation, but we’re going to do our best.” And so make sure that you’re making progress as a family, but don’t set the bar according to other families.

No, I would totally agree. And then I think that’s the beautiful part about the gospel is the gospel, there is the truth of you reap what you sow, but then there is the truth also in scripture of God’s a miraculous God that just can make restoration happen out of something. What’s the Old Testament classic example? He can restore what the locusts have eaten or he can bring back to life places that are dead, right? And to bring something back from the dead is not normal. That’s a miracle, and God can do that, right? And maybe it’s smaller stuff, too, that maybe you just feel like, “Oh, I failed this, and it’s a bummer.” I think sometimes it’s easy to be discouraged as a dad, not by the huge failures, but just the compounding small ones. It’s like, “Oh, why are the kids acting this way? Why did I not do this? Why did I… Business failure or whatever?”

One thing I would say, too, to end is that it’s really helpful to look at it like a tree, right? I think a lot of times in America and in our spirituality in the West is we so want to watch the tree grow. You can’t watch a tree grow. You literally just have to stay in your house, do your life, and peek out the door every five years. And you’re like, “Oh, that’s taller than it was five years ago.” And I think a lot of times we so quickly want to just put our face against the glass and just be like, “Grow, grow, grow, grow.”

And I think it’s similar with failures. We get into the micro failures. Well, you really got to understand this, the long game, is the tree growing? Is the tree being built? And will the tree produce fruit 50 years from now, right, that you can eat from? That’s a bigger, better question than like, “Oh, I used the wrong pesticide,” or, “Oh, I actually messed up the bark right there.” You know what I mean? No, the big question is, is the tree still standing, or has it totally been eroded and decaying? And is it going towards the trajectory of growing fruit and blessings? So that’s what I would say.


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