Written by Betty Miller Buttram
At the beginning of January 2019, some of us probably made New Year’s resolutions. The standard ones: giving up chocolate, exercising more, not eating red meat, drinking less caffeine, or anything else we diligently promised ourselves not to do anymore. Well, some of us most likely tried, but those commitments fell off our wagons before the month of January ended. We easily forgot that we made any resolutions in the first place.
There is another way that we can improve ourselves, not by making resolutions that can be broken, but by focusing our minds on visions that will enable us to make it through a new year with firm purposes in mind.
Turner Chapel A.M.E. Church has a visionary person by the name of Anita Dortch, and this is her fourth year of leading the Vision Board Ministry. She inspires people to learn and to gain insight as to the potential accomplishments that can be attained during the year. Ms. Dortch provides the class with various sized card boards, scissors, glue, paste, and newspapers and magazines for clipping images. Each person finishes with a vision board and explains what their hopes and/or plans are for the coming year.
On Saturday, January 26, 2019, the Vision Board Ministry introduced the class attendees to a concept that offered encouragement in getting them through the year. Ms. Yolanda Walker, the first presenter, provided the class with the term minimalism. Ms. Walker’s definition of the word is that minimalism “is a tool to rid oneself of life excesses and failures so that a person can focus on what’s important in their lives in order to find happiness, fulfillment and freedom.” Now, what does that mean? Ms. Walker stated, “simply living on purpose, rid of anything that doesn’t bring or add value. If it doesn’t bring you joy, don’t own it; just don’t have anything to do with it.”
With that idea implanted, Ms. Walker then gave an example of how to get rid of the clutter in our lives; the things that have accumulated in our lives that have never made a person whole even with all of that surrounding clutter.
So, instead of focusing on the resolutions that a person probably will not keep, Ms. Walker directed the class’ attention on the rooms in their homes. As she mentally walked the class through each room, the closets, the pictures on the walls, the furniture, clothes, and kitchen items, she made them question themselves about whether or not most of that stuff in those rooms was needed. She gave them tips on how to begin their journey and one of them was this: “When you’re planning your goals; decide if you really want to minimize; decide if this is really something that you’re interested in doing; decluttering and getting rid of some things that you don’t need. We have to find that joy and peace inside of us to make us happy…spending time on things that you love.”
After Ms. Walker’s presentation, the class saw her concept of decluttering rooms as a vision that would take time in accomplishing goals without breaking promises to themselves; working on something or anything that would be of value and that would bring joy, peace and freedom into their lives.
Christine Moore, a member of Turner Chapel A.M.E. Church, was the second presenter who gave the class her points on spiritual visions. “Visions require work, time, focus and faith from the standpoint of being driven. This is something you have to have as a passion that helps drives you. Doing what you love to do and enjoy doing.” Ms. Moore gave the class some data on what drives people about their visions. “According to statistical data,” Ms. Moore stated, “forty percent of people have great ideas; but they don’t do anything to make them happen. Forty percent of people work diligently but they really don’t have a vision. The other twenty percent of people not only have a vision, but also work hard at it because they have faith and trust in God to make these things come true.”
After the two presentations, an hour or so later, class members had filled their card boards with what they hope to accomplish with their visions for this year.
This was a fun-filled four-hour class with participation from some members of Turner Chapel, Union Baptist Church, family and friends. It was challenging and innovative with no focus on New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions are easily broken but a visionary concept can be as long as it takes for as long as you want.