By Anna Mahoney
Every year, my family gets together with our extended relatives and friends for a New Year’s Eve party. One tradition at the party is creating vision boards for the coming year— we each take old magazines and cut out the pictures and words that best represent our vision of what we want to do, who we want to be, what we want to accomplish, and so on.
Last year was unique because this activity just involved my immediate family. We all sat down at our table with a piece of white copy paper, a pencil, some pens and one magazine. All the past years, I would scour through dozens of magazines, picking words and pictures that caught my eye, then ripping them out, pasting them together, until voila—my vision board was complete! Last year, however, our only magazine was a fishing magazine, and although I love fishing, the lack of magazine variety required me to reflect on the various areas of my life before springing into action.
I took a cup, placed it in the center of my page and traced a circle around it with my pencil. I stared at that circle for quite a while, as I went through all the endless possibilities to focus on that year…
I came to realize that prayer life was much farther down on my list of priorities than I’d expect. Automatically I thought, “Well shoot, I’m a bad Catholic.” As reluctant as I was to admit it, I’d fallen away from God. And until that moment, I hadn’t even realized it…
I knew it wasn’t enough to simply write God, my Catholic faith, and my prayer life in the center of the circle. I had to take action.
I got my calendar out and began to map out my days, scheduling in time for confession, Mass, and prayer. I asked my friend who had the same goals in mind if they would like to be my accountability partner (as I knew I wouldn’t initially have the discipline to make this a habit).
One lesson I’d learned the previous summer, during my internship with Southwestern Advantage, is that nothing in this life is ever owned— it is rented, and the rent is due every day. For example, your health or fitness is never owned; it is rented and the rent is due every day. A great marriage is never owned; it is rented and the rent is due every day. Likewise, a strong faith is never owned; it is rented and the rent is due every day.
Acknowledge where you are. Define where you want to be. Create a plan. Pay the rent.
A vision board isn’t meant to stay a vision. A vision board is a plan. All you have to do is take action and remember that with God, all things are possible.