There is a difference between having a dream about a preferable lifestyle and having a vision for one. Dreams are often short lived fleeting pictures of a desired future or a preferable life circumstance. A true vision is indelible and lasting and demands deliberate movement towards that future. People who are dreamers often stay dreamers while visionaries are never satisfied with status quo. Visionaries are planners, builders and aggressive learners. Pursuing a life of sustainability requires more than a dream; it requires authentic vision and the tenacity to see it come to pass. Vision inspires the sacrifice and discipline to pursue freedom from financial indebtedness. It requires the willingness to do more things for yourself rather than relying on every kind of outside commodity. A life of vision is a deliberate and focused life. It is a life that spends time, energy and money on the things that really count; the things that will help you grasp the goal you set out to achieve. I believe true vision is a gift of God. Because he desires us to live purposeful and meaningful lives he imparts vision into the hearts and minds of men. It may take years to arrive at the envisioned destination, but if it is true vision and not a mere dream it will surely happen. The book of Habakkuk chapter two says, “Write down the vision and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the vision awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” I have had visions about a lot of things in my life, especially when it has come to ministry, and can testify to the fact that a life of sustainability has to be more than a dream; it requires stick-to-it-ness.
In the 60′s everyone had a dream of living sustainable lives. The Hippie movement was in part birthed out of those dreams. Hundreds of my generation moved into communes with great expectations of living with the land, consuming less and making smaller footprints. Many of those that led in the Hippie movement of the 60′s became the American corporate leadership of the 70′s and 80′s. For most, the Hippie movement was more of a dream than a vision.
Nancy and I never considered ourselves Hippies. We love the rural lifestyle and the rich things it cultivated into our marriage. We had a common vision to raise our family in wholesomeness of the country lifestyle that we enjoyed in our early days of marriage. (Read “About Tri & Nancy”.) There were dozens of inconveniences living the way we did; off the grid and an hour from town. Fighting harsh weather, cutting cords of firewood to combat the coming cold winter, putting up hay – this was the strenuous hard work that never went away. The remote isolation and absence of television and outside entertainment sometimes made us feel abnormal, but through it all we hung on to the vision we had received when we first had met which enabled us to press through the harder seasons we experienced.
In 1989 we moved to the city of Boise to establish the first Vineyard Christian Fellowship there. Being church planters required us to live in the heart of a big city for the first time as a married couple. We really enjoyed the luxury of being able to walk to the market and to local restaurants. Our kids entered regular public school for the first time and I could commute to work in less than ten minutes. Now instead of bucking hay and cutting fire wood for exercise I started running and Nancy went to the gym. Everything was easier and far more convenient, but when you have vision for a sustainable country lifestyle it just never seems to go away. They say you can take people out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of people, and I guess it’s true.
Early one morning after living in Boise for nearly ten years Nancy was reading her Bible and the Lord spoke to her out of Deuteronomy 1:6 where God spoke to the Israelites telling them that they had stayed long enough where they were and it was time for them to break camp and advance into the hill country to the land He had prepared for them. The Lord used that verse to re-establish the vision He had put into our hearts. And so it is that we are again back in the country doing the things that gave us so much pleasure and satisfaction in those early days of our marriage.