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Thursday, October 9, 2014

"Vision Map" (Joël Malm)

TITLE: Vision Map: Charting a Step-by-Step Course for Your Biggest Hopes and Dreams
AUTHOR: Joël Malm
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014, (112 pages).

What is life all about? What does God want me to do with my life? The first question is a quest for significance. The second is a desire for meaning and purpose in life. This book affirms the point that there is nothing more rewarding to see God's will be done in our own lives. Recognizing the many people who struggle with their self identity as well as their purpose in life, Malm brings us back to the drawing board to help us discover and draw out our vision maps. Do not be deceived. Mapping is only the first step. There are other elements needed such as time, diligence, tweaking from time to time, and "total dependence" on God. Malm comes from the standpoint of an ordinary guy, just like you and me. It must first begin with the assumption that God had given each one of us some purpose, message, or vision in life. This vision needs a captivating "one-liner" that is clear, concise, and communicable, that tells us what our destination is. It also needs time and patience to formulate it. If necessary, find advisors who are knowledgeable and who can assist through asking good questions and provide guidance. Then comes the mapping or the visualizing of the message, which essentially tells us HOW to get there. Drawing out the plan becomes interesting when the details are slowly fleshed out. What makes it more exciting is to see ourselves being in the part of God's overall picture. This means prayer and more prayer in order to discern the whole journey and to be alert about how it meanders through the ups and downs of life. His section about "Big Asks" is risky but is also considered a big step of faith. It rides on the mantra: "Fortune favours the bold." I like that.

Being practical, Malm goes on to show us that keeping to the vision map also requires external help. Help such as supporters, friends, and in Malm's words, "Build a tribe." This is essentially a collection of people who "get it." All it takes is just one to start the revolution. He urges us to "start small" lest we be discouraged or becomes too big-headed till change becomes too difficult. The main point is to begin where we are, with whatever we have. Taking risks, making sacrifices, stepping out in faith, are all critical steps toward becoming the person we are called to be. As long as we know we are a work-in-progress, we cannot simply remain in that undeveloped state. We need to move toward completion or maturity. Malm shares further reflections on service, on humility to change plans, and a readiness to go when the time is right. He ends with several vision maps to trigger our imagination.

Malm is an entrepreneur as well as a life coach living in Texas. He is very much an outdoor person and enjoys taking people out on expeditions and adventures. His step by step guide is formulated through experience and personal reflections. The chapters are short and the examples are brief, but they are all drawn from long days away in the outdoors. Malm reminds me that life is far bigger than the familiar surroundings most of us face each day. Many of us are content simply to live from box to box. From the house box, we travel via the car box, entering the work box, and socialize in the public square (box). In order to think and live out of the box, we need to physically extract ourselves from time to time, away from our familiar territories, and seek out adventure. Sometimes, in order to understand more about ourselves, introspection or retrospection can only reveal so much. We need to see in ourselves a resurrection of God's vision for the world. Think about it. If God is simply concerned about things in heaven, he may not even bother to come down to earth. Maybe, God is calling us to do the same with our home, and to venture more to the outdoors. It reminds me that vision mapping is also a way of faith charting and Christian living.

Thanks Malm for this powerful reminder!

Rating: 4.75 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Moody Publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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