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February 9, 2013 / Dale Melchin

The Death of a Vision

Breaking the rules is one of those things that I’ve been divided about doing.  There are times when I broke the rules and laughed in face of authority and rejoiced in getting away with it.  There were other times where I deeply regretted it because I hurt a relationship in the process.  I don’t think rule breaking this time is going to fall into either of those categories.

I’m going to break the rule of not talking about yourself.  (Yes I broke the rule extensively yesterday, but I digress.) This post is going to be an extended personal story with some great lessons to be drawn from it.What I want you to realize that this and all of my writing is ultimately for your benefit and for the benefit of all human beings.  And yes I derive personal satisfaction from being helpful but I digress.  I give you, the Death of a Vision.

It was 1999.  I was 18 years old.  I had just come off of a very successful two years as a student at Sherrard High School.  I didn’t graduate the top of my class, I wasn’t a terrific athlete, but I felt like I accomplished something great.  I was the Christian leader on my campus.  In fact some of my “enemies” such as they were had given me the nickname Reverend Dale.  I admit, I kinda relished it, but I digress.

I know that sounds arrogant, but as others will attest I and my team at Impact (the name of my campus Bible study) managed to create a small core group of people who were committed to the cause of Christ.

We didn’t win the entire campus, but we did what we were supposed to do regardless.  We were witnesses and I took great personal satisfaction in having lead that group for my Junior and Senior year in high school.

That late May afternoon after I swore my successor Ryan in as the Captain-Elect of Impact, a vision of the future that had grown in my mind since I met my youth pastor Brian Schulenburg began to percolate in my mind.  Pastoral Leadership and taking the gospel to the American people who I felt desperately needed it.

I graduate, work the summer and make my run for Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA.  During that time, I have a great freshman year, a great summer at home, and then return… then all hell breaks loose.  I won’t elaborate, because although that semester is contributory, it isn’t the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

I go through my meltdown and my junior year, my momentum slows from hyperdrive to light speed, to impulse power to adrift.  Being adrift, I start taking some distance learning courses… and eventually I move home.

My vision started being in the throes of death somewhere between the distance learning courses, and moving home.

After moving home, even though I was sustainably employed, I was a derelict in relationship to my vision.  My vision was gone from me, and the self that I envisioned myself become had perished. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

My vision left me, and my future self perished when I lost sight of my vision as a pastor-teacher.  I perished when I let go of that vision.  Or at least the me that I could’ve been perished.

While this was going on my mother had died, and my vision along with her. My vision had perished.  I was deeply attached to her and I still miss her.  I’ve grown stronger from that event.

You didn’t see that first lesson did you?

Had I dealt with B.S. my second year at Liberty, I could’ve dealt with it in a stronger fashion had I had the will.

My mother dying was the proverbial sword going into the heart of my vision.  I don’t blame her for this.  It was my fault because I lacked the strength at the time to deal with it.

This ties back into the last post.  By that time I had literally no vision.  At All…..  By this time I was willing to do anything to survive.  But I had NO VISION!  By this time I was languishing.

This is what the death of a vision looks like.  Doing anything to survive.  Doing nothing to resuscitate the vision.

This next statement may seem arrogant, but this is what it looked like to me at the time of this writing.  What this looked like was a noble slopping the pigs.

Seriously, someone called to something higher… working in a carwash.  This was truly wrong.  Not because of anything God had done, but I because I had made all of the wrong moves.

It turned into a mess after all of this.  And it will all be answered in the next point.

All of my life, in my pre-Christian life and my Christian life everyone was telling me what to do other than myself as the Steward of my life or God as the Master of my life.  When I was around my community, this wasn’t a bad thing, because they were all good influences.  Until I got a taste of the real world, and realized what little strength I lacked.

That right…….. I wasn’t in touch with my authentic self and as a result, I wasn’t able to tell myself what to do.

Fortunately, I was as of late able to recast a vision for myself and figure out what I was supposed to be doing!

There is a place for counselors and advisors, but ultimately one has to have the connection with their vision of what they want for life directly in front of them in order to be all that they want to be or even what God wants them to be.

Now its time to tie up the story.

I will probably not go into pastoral ministry.  My vision is to go into another helping profession.  I’m partially realizing that now in my capacity as a customer service representative.

That goal is also a long way from being accomplished, but it is do able.

The take away for myself is that I’m not going to let anyone or anything get in my way of accomplishing this.

The take away for you is the following.

If you feel deep in your heart called to do something great.  You need to stop what you are doing and write out that vision, however small it is and then run with it.

If you are not in a place where the real time logistics allow you carry out that vision right away, you need to make the logistics of life start to move in that direction so you are not fighting your life or feel that what you are currently doing has no meaning.

If your vision has recently died.  Do whatever it takes to resuscitate or resurrect that vision.


I realize that this post has been almost a selfish monologue, but I feel that this story has many lessons that can benefit others.  With that in mind, I raise these these questions.


If you have lost your vision, what has that done to you?

What have you done to reclaim your vision?

What would following your vision make possible for you?


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