From the time I was a little girl, I had a vision to be the best water-skier in the world. My father, Parker Overton, an avid water-skier at the time, planted this vision deep within my heart. He and my mother, Becky, nurtured it until it became our reality.

It started with him kneeling by my bed and telling me made-up bedtime stories about a little girl and her father having adventures on the water. The excitement would build in my heart each time as my daddy would come to the end of every story and say these words: “And little Kristi became the best water-skier in the whole wide world.” We would both smile, I’d giggle, and then he’d give me a big kiss on the forehead.

That was back in the mid-to-late 1970s, but let me tell you, the excitement and expectancy behind this vision stuck. For the next thirty-five years, I disciplined myself to seek after what I could see in my mind’s eye and what I had heard my father whisper to my heart. Even when it seemed I’d never move to the next level, the vision stayed. I could see it even when I was far from obtaining it.

Not only could I see myself as a champion, I could also close my eyes and literally see myself on the water, performing great feats. I could feel it! I saw myself skiing to victory so much that my mother found me, sound asleep, standing up in the hotel bed at the US Masters Water Ski Tournament, going through my runs.

Any world-class athlete will tell you that having a vision of success and, most importantly, having the ability to keep your eyes on the vision when obstacles arise is the key to becoming a champion. The same is true in life.

Let me ask you something. What do you see when you look at your life? Do you see what your heavenly Father sees? Do you see a hope for your future (Jeremiah 29:11; John 10:10)? Or do you only see hardship and hopelessness?

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see a champion? A person unconditionally loved by God? Or do you see someone who is defeated and abandoned in life’s turbulent waters?

And what do you see when you look at God? Do you see a loving Father who cares about every detail of your life? Or do you see a harsh judge who is angry and ready to bring down the gavel of punishment?

How you see your future, your past, your present circumstances, your potential, your worth, and how you see God determines your future. George Washington Carver once said, “Where there is no vision, there is no hope.” Likewise, Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

What you see determines what you experience in life. On the flip side, what you don’t see is what you’ll never experience. If you can’t see your life getting any better, it won’t. If you can’t see yourself as a champion, you won’t become one. If you can’t see yourself as healthy, you’ll probably stay sick. If you can’t imagine yourself having sufficient finances, you’ll most likely stay poor. And if you can’t see yourself loved by God, although you are still loved by God, you won’t feel like it. And you won’t experience all His love has to offer. Get the picture?

Right now, it may be hard for you to see beyond your past and present circumstances to a hope-filled future. You’ve experienced the “same old, same old” for so long, you seem destined to experience it until the day you die. Please don’t believe that lie!

I implore you to catch God’s vision for your life. Get alone with Him—just like I did with my earthly daddy—and dream. Allow His vision for your life to become your own. Then, hold onto that vision no matter what comes against it. Keep hoping even when you can see no reason for hope, and even when the vision seems as good as dead! (See Romans 4:18–21.) Why? Because nothing is impossible for God.

Written by Kristi Overton Johnson

Photo by Annie Spratt