In 1904, the cleaning agent VIM first appeared on the scene. 109 years later it’s still a leading cleanser of choice because it works! VIM lives up to its name – coming from the Latin word vis or vim meaning “force” or “vigor.”
VIM transforms a mess into a place of beauty!
Life can get messy where we lose our sense of meaning and purpose. When that happens, we need a VIM treatment. We need to find a way to move from the mess to new meaning – from victim to vital – from feeble to focused.
It takes inner transformation to live a life with “force” and “influence” in the face of adversity. It takes VIM to keep growing and moving forward when met with untimely challenges.
My desire is to be the kind of person who stays vital, alive and full of VIM regardless of the circumstances. I desire to maintain and develop strength of soul and character during times of calamity and trouble.
The challenge and the opportunity?
Going from where I am [WHEN LIFE IS A MESS] to where I want to get to!
Let me illustrate. I take you back to a stage in my recovery that was probably one of the most challenging periods. I had just endured surgery #4 to deal with a nasty infection in my femur that had not been illuminated earlier in the process. The surgery hurt but what also hurt was the emotional and mental strain I was experiencing.
I lost my VIM and vigor. I was discouraged and depressed. I was ready to bite the head off the next person who asked me how I was doing.
My hope-o-meter was at an all-time low because my plans for getting back on my feet and back to work any time soon had just been dashed. I was being forced to settle in for the long haul. I was off my right leg completely for an indeterminate period of time and had no idea what lay ahead.
I wanted VIM in my life to give me the strength to clean up this mess.
How did I navigate this period of my journey?
It started with (I can see it now even though I didn’t see it then) the struggle to find a better VISION for my life. I imagined myself as someone growing through suffering – not being snuffed out by it. I imagined myself fostering a hopeful attitude about the future and learning to see God’s hand in my life and circumstances.
I didn’t want anger and bitterness to take root but to let the cycle of grief and loss run its course. I started to imagine how to spend my days. – not just sitting and sulking but finding significance, purpose, and meaningful activities while I sat and healed.
I came to realize – just having a vision wasn’t enough. I needed the necessary INTENTION to make the shift and travel the difficult road from where I was to where I wanted to go. It would take a commitment to grow and change.
Personal transformation wasn’t going to happen naturally or by accident!
This led to the realization of needing the MEANS to bring this vision for a transformed self into full bloom. I needed a pathway to get there – to go from the gumbo to solid ground.
As I look back on this journey, I was living the VIM pattern for fostering personal transformation.
Some of the means I used to turn my intended vision into a transformed self included:
- Reading stories of survival and courage
- Meaningful conversations with friends and family
- Prayer and spiritual reading
- Reframing the way I see things
- Professional counseling
- Deep crying
- Patience with the process
- Learning to live in the NOW
- Being realistic about the physical battle I was fighting
An illustration of the VIM* process of personal transformation is seen in the pattern used by Alcoholics Anonymous. Dallas Willard describes it this way:
A desirable state of being is envisioned, and an intention to realize it is actuated in decision. Means are applied to fulfill the intention (and the corresponding decision) by producing the desirable state of being: in this case abstinence from alcohol and a life of sobriety with all that entails. The familiar means of traditional AA— the famous twelve steps and the personal and social arrangements in which they are concretely embodied, including a conscious involvement of God in the individual’s life— are highly effective in bringing about personal transformation.
Without process for unleashing the deep transformation brought about by the VIM pattern, we stay stuck in our ruts of despair, addiction, meaninglessness, etc. What brings true hope into our life is not wishful thinking, but a pathway to realize a future expectations. The VIM way gives you that pathway!
*the idea for VIM comes from Dallas Willard’s book “Renovation of the Heart”
How much VIM do you possess?
What do you need to do now to apply the VIM process to your life?
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