My husband and I were watching a movie the other night called The Lost City of Z. Have you seen it? If you have, you probably remember the scene where the men are barely surviving the Amazon jungle when they discover one member of their crew has scarfed down all the food in secret. When he is discovered, he exclaims, “We’re all going to die anyway!”

This is not the only movie in which I’ve seen this happen. In Unbroken, several men are stranded in a small life raft at sea. One of the men waits until the others are asleep and then helps himself to the remainder of the food.

My question is: Why do people do this?

These men aren’t just merely careless, selfish, stupid, or unloving. They are without hope.

People without hope don’t plan for the future. They don’t save. They don’t set goals. They don’t invest. They don’t start the hard work today; they push it off until tomorrow. In short, they have lost vision for their lives. In the examples above, the men lost hope that they would even survive, so they completely gave up and indulged themselves.

Beware of moments in your life where you give in to temptation or you are at least tempted to give in–when you’re dieting and want to eat that piece of cake (or the whole thing!), when you click on that site or allow your mind to wander into lustful thoughts, when you’re tired of disciplining your children, when you push off the gym for one more day, when you splurge on a new car instead of paying off debt.

Whatever the temptation, you more easily give in when you lose sight of your vision–vision for a healthy life, vision for a healthy marriage, vision for your children to develop into mature adults, vision to purchase that house you’ve been dreaming of.

It’s nearly impossible to make the hard, uncomfortable decisions towards a better, healthier life without vision for your future. We can only white-knuckle for so long before we ask ourselves, “Why am I putting myself through so much suffering and discomfort?” Without vision, we will more often choose the easy, comfortable way.

In this difficult season, I’ve been tempted to give up more than a few times, but then I think about what my family and I are working for–why we’re doing what we’re doing–and it makes it all worth it. For more on vision, check out Godly Vision Necessitates Boundaries.

I recently wrote down a list to remind myself and share with others what it is that my family and I are doing. So, here it is:

-We’re learning to dream again.

-We’re chasing after God, pursuing His will for our lives.

-We’re investing into our marriage and our kids.

-We’re showing our kids by example what it means to live a life in full surrender to God (not that we do it perfectly all the time, but we’re trying).

-We’re teaching our kids to depend on God. They get to pray with/for us and be a part of the decisions we make. They hear from God and see prayers answered all the time.

-We’re learning how to work together as a family towards our goals. We’re learning to develop vision and help our kids to develop goals and vision for their own lives.

-We’re learning to step outside our comfort zones and experience more of the world. We’re learning to build bridges of connection with all types of people instead of being confined to small thinking.

-We’re learning to trust in God to provide instead of trusting in ourselves—our ability, reputation, hard work, wisdom, etc. We’re learning to steward what God has put before us and wait for God’s promotion.

-We’re learning to walk by faith. We’re learning to obey God and continue to sow into areas He’s called us to, even when we don’t see fruit right away. We’re learning to be faithful in the sowing and trust God for the harvest.

What’s your vision–for your life, your marriage, your children, your career? In what ways has keeping your vision helped you to get through hard times?