Are you too busy? Stressed out?
Do you find yourself doing the urgent instead of the important?
Have you forgotten WHY you do what you do?
If so, it's time to STOP! You will never get where you want to go unless you take time to develop a plan.
Let's say you want to drive from Chicago to San Francisco. What's the first thing you should do? Start driving? I don't think so. First you'd better know what route to take, among other things.
When we were planning our trip through the Rockies a few years ago, it took months of research and planning to find the best route, the best things to see and the best places to stay. We could have set out with no plan, just a vague idea and a car, but I'm sure we'd have missed some awesome experiences and amazing scenery. It was a dream vacation. We didn't want a mediocre trip, we wanted the best one possible. That required some forethought and planning.
Your life is the most important 'trip' you will ever have the opportunity to plan. Everything you do either contributes or detracts from your life experiences. Get up or sleep in. Do the dishes or watch TV. Go back to school or read a novel. Moment by moment you are making choices that impact your life, both now and in the future.
You can choose to accept or reject any idea, activity or goal for yourself. For instance, I used to tell our daughter, "If you spend it here, you won't be able to spend it there." If you go out for dinner tonight, then you might not be able to go shopping with friends on Saturday. See what I mean?
Every moment of every day, you are choosing thoughts, words and activities. Are you choosing with purpose? If you commit to an event or activity, that time is no longer yours to claim for other things. Is what you are doing or planning important enough to justify your time and effort?
I heard a story about a minister who complained to God that his life was just too busy. He was responsible for the members of his congregation. He was busy writing sermons, visiting the sick, speaking and ministering at various events. "It's just too much", he told God. God replied, "I didn't plan your schedule, you did!"
Step 1: Plan Your Plan - And the Lord... said, Write the vision and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it (Hab. 2:2) Stone tablet or computer tablet - it helps to write things down. Writing clarifies your plans and gives focus to your dreams.
As you contemplate your goals and dreams, prayer should be your first action. Get God involved. Of course, He already is, but if you're not listening for His wisdom, you'll miss the path He laid out for you. For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome (Jer. 29:11 AMP). He has already said He will give wisdom to anyone who asks (James 1:5).
Pretend you are going to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award for "Your Best Life" - not your parents or spouse's or boss's ideas for you, but your own. What does your 'best life' look like to you?
What do you want to be known for?
What are you doing every day to help you reach your ultimate goals, your greatest dreams?
Are you making wise choices or are you allowing yourself to be distracted by the 'commercials' in your life.
You have no doubt noticed that commercials are much louder than the TV shows they interrupt. Life is like that. Incessant, sometimes urgent and often distracting noises drown out those things that are ultimately more important, but not as insistent.
Did you decide to play computer games tonight 'to relax' instead of reading that book?
Did you opt for dinner out 'because you were tired', instead of cooking at home to save money?
Are you so busy being 'busy' that you forgot about the things you really need to do?
Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed Prov. 16:3). Your goals form the plot for your own life story. You get to write and direct each act and scene. You are the hero or heroine of your own show.
You already have much of the knowledge, skills and experience you need to create great success in your life. You know enough to begin working toward your highest aspirations. What you really need are quality decisions.
Take time to decide what your ideal life should be. Imagine it in Technicolor and surround sound. Add emotion to the plot. Then write your script - the goals and plans you need to succeed. Rehearse the victory in your mind until you know your lines by heart.
Turn off that fuzzy, unfocused channel in your life. Instead, pick an adventure in accomplishment, a romance with the people around you, or a mystery to be solved by you, the master sleuth. As that old TV show claimed, "This is Your Life!" And you are the producer, the director and the star!
Step 2: Count the Cost - For which of you intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it (Luke 14:28). Dreams cost money - and time - and effort - and commitment. It's far too easy to slip and slide through life with minimal effort. But if you really want something, you will need to sacrifice something else. Are you willing to pay the cost?
God is more than willing to give you strength, wisdom, riches, favor, patience or whatever else you need to be the blessing He created you to be. However, you have a responsibility through faith, prayer and effort, to bring those things into your personal reality. When God says you can do all things through Christ which strengthens you, you should not respond with "I just can't do that, Lord. It's too hard!"
Ed and I enjoy 'projects', whether that's painting a room or developing a new garden area. It's great fun and very satisfying to see the result. The think I like least, however, is the prep work. He won't let me pick up a paint brush and just start painting. NO - I have to scrub the walls and prime over bare spots. I can't just plant the shrubs and flowers. NO - first I have to pull the weeds, dig the dirt and amend the soil. We have to count all that time and effort into the project too.
As you look at your life and begin to make choices that are more consistent with your highest goals and aspirations, you're going to have to do some of the dirty work first before you see results. Jesus explained about that when He told the story of the two men who were building houses. One simply started with the fun stuff - presumably adding a living room and kitchen, master bedroom and bath. The second started with the foundation, built solidly on a rock, before he go to the pretty stuff. You know what happened. Dreams and goals are wonderful, but you'll also need a solid plan to get you started in the right direction.
Step 3: Begin - An ancient Chinese proverb says that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. You will never accomplish anything if you never begin.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Gen. 1:1). Step by step, He spoke His plans and the Holy Spirit moved to accomplish whatsoever He spoke. That same Holy Spirit is available to you as a born-again believer - for the same purpose. The Apostle Paul explained, Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16).
A helper is an aide or assistant. He won't do the work for you, but He will assist and strengthen you. You must, however, make a decision and step out in faith if you want His aid and assistance.
Understand that not making a decision IS a decision. Procrastination sets you up for more stress and failure. You know that even something as simple as choosing not to do the dishes or laundry quickly becomes piles of dirty dishes or soiled clothes.
Learn to use the word 'no' effectively. Don't let other people's needs or wants sidetrack your own dreams and goals. If you never start, you certainly will never attain what you desire.
Shakespeare said, "All the world's a stage, and the men and women merely players." You, and only you, have the ultimate responsibility for the life you live. What scenes are you performing that don't contribute to your autobiography? Only you can decide What Matters Most. Only you can write, direct and star in the production of "Your Best Life".
For more information on developing life skills, better relationships, and becoming the best YOU possible, visit http://seebecksolutions.com and sign up to receive your FREE subscription to "Solutions For Success", a weekly ezine of inspiration, motivation and humor from a Christian perspective.
Ruth Seebeck has built a reputation over the last three decades as a life-skills coach, mentor, Christian counselor and friend. She is a business owner, author, community volunteer and event coordinator whose passion is helping others overcome life's challenges. Seebeck Solutions: Helping you make the most of What Matters Most!