A few years ago I attended a conference at Ashland University in Ohio. The presenter gave us a strategic planning exercise to develop our spiritual lives. His first admonition: begin with the end in mind.
Soon after we moved into our house, I decided I wanted a fire pit area. Dave was home for lunch and we discussed where we would put one. As soon as he left to go back to work, I recruited my oldest daughter to assist me in the construction and I got busy. I was certain I could be done before dinnertime.
I first gathered some power tools – the chain saw, brush cutter, rakes, shovels, etc. Then I realized I also needed the tractor, so I brought it out. Emily and I started cutting and blazing a trail in the area we had selected. Soon I was able to use the tractor to start pushing the dirt around, digging out brush roots as I went. After a couple of hours, Emily had to to go to work and I was left alone with the tractor and my power tools.
I continued working, but soon realized I was going to need help. Discouraged, I turned off the tractor and my power tools and went in to await Dave’s arrival. I was sure that if anything would tip Dave over the edge, it would be the mess I made trying to create a fire pit in one afternoon.
Part of the problem was I didn’t really know how to get where I was going. I had a slope of land covered in bushes and undergrowth. I gathered tools appropriate for the task. I wanted a fire pit. But I hadn’t really considered the sloping terrain or how difficult it would be to get the ground level. I didn’t consider how to get to my end goal.
Where are you hoping to be in one year, five years, ten years? Do you have a vision for what you want to achieve, but haven’t considered the process of getting there. Failure to plan translates into failure to thrive. That is true for any part of our life – physical, emotional, spiritual or relational. Anything that is left to chance will disintegrate rather than flourish.
Let’s begin with the end in mind. Here is a question to get you started:
What do you want to be true of you?
Read: Psalm 15 – this psalm might give you some ideas to get started if you aren’t sure. I’d love to hear what you want to be true of you.