Picture this story:
A middle-aged man, driving in his luxury car, pulls around the corner of the street where he lives. He looks at the houses of his neighbors and thinks to himself that at some time he should probably get to know them. Actually, he thinks to himself that in some ways it’s surprising that after 20 years in this neighborhood, he would have by now.
Down the driveway he goes admiring his beautiful landscaping and thinks to himself that he has hired a quality service to handle this tedious work. As he gets out of his car and make the long walk to his really large house, which he never seems to tire of gawking at, he finds himself huffing and puffing a bit more than usual. He also notices his chest puffing out as he congratulates himself pridefully, for all the efforts he has put in: the long hours worked and the many, many business trips he has taken.
As he walks in the house, the one thing that seems the most noticeable is the silence. His wife and two children are nowhere to be seen. “Quietness”, he thinks, “is in some ways nice, but in other ways, it’s so depressing”.
So, what is the point to this story? Its this perspective about success.
After reading through this story would you say this man is successful? Some would, actually many would. Why would we say that? It’s because he drives a luxurious house, owns a large house, and uses a landscaping service.
Outwardly, this man has some very nice things. Let me be the first to say that there is nothing wrong with owning and enjoying nice things. God has given us those things to enjoy.
My point is to question this man’s perspective on their importance and what he was willing to sacrifice to get them. It’s that perspective of success that I so desperately want to keep wrestling with for myself and I would encourage you to battle along with me.
Why? Too often, we can see someone on tv that has all the wealthy merit badges of life: the nice cars, the trophy wife, the big house, etc. and something can stir in my heart: jealousy and envy. I know I have those feelings. Too quickly, I find myself trying to justify why I’m still okay with my pauper existence compared to this wealthy person I’ve just been watching and hearing about.
The issue of jealousy and envy is my own problem no one else’s. I’m needing to deal with that on a regular basis. But the focus of this post is not really about my challenges with envy, or pride, or a critique on enjoying and striving for nice things.
It’s about striving for success in one area. Whether it’s an over-emphasis on being successful at work, or at your church, or with your family, or with your personal health, my plea with you this morning is to be careful about over-emphasizing one area of your life so much that without realizing it, you inadvertently are neglecting other areas of your life.
Life is difficult. It’s really hard. You don’t need to be reminded of that, but you may need to be reminded that there are seven areas of responsibility in your life. How are you doing in each of them? When is the last time you took the time to evaluate how you’re doing?
I would like to encourage you this weekend to take just a few minutes and review these seven areas of responsibility in your life and ask two questions: “How am I doing in each specific area?” and “In what ways can I do just a little bit better?”
Oh, one last thing—you might be wondering why do this personal inventory? The simple reason is that your life impacts others in every one of these seven areas. Do you know that?
Like a person who is a sleepwalker, taking actual steps, but not even recognizing where they are going, some times, I can be living my life (and maybe you do too) where I’m doing life in certain, dazed kind of way, not even recognizing those areas of responsibility that I am tuned out of, totally neglecting….and that will cause regrets, painful ones. I want to help you avoid those.
As a way to further help you strive for excellence in all areas of your life so that you live a life without regrets, I’d like to encourage you to consider the content of this post, but also to consider downloading the Foundations Life Management app in I-Tunes, (Android calls it Foundations Life Coach) that has the red, yellow, green dashboard like above. For the price of a cup of coffee (and more significant and lasting positive consequences) from it, I believe you will be pleased that you took this minimal risk:
You can visit either the App Store (for IPhones) https://appsto.re/us/ejC7fb.I