Its hard to believe, another Summer is nearly over. Time just seems to move along so quickly.
Those of you who are goal-oriented individuals, you know who you are, you are going to relate well to this post. You are the type of person that will see a problem that needs attention and quickly a picture will develop in your mind so that you get a vision of bringing solutions to resolve the issue.
Once your mind sees the finish line, the bread crumbs of steps seems to materialize in your brain, so that a road map occurs that lines up what mini-goals you need to accomplish, in order to complete the end goal. The world needs people like you to provide leadership.
In addition to receiving the vision of how to get things done, the goal-oriented individual is energized by checking off each mini-goal along the way. endorphins in the brain produce happy feelings.
I share this description of a goal-oriented person from personal experience. I am a goal-oriented person. If this describes you, as well, let me give you a caution though that you will battle, as I do too, all the time.
Let me illustrate my point in all this by having you think of a couple of dancing. They are enjoying the music. They are enjoying each other. They know how to dance, so they are comfortable as they glide in unity across the dance floor. It’s a beautiful, romantic vision of two people in the moment.
This dancing scene describes well the person bent on living with goals. They embrace their goals. They live with them always on their mind. They glide through life having direction for where they will move and how they will move. Life, like the music at the dance hall has a rhythm to it and they enjoy their dance with their “having goals” partner. Can you relate to that?
BUT, ….. what happens when you get tapped on the shoulder, and someone says to you, “Excuse me, can I cut in with your partner for this dance?”
NOW YOUR PLANS HAVE CHANGED. THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU EXPECTED. WHAT WILL YOU DO NOW? HOW SHOULD YOU FEEL ABOUT WHAT JUST HAPPENED? DID YOU DO SOMETHING WRONG? IS THIS A THREAT? WHAT WILL YOU DO NOW THAT YOUR EMBRACING YOUR GOALS HAS BEEN TEMPORARILY SET ASIDE?
Can you relate to the change in the mindset of the person whose plans were just changed without his permission?
I think this is how life is. We have our goals in how we want to live our life. We feel comfortable being in control of our movements and our abilities, but then, as so often happens, things change in our life. New, unexpected things happen in our circumstances that break up the way we were dancing through life. At least for the moment, we are asked to deal with a new circumstance.
How can you deal with that? Here are a few suggestions:
- recognize that this is a common experience for us all. As much as we hate to admit it, we are not in control in our lives. We can’t control the weather or how other people will respond to us, or the unexpected health situation, etc. However, we can control how we will react in every circumstance in our lives.
- I don’t know of anyone who does not like to be in control, so how do you handle that feeling of insecurity that comes when life happens to you and your plans for living life get interrupted? Understand that God is faithful. He will not allow you to be overcome by ANYTHING that He will not help you endure through. Count on it. Although the way of healing or calm might not be a quick fix, He will be there with you every step of the way and give you His amazing grace to help you persevere. There is always hope!
- recognize the opportunities that come with being stretched. I believe over the years, regrettably, I have missed out on many opportunities for personal growth, and the chance to help someone in need around me, but because I so firmly had my “goal-focused” glasses on, all I could think of was myself. My obsession with meeting my own goals blinded me to many missed opportunities around me. Maybe your new circumstances might just be a good thing—embrace it!
- So, although I totally believe having goals is vital to personal and organizational success, I am also beginning to recognize that when the unexpected happens in life (like someone wanting to cut in and dance with my partner), I need to ask questions like, “what can I learn from this new development?” or “how can I take advantage of this new situation to enjoy and benefit from it?” or “Lord, what are you trying to teach me through these new circumstances in my life?”
That’s it for now. I delayed getting some things done this morning to write this post, so now I’m back to dancing with my goals partner! 🙂
Many of the posts I write about have to do with perspective. I believe its because of the perspective we have on things that cause us to act like we do. One of my favorite things are M&M’s. When I see a bowl of M&M’s, I know that as soon as I scoop up my first handful, a smile will come to my taste buds and I will feel happier. That’s weird to say that, huh? (although I’m sure you can probably relate).
However, like eating one potato chip (I don’t think its possible), one handful of M&M’s is nearly impossible for me to do.
I think one scoop will satisfy, but it won’t. So, I take another one, and another. Pretty soon, my happy feelings turn into a kind of yucky feeling.
I think life is like that. We all face so many choices throughout our days and its the wisdom of our perspective that makes all the difference between having a deep feeling of contentment, or “need for more attitude that leads to yuckiness”.
Recently, I was reminded of this “perspective in our choices” kind of issue after reading Brad Bigney’s excellent book, “Gospel Treason”. Here are a few notes from it that I took:
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
Are you desperate for some guidance to help you find hope in your present difficult circumstances?
Are you open to receiving encouragement and support from others?
If so, I would like to invite you to join us this Fall for a life-changing 13 week ministry called HOPE GROUP.
We’ll meet Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m., starting September 13th, at Harvest Bible Chapel on Randall Road in Elgin.
Let me encourage you to take a step of faith to finding hope. THINGS CAN CHANGE!
For more information, about Harvest Bible Chapel’s Hope Group ministry at their Elgin campus, please check out the link!
http://www.harvestbiblechapel.org/event/summerhopegroupselgin/ (as an fyi, our Fall registration link is not up quite yet, but will be shortly—bookmark this link).
Harvest Bible Chapel- Love without condition …Forgive without limit >>>>>>>This is what we do!