Arranging Your Life For Growth
February 1, 2011
Whether we realize it or not, many of us spend our lives as orchestra conductors. We try our hardest to make all these random pieces of life come together to make beautiful, balanced music. Yet, before we know it, the percussion misses its queue by coming in to soon, and we quickly realize they cant keep a beat. Their rhythm is off, and it causes all the other instruments to speed up: dance recital for your daughter, big proposal for the new client, picking your son up from football practice, quality time with your wife, bills that need to be paid, chores around the house, etc.
Rather than living life intentionally, most people end up responding to whatever comes their way just hoping to survive. Our lives are filled with what amounts to be distractions simply because everything else is allowed priority in our lives. We raise our kids, run our businesses and go through our lives holding our breath, crossing our fingers and hoping that somehow in the busyness of it all we will grow into reflecting Christs heart. This simply will not happen by chance.
It has been said that your life is perfectly designed to produce the results you are getting. Like a well-oiled machine it achieves the characteristics and qualities you value. The way you orchestrate your life not only reflects what is important to you, but also shapes you into the person you are becoming. It makes sense that without any modifications to the status quo that the results at the end of the year will remain the same.
The question you must ask yourself is whether or not you are satisfied with the results that you are currently achieving? If the answer is no, then it might be time to do some life rearranging. The natural, normal pace of life wont push you to spiritual formation. You will have to be intentional about creating margins for God to transform you through the lens of your one word.
The author of Psalm 119:5 knew that our natural direction was not towards God, which caused him to pray, Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! This is a prayer yearning for God to help influence the direction of his life by being intentional with the days he was given. Today is the day the Lord has given to you. What are you going to do with what you have been given pursuing wisdom and arranging your life for growth or letting life direct your steps towards busyness? The choice is yours.
During the month of February, the My One Word blog will be devoted to this idea of arranging your life to grow. In order for life change to take root, it requires you to be intentional about your posture and the way you structure your days. The first step in this process is understanding where your priorities currently lay.
Questions & Exercises for Reflection
- Over the upcoming week, write out in detail how you spent each day in a planner (sleep, school/work, family, hobbies, television, volunteering, etc.). After coming to some conclusions about what you devote your time and energy towards, spend some time journaling your reflections on the following questions: (1) What currently composes and consumes your schedule, world and life? Is your One Word getting pushed to the side even though you say it is a priority? (2) In order to make your One Word form into your character, what will a typical day need to look like?
- SPIRITUAL, PHYSICAL, MENTAL/EMOTIONAL, PROFESSIONAL, RELATIONSHIPS, FAMILY — this is a list of areas in life where you should consider establishing a discipline. Using this list, come up with a tangible way that you can exercise your One Word (i.e. spiritual – spend 15 minutes each day journaling). Establishing a discipline in these areas of your life is a practical way to begin a path towards growth using your word this year.
Are you looking for a way to keep your word in front of you all year long? Register for a My One Word account! One of the key features of a MOW account is an online Word Journal that allows you to capture your thoughts to reflective questions like you see above. You can go back at any time to read your completed journals to see how God has been moving in your life through your word in 2010. If you already have an account, the questions from this blog have been posted to your Word Journal — log in to your account to start your Word Journal today!
It’s interesting that February is a month for growth. Last weekend I found out one of my nieces whom I thought I was pretty close to went out of town to get married without even a phone call. I found out when I logged into Facebook and saw some pictures posted. She had announced at a shower the previous weekend (that I was unable to attend) that it was impromtu and anyone that wanted to go could but they were keeping it simple. My immediate reaction was one of hurt because I have always tried my hardest to always be there for my family. I posted a sarcastic comment on her FB page. Once I stepped back and started really thinking about it I realized that I wasn’t practicing or focusing on my word and I needed to grow in the area of forgiveness (my word is forgive). Even though I was very upset and hurt that no one in my family that knew what was going on even bothered to call me, I realized that this was a perfect opportunity to let it go and forgive them for their insensitivity toward other people’s feelings. I know that I have to learn to forgive myself as well as others. As soon as I could, I removed my post and have been working on forgiving that part of my family. I think I have already grown a little this month towards my goal of forgiving people like Jesus would have.
My One Word is Self-control!….. Growth & Discipline go hand in hand with it. The homework for this assignment is what im am trying to target. My time with God is what I working on first. God comes first! Which Ive not been doing. God has made arrangements for me to have the time I need to place Him where He needs to be in my life. My eyes have been opened and my heart, to hear what he has instore for me on the journey of Self-control!
Reach…Although I keep this word in my presence at least on a weekly basis, I really need to have it as a daily presence. I seem to be the most happiest when I consciously use my word and reach out to a new person and so I am intentionally going to reach out to a new person each day for the next week. (My focus will be week by week, since it seems more manageable than for the month). I want to see where and who God leads me this week to reach out to. Pray for me to reach out to those who need it the most. Thank you.
My one word is “better.” Better man, husband and father. Not devoting so much time to my work, but to family.
I have known for quite some time that my days are filled to overflowing. Thankfully, I am held accountable spiritually by my church family, and dear friends. I try to keep church and my own bible studies a priority. Some weeks though, I get to the end of the week and realize that I haven’t completed my studies each week – but I continue on instead of quiting. Strength is my word. I do need God’s strength in every area of my life: spiritually – to keep up with my studies and prayer time, physically – to get to the gym, as well as getting everything else done during the day, professionally – to cope with the stresses at work as well as dealing with shift work, in relationships – to keep God first, and with my family – to keep us together. Most of all, though, I have come to realize that I need God’s strength the most mentally and emotionally. So many times, I just feel overwhelmed with life. So often, the enemy creeps into my thoughts and feelings. So – this is where my growth needs to start. I thought long and hard about how to establish a discipline in this area. At first, I thought that if I could get all the other areas right, I would be better. Then I realized that doing all of that would just be more stressful! When I started MyOneWord this year, I wanted to become aware of each time God put a reminder of my word in front of me. This past sunday, when the scripture reading was Ps 46, “God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble”, I realized that this is the discipline that I need to continue.
My word is SHARE. God has been showing me lately that I do have a purpose even tho my kids are gone. My purpose was and still is to be an Illuminator. I’ve not always been so good at it but God says it’s time to get busy. He is showing me that every encounter has the potential for me to share him. Lots of work does God have to do yet in me.