Here is great news for you. You can plan for a good, successful, and abundant life. Really, you can! If you are a regular reader of my posts then you know that I am a passionate follower of Christ. This week, I am going to share with you how to craft a life plan. If your life dream seems impossible to you, remember God will make a way. Today, I am going to pose a few questions, share with you how Rebekah and I wrote our first life plan, and why we were confident about it. Two important things I want to tell you upfront.
We agreed together and built our life plan based upon our faith in God’s Word as we submitted our dream to God. Second, we agreed that we would follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit as we prayed, read the Bible, and sought counsel during our lifetime.
To be forthright, I am not suggesting you must be a Christian to plan a successful life that accomplishes much. After all Jesus called a man a fool who was uber successful and ready to retire and take it easy with no thought of God in his life plans.
Therefore, I wrote “a good, successful, and abundant life” in the first paragraph. God promised a second-generation leader named Joshua “good success” if he would meditate daily upon God’s Word and apply it to his life.
A good shepherd leads his flock to green (nourishing) pastures and away from poisonous and noxious weeds. Further a good shepherd leads the flock besides still waters. There they can be refreshed and see their reflection. I encourage you to prayerfully take time to think about this.
These lyrics from Amazing Grace gripped me this morning.
“The Lord has promised good to me, His Word my hope secures; He will my shield and portion be As long as life endures.”Amazing Grace, John Newton
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)
A life plan is a blueprint. You create a blueprint for a church or a home around the vision of what you want to do within that building. Your vision shapes the plan (think house); the plan doesn’t shape your dream. If you are having trouble defining the vision, the following questions will help. You might consider hiring a coach to help you draft your life plan. When we were building a church, our architect, saved us from more than one costly disaster. He asked us great questions about what ministry would look like in our church for every age. He helped us define what we wanted, and gave us a plan that saved us money and time.
As you consider a life plan for the life you want to build, ask yourself the following questions.
- What is the purpose of life?
- What really matters in life?
- What virtues (values if you prefer) or non-negotiable for you?
- What kind of person do I want to become? This is far more important that what you do. Envision the man or woman you want to become. Think about who would eulogize you at your funeral. What would you want them to be able to say?
- When you are strolling, relaxing, or driving what do you dream about doing?
- If there were no limits, what would you want to accomplish in life? Really stretch your dream abilities here. All things are possible with God. Without Him we can do nothing.
- Where do I want to go in life?
- What do I want to accomplish?
- How do I want to be remembered?
- How will you steward the resources that are entrusted to you?
- What is the story of your life so far? Have you thought about this?
- If you were writing your life story, what memories would you include?
- What successes have you enjoyed that give you confidence?
- What painful memories have kept you from dreaming? How could those memories be reframed? Life includes lament over painful experiences. God is not the cause of the evil in our world. However, he will make us more than over-comers and bring good out of it.
- What do you see that are limitations, disabilities, memories that God could use? The apostle Paul dealt with something that he wanted God to take away from him. Instead, God gave him grace and used that something so much that Paul rejoiced.
One cold winter night after many days of prayerful conversations Rebekah and I wrote out a vision and mission for our life. Later we would call it a life plan. A few things precipitated this. We both knew God had a plan for us. We were way to busy. We were confident if we wrote down what was in our hearts we could and would achieve it. Life was so hectic that we knew we could lose the big picture. Our life plan became one of our most treasured documents in what would become a very full life. It was rudimentary but it became treasured. At that time we had never heard of doing something like this. When I shared what we had done a few people laughed. Be careful of who you share your dream with. Others encouraged us by praying and offering to help along the way.
There were so many things we wrote down that humanly speaking were impossible. We have seen God do those things that we dare dreamed. Our dreams have become bigger. Our life together has expanded. At this moment we are prayerfully adding to that plan once again. Your life plan is just the beginning if you remain faithful.
I don’t want you to think that busy was just our imagination at the time. I was 22 and she was 19. We were the youth pastors of a congregation that had agreed to purchase another congregation’s campus, there was much to be done to get our church’s campus ready to sell. We led well in our area of ministry due to wonderful volunteers that loved and encouraged us. Those responsibilities included: youth ministry, children’s ministry, bus ministry, participating in the music ministry, preaching regularly, visitation, janitorial and grounds. Additionally, my beautiful and industrious wife worked full time.
So while you are thinking about it, commit these questions to God in prayer. Now just freely begin to answer those questions. Don’t stop and edit your answers, just write it down. You can always edit later. If you get stuck go for a slow walk, listen to some music don’t stress over this. Writing a life plan is a big project best taken one step at a time.
Tomorrow how to craft a life plan. We are going to work and have fun doing this.