As promised, each week I will dedicate one or two blog posts to the idea of “Living on Purpose, not by Accident.” Why? Because we all end up somewhere, but few people end up somewhere on purpose.”
Imagine this scene. You’re in a big church sanctuary about to attend one of the most important occasions in your life. You’re surrounded by hundreds of people that you know well – family, friends, colleagues, neighbors – anyone who you consider an important part of your life. The church is packed but there’s no talking – only sounds of sniffling. There’s a big box in the front and everyone seems to be focused on that box. You know what’s in the box right???
YOU! This is your funeral and it’s about to begin. Here’s the question you need to answer today while you still can: WHAT DO YOU THINK PEOPLE WILL SAY ABOUT YOU?
What will your spouse say? What will your parents say? What will your friends say? What will your neighbors or co-workers say? What do you want them to say? How about God Himself – the True Judge – what do you think He’d want to say at the end of your life?
I know that isn’t the most pleasant thought to start your day with, but it’s something that needs to be addressed. I don’t know much about a lot of things, but if there’s one thing I do know it’s that you are going to get to that day and you better be ready for it. We spend a countless amount of time and energy preparing for all kinds of things that will never happen (like me still holding on to the dream that one day an NBA team will realize that I have what it takes to play at a professional level – you laugh but I already have my agent picked out and I know which company I will sign a sneaker deal with. Just wait and see!).
The point is that we prepare for so many things that will never happen but here is something that I guarantee will happen and yet we shy away from thinking about it. Is that a wise way to live?
The goal of this exercise – which by the way I got from Stephen Covey’s famous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – is that it forces you to think of what matters most in your life and prepare a plan to accomplish it.
What do you want your daughter to say about her daddy?
What do you want your best friend to say the kind of friend you were?
What do you want the members of your church to say about you?
What do you want the random people who sat behind you in traffic to say about you?
The idea isn’t to live to please others. In the end, what people say is insignificant – all that matters is what God says. But the idea is to live intentionally with a goal in mind. If my goal is to be a good father to my daughter, then it isn’t enough to just hope that I get there one day. I must ask myself “what am I doing today that is getting me closer to my goal?”
If my goal is to be a kind and generous person, then what am I doing today that is getting me closer to that goal? If my goal is to be growing in the knowledge and grace of God, what am I doing to get me there?
This applies to everything in your life. What are you doing to get you closer to the goals that you say are important? Remember, everyone ends up somewhere but few end up somewhere on purpose.
We need to begin thinking of what goals we want to achieve in life and then make a plan to get there – not just career goals and financial goals, but LIFE GOALS. And once we have those goals in place, we need to have a plan to try to get us there.
But don’t start with the plan until you’ve first set the goal! That is the point of this exercise. It makes you examine what’s really important and what you really want to accomplish in the days and years that God gives you on earth.
“LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days” Psalm 39:4
Discussion: What other exercises or strategies can you recommend to help in setting life goals?