A little while back I was browsing Michael Hyatt’s blog and I stumbled across one of his most popular pages. I have never encountered someone as crazy intentional as Hyatt. He plans every 30 minutes of his day. He literally plans his life and then he has an official review process to see how ‘on track’ he is. Wow.
Now, you may think that’s crazy, but here’s what I’ve started to notice about life: it goes fast. Really. Has anyone else noticed that it’s April? In the year 2011?? Life seems to just keep gaining more and more speed.
I was in cardio kickboxing last week when the instructor, in a desperate attempt to motivate the wheezing crowd, yelled out: ‘You are not going to just wake up tomorrow and have the body you want!’.
The lady isn’t wrong. We sometimes live as if just ‘wanting’ something to happen means it will. We behave as if we’ll just wake up tomorrow and be godly. We want godliness to happen, so we assume it will. But I don’t know anyone like that. I don’t know anyone who has just woken up one day with a healthy balance of ministry, family and mission.
I know far more people who are so consumed by work or ministry that they have neglected family; or those who have served family but at the expense of mission. I know some who are so consumed with self that they have neglected God. And none of them wanted that. None of them planned that. None of them sat down five years ago and thought – you know what I want? I want my priorities to be all out of whack!
So what happened? The urgent trumped the important, that’s what happened
No one wakes up and thinks that it doesn’t matter if they spend quality time with their spouse this month. People wake up in the morning thinking – I need to spend time with my spouse – but events of the day come along. It turns out to be a busier week than they expected. Work is a little crazier than normal, so they let ‘date night’ slide. They let the ‘urgent’ or ‘immediate’ demands trump those things that are really important.
No one begins a new year thinking this is the year they’ll stop reading the Bible. But days come along where life is just a little more hectic and they begin to neglect the important for the urgent. They convince themselves that it’s just today, just this week, just this season. Then they somehow wake up a year later and the Bible has become a burden.
We have to plan to put the important above the urgent.
Wanting something to be a priority and making it a priority are two different things. We have to recognize the important and then we have to elevate it above the ‘urgent’.
Ringing in my ears as I watch tv and waste my week is the exhortation from 2 Peter to ‘make every effort’ to grow in qualities like brotherly affection and godliness and steadfastness and knowledge and self-control and love.
Make every effort. I don’t even know what that would look like in my life. It might just be the difference between wanting those things to be a priority and making those things a priority, even if it comes at a cost.
That’s why I love the idea of a ‘life plan’. I know it sounds so ‘un-organic’. I get that.
I want my life to be a balanced display of those qualities. I want to use every sphere of my world to live those things out. I want it to happen organically. I want mission to be an overflow of my identity. I want my relationship with God to be spontaneous. I want my interaction with my friends to simply be us doing life together. I don’t want to have to ‘plan’ to be godly. It seems so ridiculous.
But the reality is that this godly life I long for hasn’t yet just ‘happened’ for me. It hasn’t just ‘happened’ for anyone I know and maybe that’s why Peter instructs us to ‘make every effort’ to pursue it.
We will always neglect the important for the urgent unless we stop wanting something to be a priority and make it a priority. I’m hoping that making a life plan will help me reset my focus; I want to make sure I am actually spending myself on the important, the things that really matter.
I encourage you to do it with me! I don’t honestly know how helpful it will be, but one thing I know for sure: it’s not going to be bad for any of us to spend some time praying and reflecting on what priorities we want to spend our lives on and evaluating if we’re actually doing that.
Here’s my life plan process, inspired by Hyatt:
1. Make a list of the top priories in your life.
2. For each priority consider these questions:
- Pray and ask God for clarity. What are some key scriptures that let you know what ‘success’ would look like in this area?
- Write down an honest reflection on what this currently looks like in your life. How much time do you spend on this area? Where is it healthy? Where is it lacking? Ask friends to speak into this if you’re unsure!
- What are your goals? What are some really practical things you want to commit to doing to make this area more healthy. Again, remember – it’s not just going to happen. What are some steps you can take to pursue what you want?
If this sounds confusing, don’t panic! I’ll share my life plan with you over the next couple of days to offer clarity on what I’m talking about.
Do you have any kind of life plan? Tell us about how it works!