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Ifs and Buts

January 5, 2019

Remember when I asked you that question last time?  If you had a magic wand, what one thing in your life would you wave it over to change?

It would have been easy to think you’d think about it and do something with it, and then get all caught up with life as it was coming at you at the speed of sound.  I get that.  So if you didn’t get to think about it, take a couple of minutes right now and think about it.

What was the one change you thought of?  What was your picture?

If I was an artist, I wouldn’t use words for this picture.  I’d paint a picture of it or write a song about it.  But I’m not a song-writer or a painter, so I have to use words.  If you’re an artist or a song-writer, you should write a song or paint a picture.  Or just use words.  The point is make the picture vivid.  The more vivid it is, the more powerful it will be, and the longer it will be powerful.  That’s how your brain works.

That’s all I wanted you to do with this for a couple of days, so you brain would have a chance to wrap itself around it.

Now that you’ve got your destination in mind, you can start making plans for getting there.  Now you can start asking, “What will it take to get there?”  At this point, don’t be too concerned about getting everything in order.  Just think about as many things as you can that would (or might) help you move toward your destination.

A technique for this is to write each of the things you think of that would go into your plan for getting to your destination on its own sticky note.  You’ll have a lot of individual sticky notes, not one with a lot of bullet points on it.  Then when you’ve got a bunch of them, you can move them around to put them in an order that makes sense to you.  It sounds silly, maybe, but it works.  Once you have the sticky notes in the order you want them in, you can transfer it all into a document that will be your plan.

I left a step out.  Back when you were thinking about the magic wand and the one change, there’s one big thing that needs to get into the mix.  ASK GOD FOR HIS INPUT.  There’s no formula for this, and one prayer is no better for it than another.  Just ask God to help you think of the best one thing.  You’ll need his leadership all the way through this process if it’s going to work.  And when you partner with Him, it will.

Now’s a good time to bring other people into the process.  It takes courage, and you need to ask the right people (don’t ask your number one critic in on this), but you can set yourself up for making it to your destination by sharing it with someone.  Or with more than one someone.  Like maybe your family.  Or if that’s not a safe place yet, share it with a person you know you’re safe with.  Share both your picture and your plan.  Ask them if they can think of anything more on the plan side of things that you may have missed.  But don’t ask them for their permission to pursue this.  You’re not asking for permission.  You’re sharing a dream, a goal.  If you’ve asked the right person, you’re asking for support as you move toward your goal.  (By the way, I’m going with the idea that you’ll ask the right person.)

Now you’re ready to get boots on the ground, to start working on moving forward.  Put your list where you’ll see it every day.  Put it where it will get in your way.  My place for that won’t be the same as your place for it.  But you want it to get in your way, because you want to make sure it stays front and center in your noisy life in the real world.  There’s a whole lot that will just naturally get in the way of you pursuing this goal.  Making sure it stays in your field of vision is essential.

In an ideal world, the best way to do this is to start every day focusing on the next thing on your plan, the next thing you’ll have to do to make forward progress.  Not the next 3 things.  Just the next thing.  At the start, it’ll be the first thing on your list.  Once you get that one done, mark a line through it and move to the next thing.

And then, last thing before you lay down to sleep at the end of the day, look at the list and your picture of the done deal.  You won’t get one thing per day done on your plan, so don’t expect to be able to mark something off every day.  Some things will take many days.  That’s why you need to look at the plan and the picture all the time.

That would be in an ideal world.  But you don’t live in an ideal world.  You live in a world of barking dogs, crying kids, dirty diapers, broken appliances, bills, telemarketers and about a hundred other things that will keep you from applying any substantial time and energy to your dream.  The universe isn’t likely to cooperate with you.  Sorry.

So can you see why it’s essential to keep your plan and picture where it gets in your way?  It’s not a guarantee, but it will expand your odds.  And really, from a merely human perspective, that’s the best you can do.

Here’s some good news, though.  It’s not from a merely human perspective.  Remember that step I left out?  The one about asking God for His input?  That’s a prayer He wants to answer.  He wants to give you all you need to pursue a noble dream for a truly better life, of a truly better marriage, family, career, relationship.  He’s not so interested in just making your life more comfortable or simply easy.  But if you’re in it for the truly better, He’s in it with you.



From → Marriage

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