Last Monday I posted a question that led you to consider where you envision yourself in 3 years. Typically, when people envision their future, they imagine things will be different than they are in the present. Not necessarily in all ways, but at least in some ways. Depending on how much of your life you see as currently being on track, your vision may range from slightly different to drastically different than your present reality.
Let’s assume for a moment that there are at least 2 or 3 things that you hope will be different, or improved 3 years from now. My question for you today is, “What are you doing to make that happen?” What steps are you taking to move in that direction? Let’s say, for example, that 3 years from now you hope to be debt-free. If you continue to live each day, each week, each month, and each year the way you currently live, will you have made your vision a reality in 3 years? It may be that your answer is yes. You are currently making more money than you spend, and diligently paying off your debt, and can see a date in the future when you will have conquered that debt. But if you are currently in debt, are earning less than you spend each month, and are making no changes to your situation, then your vision of a debt free 2017 is quite unlikely to materialize.
Or maybe 3 years from now you envision yourself healthy and fit. Are you currently making healthy choices? Do you take care of yourself and workout? If your answer is no, and health is part of your future vision, then what changes are you going to make to take your health in a different direction? Do you envision yourself in a meaningful marriage relationship years down the road? Are you currently make time with your spouse a priority? Do you see yourself committed to Jesus and the church and growing spiritually? Are you presently fostering habits of prayer and reading God’s Word and worshiping with a local church community? Do you have hopes that 3 years from now your children will be well grounded in their faith and discovering their strengths and passions? Are you currently investing time in relationship and intentionally teaching them the life lessons you believe they will need? Whatever your vision includes, it will only ever remain an unattainable hope if you don’t take steps now to move toward it.
We’ve probably all heard the quote attributed to Einstein that says, “The definition of insanity is repeating the same behaviors and expecting a different outcome.” If we never take the time to make the connection between what we envision for our future and what we are currently doing, we will likely end up somewhere very different than we’d hoped. Our preferred future will only come to pass if we work at it. Of course, life happens, and many things may come up along the way that prevent you from reaching your vision. There is no guarantee that you will achieve the things you plan for. But, you can certainly guarantee that you won’t reach it if you do nothing.
One warning about today’s musing: do not put this off! We can easily be deceived into thinking that there is a time coming when we won’t feel so busy or stressed. Before I had kids I used to think that I’d have so much more time to focus on my personal goals when I was staying at home and not working. Please pick yourself up off the floor and stop laughing at me. I know! What can I say? I was naive. But then I had small kids and thought I’d have more time and energy when my kids went into preschool. That mysteriously did not happen. Then I thought, perhaps when they are both a bit older? I’m sure there are people in my life stage who think they’ll have more time for personal goals when their kids are teenagers. Or when the kids move out. Or maybe when this really busy time at work comes to a close. Or when this family member is not needing so much attention. Or when this school work is finished. Or in the summer. Or in the winter. Or in a house. Or with a mouse. Or in a boat. Or with a goat. Seriously, you need to know that there is no magical time coming when you will feel less busy, or believe the time is just right to really capture a vision, set some goals, and make some changes. The only time is right now. You can either make changes to work toward the kind of life you feel called to live, or you can let life pull you in whatever direction it sees fit. You can get intentional about where you want your life to go, or drift along wherever circumstances take you. It’s totally up to you. Everyone on the planet is given the same amount of time in their day. Many have greater responsibilities than you do. Don’t make excuses for yourself. Make changes! Decide where you want to go and figure out what steps you need to take to get there. Next week we’ll talk about how to take those steps.