Thursday, April 5, 2012

Making a Life-Plan, With the Rear-View Mirror in Mind

I've been making more visits to blog-world lately, albeit surreptitiously! I've enjoyed getting a wee bit caught up with those of my blogging friends who don't FB much.  And I've enjoyed just the good sharing and writing. I've even written some myself.  Alas, they remain in the draft folder.  Just not quite out of the funk enough to feel comfortable posting the things I've written. But I'm gonna give it the 'ol college try today! :)

Last weekend was a really special and meaningful for time for my husband and me.  We arranged to leave the kiddos with my parents for Friday night and Saturday, and we set aside time to focus on communication, prayer, and long-term planning for our family.  Derek had found this wonderful tool, an e-book by author Michael Hyatt on creating a personal life-plan.  We tweaked it a bit, to fit creating a Family Life-Plan.  We spent hours working on it.  Reading, thinking, writing, dreaming.  I thought I'd share just a bit of the overall information. 

Mr. Hyatt refers to 8 areas of our lives as "accounts"...places where we are regularly making withdrawals and/or deposits of our time, energy, affection, etc.  These 8 areas are: God, Self, Spouse, Children, Parents, Friends, Career, and Ministry. 

Here's how it works:  For each account, you write a purpose statement, an Envisioned Reality (this is your ideal standard of how this account should function); a Current Reality (this is a brutally honest assessment of what the truth is versus how you envision it should be);  and Specific Commitments (these are clearly defined steps that you intend to take to bring the vision and reality closer together. 

As you begin this process, Mr. Hyatt asks you to imagine that you are attending a very prestigious event in your life.  You imagine that all the people you love and care about are there.  The music is playing.  There are heavy gold drapes...a long aisle...and're there too...but you're in a box at the front.  It is your funeral.  He asks you to think about what you want people to say about you.  When I first read this part, I poo-pooed it, because in my experience with death (I have a lot), it just seems like it doesn't matter who you were, how you lived, or what you did.  When you die, everybody talks about you like you were a saint.  It's all rose-colored glasses at that point.  But I soon abandoned my skepticism of the exercise, because it led to something very deep and powerful.  I was asked to write out for each person in my life how I want to be remembered by them specifically.  Writing about yourself in the past tense and trying to sum up your most deeply-held desires in a paragraph is an emotional epiphany!  As Derek and I wrote our personal ones for each other and then shared them with each other, it was very tender and tear-jerking.  Really helps you trim away so many things and realize where you need to expend your energy in order to achieve that remembrance. 

Before I close, I thought I would just share one of mine, that I wrote down for the category of Friendship.  The faces of beloved friends came one by one to my mind as I wrote this, and I hope that I live my life so that they can honestly and without reservation remember me this way: "I want my friends to know that I loved them.  That I appreciated them, and that my life was so much richer for the joy of their friendship.  I want them to know that I was loyal to them, and that I would have with-held nothing that they needed that was in my power to give.  I want them to remember laughter, and multiplied 'guess you had to be there' moments.  I want them to remember precious moments in time that we consciously chose to make a priority.  I want them to know that they could trust me. I want them to feel that I reflected God's love for them.  I want them to remember me as a person who loved BIG, and who didn't wait till it was too late to say what was in my heart."

See what I mean?  Whew! It's a challenge to live well, isn't it?

Blessings and peace,



Anonymous said...

I love what you wrote about friends. I feel the same way, but certainly couldn't articulate it like you did. Thank you for saying what I was thinking.

Sonja said...

Beautiful and powerful words, my friend. God help me to live well, and leave an intentional legacy.

BTW, I think you're doing a great job of communicating those sentiments to your friends. I for one believe every word. Much love!

Kimberly said...

awww....that brought tears to my eyes, friend! and made me wish we were living life closer together! you definitely "say" what needs saying...and i appreciate that so much about you!

sounds like a good exercise and valuable for your family!

(personally, it makes me anxious just to think about doing; probably because i feel like i have so little actual "choice" in my life!! and yet, i can and do choose what kind of person i want to be in it all...and must leave the rest in God's hands, i guess...)

Charity said...

Thrilled to see you back in the blogosphere- bring out those drafts ;o) And good thoughts on living intentionally. There is always too much reactionary living in my life to suit me. Great thoughts on friendship, too. I'll share with Nathan. Perhaps it won't quite bring tears to his eyes (if it does, I'll definitely let you know- ;o), but he'll like it.

sarahmfry said...

I love the family life plan ideas. It helps us so much to live purposefully if we actually take the time to articulate exactly what it is we're aiming for! I want to look up this author.

Juwah said...

Loved this post friend. And might I add, you are living the words you hope to least you are to this friend. :)

Tara said...

I'm so glad you found this post helpful! Thanks for all your sweet comments. I'm encouraged to think I'm not utterly failing in this area! Love to all!