Thursday, April 5, 2012
Making a Life-Plan, With the Rear-View Mirror in Mind
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 WAIT...you'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,