The Planning Paradigm Shift
A Paradigm Shift
Last summer, my sister invited me to join her for a week away from everything and everyone, hiking in the desert. It sounded great. We both needed to slow down, take some time to reflect on our lives, clear our heads, gain perspective, get energized. We were convinced we would come back rejuvenated and more productive! We called it our recalibration!
We flew into Salt Lake City, then drove to the desert. We were on top of the world, driving a convertible with the top down and the wind in our hair. It was just like in the movies. What a wonderful sense of adventure. We chatted the entire way. I drove, she took notes. We were on a mission, taking charge of our lives.
The desert was nothing short of magnificent. Every morning we filled our camel backs with water, packed a few snacks and headed out. We hiked trails and climbed rocks. We marveled at God’s creation and soaked in His presence. It was invigorating. We were taking on the world.
Each day we chose a different area of life for full examination. Day 1 – Career. Day 2 – Health/Fitness. Day 3 – Faith. Day 4 - Finances. As our bodies were challenged by the heat and terrain, we challenged our minds and hearts to dig deep into the various areas of our life. We started each day with a current assessment of our day’s focus. Were we successful, satisfied, happy, frustrated, struggling? For afternoon, we moved onto goals and ambitions, what we hoped for. At the end of each day, we recorded our learnings, sat back and smiled at a job well done. We were going home with our lives all sorted out and a plan for our future. We were more than conquerors.
When I returned home, I was determined to keep up the momentum. A vision boards seemed the perfect next step for recalibration. It was also a great way to get my husband involved. It would be a fun project for us to do together.
We bought a large cork board and set it on a chair in the dining room. Next, we gathered magazines. Since we don’t subscribe to any magazines, the assortment was somewhat limited. We had a couple of Joyce Meyer magazines, a lifestyle publication from our realtor, some old Good Housekeeping, Shape and several Anthropologie catalogs. Snip, snip, snip, we came up with all kinds of images and phrases to illustrate our vision. We had a mountain cabin, people kayaking & skiing, pictures of family and the great outdoors. Being very creative, we used a goose sitting on a bowl of golden eggs to represent financial security. We added key words and phrases to express various sentiments we hoped would describe our future like LEAD and CONFIDENCE. We worked on the project for several days, until we felt it was as complete as possible. Then, we stepped away and went back to our daily routine.
Over the next couple of weeks, I occasionally stopped and just stared at our vision board.
Something seemed to be missing. For some reason, it didn’t motivate me. I wrestled with it.
I thought the vision board would be inspiring. Instead it was kind of disappointing. I couldn’t figure it out. I began to feel a sense of defeat, like all this planning was fruitless and stupid.
Don’t get me wrong, our vision board had success and the good life written all over it. It wasn’t self-focused, but still there was something in my heart that wasn’t in agreement with it.
Quietly, the Holy Spirit revealed what was troubling me. It should be God’s vision for our life, not ours. Wow!
Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Our role isn’t to create the vision, but to follow His direction to experience His vision for our life.
God instructs us to live a spirit filled life, bearing much fruit! This way He will be known.
The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Forget the vision board, focus on living in the Spirit and bearing spiritual fruit. This is life!
More excited than ever, my sister and I started thinking; how can we be more intentional about growing spiritual fruit? Then it hit us; plan it. The goal is already defined. Focus on one spiritual fruit at a time. Record and track efforts with results daily.
I called a friend of mine, who is a man of God and an esteemed businessman. I asked if he used a planner of some sort. Did he plan activities or goals? He was a little surprised by the question and admitted He only planned and recorded activities. I explained our idea of designing a planner with a Spirit filled life as the goal, focused on producing spiritual fruit. Each month would focus on a specific fruit. Guided by the Holy Spirit, activities for planting, cultivating and growing Spiritual Fruit would be mapped out and tracked daily.
He had never heard of such a thing and thought it was a very different way of thinking and responding to God’s direction for living a Spirit Filled Life. After some thought, He declared, “That’s a paradigm shift.” He was right.
Thank you for loving us so much that you will send your Holy Spirit to guide us and help us live your vision for our life.
Join us in the garden,
Leann and Julie