| A Life by Default, or A Life By Design? My Recent Life Journey
Many of us here on Active Rain recently decided to take on a challenge posed to us, based on the exercises in chapter 4 of Tom Ferry’s new book, “Life By Design”. Well, I’m almost always up for a challenge, but I knew right from the start that this one was going to be extremely difficult for me. Why? Because I’ve already been taking inventory of my thought processes, actions, habits, etc. So when posed with the question of “Are you living a life by default, or a life by design?” that alone was enough to make me start feeling anxious. So what’s the answer? Well, to determine that, we'll need to back-track a bit. (I really hope you'll actually READ this whole post, even though it's a bit long. I'm pretty sure there's something for everyone here, based on just my own life.)
First of all, my utmost goal in life is to live by GOD’S plan and purpose for me. And anyone who’s been a Christian for long can tell you, that means you’ve already chosen the more difficult path in life. And for me personally; not long ago God took a long-term vision that I’d been carrying, and changed it from a hazy, “one day I’ll do this” type of vision, to a “suddenly” crystal clear goal, with a solid outline, expectations of others who will be involved, and a deep desire for more of whatever God had in store for me. Now this vision/goal is not a replacement for my real estate career (that I'm aware of...). It’s something that’s always been a part of my life. I really can’t share any details right now, but the real lesson is in the journey anway!
So for quite some time, God has had me in the fire, IE: burning away any wrong-thinking, and changing me on the inside. He has even taken it so far as to kick out from under me, any “crutches”, on which I’d been leaning. Let me tell you, if you think you don’t have any crutches (aka: comfort zones), try asking God to remove them. And then hold on to HIM for dear life! Because that’s what He really wanted from me. He kicked out the crutches so I would FALL.... into His arms. Sounds wonderful to fall into the arms of God, doesn’t it? Well, I can assure you, the process of getting there is not so wonderful. It’s downright scary! So in order for me to BE the person I'm destined to be... in order to LIVE the “vision” He’s bringing about, He expects me to now LIVE in a place of “leaning” only on Him. I’m not allowed to have anymore comfort zones. HE is it... the only comfort zone I’m allowed to have.
If you’re still reading, some of you are probably thinking 1 or 2 things. 1) I’ve lost my mind, or 2) Why in the world would God put me in such a scary position? Well, before I briefly tell you about my exercise from Tom Ferry’s book, Let me share a little story I learned a long time ago, based on “David and Goliath”. Here it is, in a nutshell...
- The size of your enemy/obstacle is a clue to the size of your promotion. It’s not a mis-match. It’s a setup. Before God can promote you, He has to introduce an enemy/obstacle. God has custom-tailored your enemy/obstacle for you.... David never would have become King, if Goliath had been a dwarf. So don’t make God shrink your destiny... Stop asking for smaller battles, and start believing for greater victory. (No offense to any little people who may read this. I'm repeating the lesson as I heard it.)
So now you know pretty much WHO I am... or should I say “WHOSE I am?” ;-) Anyhow, as I read chapter 4 of Tom Ferry’s book, I knew I was going to choose the most difficult exercise. (I guess I’m a glutton for punishment.) As I read, I cried. I felt anxious. Then with trepidation, I called the first person on my list of 5 people to call. (I picked the easiest one first) The results were not very difficult or surprising. But I still had 4 to go. My next call was to a friend who I knew would immediately have honest answers for me. (We’re both like that) And as expected, it was the 3rd question that was the most difficult for me to take. (“What actions do you see that I do, that really don’t work for me?”) My friend didn’t tell me anything that I didn’t already know. And I’ve been working on it, but due to some physical problems, there is no black and white answer for me. Circumstances of life can sometimes create “gray areas” that keep you from drawing a line in the sand, and saying “this is it!” And that’s where his answer landed. We even discussed that. So we left it with that question, and his answer still sitting in the gray zone. So on to th 3rd person on my list... the “wild card”... the one from whom I never know what type of response I’ll get... my husband. And my biggest surprise... the answer that made me cry more than I had already been crying all day as I had been working my way through this exercise, was his quick (and much needed) response to question #1. ("What do you admire about me?") So as I sat waiting for a smart aleck response, (after asking me if he had to be serious) he quickly said “your integrity; your intelligence, and your whit”... I don’t know which happened first; the tears, or my jaw hitting the floor. This is the man with whom I joke, and play, and make snarky comments, in a marriage that nobody else understands, because only we get it. We were definitely made for each other! But needless to say, moments like these are few and far between, since we get our enjoyment from goofing off together, and being facetious whenever possible! >=)
- (His next 2 answers were predictable, and almost the same as the previous two friends.) So when I made my next call (my mother... the next wild card), I obviously had to share my husband’s answer with her, just as my husband walked through the room and tried to retract his “nice” answer o_O But I just told him he wasn’t allowed to take it back. Being nice once in a while is not only a good thing, but a requirement. Besides. he was finished with his questions. And he was DISMISSED! (LOL. Getting the picture yet?)
Anyway, most of my next couple of calls were predictable, and in-line with what I’ve already been working through with God. But surprise number 2 came from my mom, and her "mom insight", IE: 1st and 2nd anwers ran together... "I'm determined; I'm not a quitter; I accomplish what I set out to do; I'm goal-oriented; I have a heart after God; I work FOR my clients and not for myslef; and I don't complain to my clients". (Go mom!) =D
But now I’m left with the knowledge that if one chapter of Tom Ferry’s book was able to keep me in tears all day, I obviously need to read the whole thing. But I don't want to! This "process" of preparation with God has been a LONG and TIRING, internal battle, for which I'm grateful since I know the ends justify the means. I KNOW what wholeness and fulfillment feels like. And that's the path I'm walking, even when the road is rocky. (And yes, my determination stands; even with physical affliction included.) But let’s get real here. If you were me, would you want to read the whole back at this point!!? I already feel like a walking disaster area half the time!
So, now that you know what I’ve been dealing with for quite some time, and the profound impact that one chapter, in one book had on me, the question is still left to be answered. Am I living a life by default, or a life by design? Well, inside my head, where the real battle wages, it has been feeling like default. But doing this exercise, and reading this chapter, and getting astounding feedback from my closest friends and loved ones, and comparing all this to the path that I’m walking; to me it’s obvious that I am in fact, living a Life By Design!
Thank you Tom Ferry, for the clarity... but not for the agonizing day! >.<
This post is to help promote Tom Ferry's upcoming book, LIFE! By DESIGN. The contents of my post are the result of some self reflection the preview chapter of the book asks us to do about ourselves.
You can Pre-Order the book now by visiting TomFerryBook.com. You can also participate in the promotion being done by ActiveRain for a chance to win some great prizes and 2500 points by visiting the promotional post here.
Everyone that orders a copy of the book between now and April 23rd, 2010 will also receive one ticket to attend Tom's Success Summit, August 24-26th and the MP3 audio role play program: Objection Handling for Buyers, Sellers and Short Sales.
In exchange for writing this post, I could win an iPad or other cool prizes, and this is to let you know so the FTC doesn't fine me.