I have re-started Rick Warren's one-year devotional, Decade of Destiny, and I find that the questions he poses in these first two messages coincide perfectly with this particular stage in my life.
Rick uses Genesis 24 as his scripture reference - the story of Abraham and Sarah and the birth of their son Isaac. At this time in my life I find this story inspirational, as Abraham was 100 years old when his son was born. He had dreamed of a family his entire life, but God's timing took a bit longer than Abraham had anticipated. I am only half Abraham's age - so I am confident that God must still have some significant accomplishments for me as well. This brings a smile to my face and gives me hope for my own future.
Rick first states that in order for us to move forward, we must develop focus. And to help us develop that focus gives two questions to ponder:
- Where am I now? Where am I spiritually, financially, emotionally, relationally, physically, and occupationally?
- In all those areas identified, what would I like to change?
Believe me, these questions are easier to read than they are to address. What I have discovered since last year's answers to the same questions is that I have indeed grown and matured and started a path toward change. I have a long ways to go, but it is nice to know that I have indeed progressed. And it is nice to know that I have an idea of where I hope to be next year - and the year after that.
The second list of questions are a bit more specific because Rick states that the more specific the goal, the more power it has in your life. This concept was reinforced for me this week when a segment on the local news focused on New Year's Resolutions. The "expert" stated that vague goals such as, I want to lose weight, do not have the success rate as much as specific goals such as, I want to lose ten pounds in three months.
So Rick provides four questions to help us quantify our goals in life:
- What do I want to be?
- What do I want to do?
- What do I want to have?
- Why do I want it?
While the first three questions are not easy, it is the final question - the WHY - that can stump us. And yet if we do not know the why - if we do not understand our motivation behind these goals, then they become nothing more than wishful dreams that never come true.
Interestingly enough, Rick closes this particular exercise by asking us not to question HOW. And for the pragmatic folks out there like myself, that is difficult. But his reasoning is sound. We may not know "how" yet --- but if we focus on what we don't know, we will give up before we even start. Rick maintains that if we know the what - and we know the why - and we know that these are in line with God's will for our life ---- then we can trust that God will reveal the how in due time.