You are writing your life story each and every day. Like it or not, the things you do leave an indelible mark on the world. I believe it helps to have an idea of what kind of story we are writing. Goals and visions help to keep us on task, to order our priorities and to keep us from being sidetracked with insignificant time-wasters. Knowing how we want our story to end will help us to write truer “inscriptions” along the way.
This is not a new concept; in fact, this week I listened to an interview with popular leadership guru Robin Sharma, who has established a powerful principle for his life. He calls it his “Top 5.” He asked himself, “What five things need to happen between tomorrow and the end of my life for me to feel I lived an extraordinary life?”
From that one question, Robin created his top 5 life priorities, and now uses them to guide all his decisions and actions. Not a bad idea, and it’s even a biblical concept (see Habakkuk 2:2 and Proverbs 29:18 for examples). You may have heard of others who have created “Vision Boards” or personal mission statements to the same effect.
I believe we can subscribe to this idea, with just one caveat: we’ve got to include God in the process. The world’s idea of success is to follow your dreams, pursue your passions, and (hopefully) make a lot of money in the process. Any 5 priorities are fine, as long as they serve your purpose.
We are here, however, to serve God’s extraordinary purposes, not just our own! In God’s “leadership materials” (the books of the Bible), He has given us thousands of free tips on how to live an extraordinary life as we advance His kingdom. We are guaranteed success, if we seek Him first to find out what His priorities are.
Success could look like the restoration of a marriage or the relocation of a refugee. It might be the sharing of your testimony which leads others to salvation. It can include starting your own business from scratch so that you can support your family or fund kingdom ministries. For some, it might look like having the patience to care for an elderly parent or disabled child for as long as they are with you.
The definition of success doesn’t matter; what matters is that you take the time to create your “Top 5” in agreement with God. Through prayer and your circumstances, He will give you an idea of what you are here to do, and you can shape and refine it as you grow and see things more clearly.
My Top 5
For example, one of my “Top 5” goals for an extraordinary life includes increasing in my knowledge and love of God. Practically, this means that on a daily basis, I invest time in reading His Word and talking with Him. A secondary goal is to leave a legacy of love for the Lord, and I do this partly through writing. It is my hope that by publicly sharing an authentic relationship with the Lord, failures and all, others will be inspired to know Him, too.
God wants us to create extraordinary inscriptions in our world, as He has done for us. The legacies we leave may not be as eye-catching as the huge fortune of Bill Gates or the amazing technological advances of Steve Jobs. Nevertheless, like George Bailey in the classic movie,“It’s A Wonderful Life,” if you did not exist, your town might look completely different. Your family might struggle unnecessarily. And the lives of many others would not be enriched because of who you are.
What kind of inscriptions are you creating with your life today?
Have you asked God to help you define your “Top 5” priorities for an extraordinary life?
c. Deborah Perkins, 2014
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.