It’s that time again where people send each other Happy New Year E- cards on Whatsapp and Email….(which I never read by the way…if it is not a personal note or if it’s not hilarious I just don’t read it…sorry!). People are sending each other good wishes, blessings and encouragement for this fresh new year, A Clean Slate.
January is always a time where I try to stretch my thinking in order to set effective goals that will improve who I am. I am reading a couple of books, getting new images for my vision book (a book I have kept for awhile now containing pictures and notes to self of all the things I want to achieve). I am introspecting and reflecting on my ups and downs of 2013. More than anything, I don’t want to be stagnant. I don’t want to wake up one day at age 32 and realize that my 20s were a fruitless blurrrrrr! At the same time I don’t want to be so task oriented that I achieve all my goals and realize that I am out of balance because I didn’t invest in people and relationships. I must have balance. So here I am, still off from work (THANK GOD) and thinking about what I need to be thinking about.
I am not sure if it’s because of my church (Jabula New Life Covenant Church) or if it’s just my character or a bit of both, but in recent years, 5 year plans, strategic thinking and vision maps are now engrained in my DNA. I remember being 18 years old and listening to my youth pastor (Pastor Israel Phiri) reiterate on the importance of having a plan, purpose and vision for your life. Now, 8 years later it’s second nature to draft a plan highlighting the steps that I need to take to improve my mental and physical health, social life, financial standing, career and academic qualifications. Recently, I came across a really amazing app called ‘NoteLife’. It’s a very simple 80 year plan for your life! Minus the 25 years that I have lived, it gives me 55 years in which to envision an awesome future. (Honestly though, it’s a bit hard to think beyond 15 years ahead at a time though…) It even gives you percentages that you have used up. For example at age 25, if I live until 80 I have used up 31% of my life. Very sobering. Makes me want to act now on all the things I need to accomplish!
Nowadays, I gasp in horror every time I come across a person, particularly a person of my generation with no sense of purpose in their life. I certainly don’t have it all together, but at least I know that I was born for a purpose, I know that there is problem that I was created to fix and I was made to assist or somehow add value to God’s bigger vision. And on days when I forget this I am usually reminded in one way or another. Everyone has a purpose! Knowing this helps one to have a vision for their life. I feel quite sad for people who have no vision in life because usually they have somehow been robbed of their destiny. I just thank God that I had pastors, leaders, family and friends who exposed me to better ways of strategic thinking. And now I seek ways to effectively broaden my thinking so that my mental strongholds and small mindsets stop limiting me. Change doesn’t just happen, you make it happen. Dreams remain dreams until you make the necessary steps (even incy wincy baby steps) towards your goals. Having a vision, writing it down, and then forming practical goals that can be taken to pursue that vision enables one to move towards success. Additionally, having it written down helps one to stay encouraged and stay focused.
Going down memory lane, back to DX youth group 8 years ago, I remember being told that one’s purpose and destiny are connected to our natural talents at and to what makes us the most angry. So for example, if social injustice drives you up the wall, maybe you are called to bring about justice and perhaps taking strides towards the practice of law could be a simple yet powerful step towards accomplishing part of your purpose or assignment. Bishop Tudor Bismark said this. I remember him saying this on a fun Saturday afternoon in which we were instructed to come to the event dressed up as whatever it was that we wanted to become. My friends and I dressed up as lawyers, doctors, air hostesses and the like. Today it’s quite amusing to see how many of them achieved their dreams, and though some struggled a bit, they are still going into the right direction towards their goals.
Others, like me, changed gears a little bit. That day at youth group, I come dressed as a lawyer, and 5 years later I even graduated with a degree in Political Science. This was all in preparation for law school of course. However, today I find myself in the visual art scene. I don’t think that is failure on my part, I think as I grew I just realized that I have other gifts and things I want to explore. Even though I keep pursuing art, I still feel strongly about basic rights and the like and know that something will open up in the future. I just know it! So yes, plan and have a vision, but also be flexible enough to adjust where need be.
So as I write down my plan for this year, I am must remember last year’s new strengths discovered and tap into those. I need to revisit my 5 year and 10 year plans and see what simple steps that I must take this year towards those goals. I must not sacrifice my vision for other people’s visions this year. Perhaps saying no to overburdening requests that steal too much of my time might be prudent for me this year.