Does this describe you? You wake up, step into life’s rushing river, and then drag yourself out at the end of the day. Sometimes you are able to check tasks off a to-do list, and sometimes you consider yourself lucky if you can get through the day without being completely overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done.
We all struggle to align our weeks with our deepest priorities, but it is not easy. Other folks’ urgencies and emergencies threaten to pull us off mission and make us spend our energies in ways we would not choose.
But it is possible to create a life that is intentional and aligned with your deepest priorities. You can focus on the things that are of highest importance and not just what is most pressing.
Establishing Your Mission
You cannot live an intentional life until you have taken the time to define what your best life looks like. You should be able to sum up who you are and what is most important to you in a sentence or two.
Most people have never bothered to ask themselves about their highest priorities. Thinking through what is most important to you gives you a real leg up on everyone else, but when you actually document the process, you are on the road to transformation.
Crafting a Personal Mission Statement
You have probably heard of a mission statement. It is a simple declaration communicating what you value and who you aspire to be. Creating one is a relatively simple yet helpful exercise.
Start by asking yourself these five questions:
- When I think about five people that I know and admire, what three traits do I appreciate the most?
- What are three things that the ideal me would regularly do?
- What are three things that I would like people to say about me at my funeral?
- If I was at my healthiest spiritually, physically, socially, and mentally, how would I express myself daily?
- What talents or skills do I have that I could expand and grow?
From these questions, you should be able to craft a simple paragraph that defines your priorities and your goals.
An example might be:
It is my mission to serve God by participating in my community and pointing others to Christ. I strive to be patient, kind, and empathetic and look for tangible ways that I can serve others in need. I grow in grace by practicing daily disciplines like Bible reading, prayer, and generosity, and I invest my time mentoring and developing others.
Working Out Your Mission
Creating a mission is only step one—now you have to commit to it. Once you have crafted a document that states your goal, you need to create a roadmap that will get you there. You do this by taking control of your day.
You cannot live an intentional life until you have taken the time to define what your best life looks like.
The goal is to stop letting life happen to you but strive to ensure that your day includes elements that will move you closer to your mission. You can do this in any number of ways that best serve your lifestyle, but here is a simple template to get you started:
- On Monday schedule some appointments to do the things that are important to you. (For example, if mentoring is important to you, make sure that you have planned some meetings and pre-meeting readings that are important to make that a reality.) If there are daily disciplines you need to include, make sure they are scheduled too.
- When you wake up, look at your schedule and make sure you know what is expected of you for the day.
- Before you go to bed, spend some time looking at how your day went. Where did it get away from you? Where were you successful? Was there a point when you were just wasting time? How can you improve on that tomorrow?
- On Saturday ask yourself how your week went. Are there tasks or responsibilities that are taking up too much of your time? Do you need to say no to some things?
When your schedule is managed with a mind toward your highest aspirations and goals, you have a better chance of controlling your day instead of being controlled by it.
Pursuing Jesus by Living Intentionally
We will never become Christ's good and faithful servants on accident. In a world so full of distractions and imperatives, it is harder and harder to create lives that have a significant impact if we are not incredibly intentional about doing so.
Creating a mission statement and using it to guide us daily empowers us to make the best decisions for Christ, ourselves, and the people around us.
One of the most powerful ways we can live out that mission is by leaving a legacy for the next generation, teaching them about giving back and being a steward for God's Kingdom. Find out 6 Ways to Leave a Legacy of Stewardship.