Most people don’t believe the title of this post is true of their lives. In response they will rattle off all of the unrealized dreams and goals they had for themselves. They might talk about the weight they wanted to loose, how they hoped to be out of debt, the promotion they did not get, or the business they failed to start. In hindsight, they see a long list of failures and in those failures, find great dissatisfaction for the life they have today.
The life we have is a function of the decisions we have made and not circumstance. Of course, circumstance does matter (just not in the way you think). The lie: my circumstances limit my opportunities! The truth: circumstance is the creator of opportunities. Even the loss of mobility or sight, produces a whole new set of possibilities that number as many as those of the sighted or mobile person. Once we see circumstance as a possibility generator, all we are left with is the responsibilities of our decisions.
If we are honest, we wanted the donut more than the weight loss. We wanted to watch the football game more than a side-hustle to pay off our student loans. We wanted a vacation, house, car, clothes or watch more than we wanted to avoid credit card debt. We wanted the comfort of the other man or woman more than we wanted to work on our marriages. Taking honest responsibility for our decisions is to recognize that we have created our “perfect” lives.
How is it then that the “perfect” life we have is not really the life we want? There is definitely a Devil and he does not want you to achieve your ideal life. But, in reality he is just a circumstance generator and can easily be dispatched with the correct responses (for more on this topic read “The Enemy’s Playbook”). To achieve the “perfect” life (defined as living God’s vision for our lives) we must take responsibility for the life we have and start making different decisions.
If you are like me, you have tried to make better decisions and failed! However, if you are open-minded and follow the three suggestions below you can start living your perfect life RIGHT NOW.
Identify your strongholds
In Matthew 19:16-24, a young, rich, man approaches Jesus. He asks “what must I do to have enteral life”. To this question Jesus rattles off a list of “things” he must do such as not killing and avoiding adultery. The young man, most likely with some pride in his voice responded, “All these things have I kept from my youth up”. But then Jesus delivers a conversation ender. He tells the man to give all his possessions to the poor and “follow him”. In just one sentence, Jesus revealed what the man really wanted: his current comfort and wealth. The young man valued these things more than “eternal life”.
While it is important to identify what we want, it is equally important to identify the strongholds in our lives. Are these strongholds (the comfort and wealth of the young rich man) more important to us than our desired outcome (eternal life). Spend time creating emotion and desire around your outcome and attaching negative thoughts and emotions to your stronghold. See the stronghold for what it is - an obstacle to your goal.
Establish a Schedule
We suck at decision making. We have way too much faith in our ability to make the right call "when it counts". This misplaced faith has lead us to where we are. Don’t worry we are not broken. The Neuroscience behind the meat computer we call a brain is working hard against us. The latest research tells us that “even with what we believe are logical decisions, at the point of choice, are arguably always based on emotion.” In other words, when holding a donut in our hands the question of “donut” or “no donut” will almost always yield a pro-donut decision.
As usual, the Word affirms what scientists are just now discovering. “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” (Proverbs 21:5). Notice the difference in outcomes for those who plan (a.k.a. decision made in advance) versus hasty (a.k.a. decisions made in the moment).
High performing athletes don’t make a decision to go to the gym. They go to the gym because it is “time” to go to the gym. Writers don’t just complete a novel, they write a chapter a day (even if what they write is terrible). Schedules are plans that assign portions of your day to the goals you want to achieve. For example, when you prepare healthy meals on the weekend for each day of the week - you are never left to decide, at noon on a Wednesday, what to eat. When you schedule prayer and meditation in the morning you never have to decide between play and prayer. Put simply, we can eliminate many bad decision with schedules.
To further reduce the number of decisions we must make, our schedules must include time in the Word of God. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9). Imagine, the Lord of the universe is interested in each step we take and will guide us in our journey. Leaning on him versus “own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5-6) greatly simplifies our days. The number of variables that must align just to keep us from dying on the way to work are incalculable. God sees the whole picture. He has numbered the hairs on your head (Luke 12:7). In other words, we have an expert, in how the entire system works, on our side! Why would we trust our own knowledge or decision making skills?
God has also provided us teachers. Tony Robins is fond of saying that “Success leaves clues”. When we understand what is meant by Ecclesiastes 1:9, “what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun”, we need not create our “own path” through the world. Instead, we can follow the paths of others. We must identify people who have been successful at achieving our dreams and emulate their actions. The desire to create our own paths is vanity and must avoided. Remember, biblical pride comes not from creating the path, but from “running the race and keeping the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). In then end, knowledge gained from the Bible or a wise teacher will reduce the number of decisions we must make and thus reduce the number of emotional decisions resulting in a mistake.