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Get a Life (Vision)

Josh McPherson | April 29, 2022
Reading time: about 7 minutes
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Do you have a life plan? 

Do you know where you're going and why you're going there?

Or do you just wake up and react to life? 

Many men drift...drifting in apathy, indifference, and mediocrity. The boat doesn't have a motor, they're just drifting with the current, subject to the tide, no course set, no progress made. Whatever is the flavor of the day in the culture is what they choose to consume. There's no conviction, sweat, push. It's just wake up and look for the easiest path through the day. No long-term planning, living only for the pleasure of the moment. Over and over again. Sliding down to the lowest common denominator of losers around them. No direction, drive, or dreams, just the ever-present drug of social media, Netflix, binge-watching tv shows, and play. 

Other men run really hard, work long hours, strain and strive with all their might...their life is a speed boat and they've got the throttle wide open. Charge, conquer, more ground, more money, hit the gas, go go go. They're disciplined, determined, and driven. No grass grows under their feet. They're climbing the ladder and nobody will stop them. But have they stopped themselves to consider if they're running in the right direction, charting the right course, working for the right things? The only thing worse than getting to the top of the ladder is getting there and realizing you leaned it on the wrong wall.

Which is why you need a Life Plan. 

You need an articulate vision of who you want to be, what you are going to do with your life, and why you're choosing to do it. 

If you don't articulate it for yourself, someone else will for you.

You need a plan not just to be successful, but significant. To live your life so that it actually makes a difference. 

You were made to be a force for good. It's time to make a plan to get there.

A Life Plan isn't the silver bullet, I get it. You still have to get up every day and actually live it. Plans with no execution don't do anyone any good.

But it can be very helpful if properly used. 

As my brother Carey always says, the Devil has a plan for your life...you should too. 

For many years now, I have started my year writing a Life Vision statement. Now I just add to it and tweak it every year.

I do it because...
...I'm easily distracted (with lesser priorities)
...I'm easily discouraged (with lack of progress)
...I'm easily defeated (by combining the above two)

I do it because...
...I am prone to drift (it's amazing how much time I can waste)
...I am prone to wander (it's amazing how many insignificant things I can chase)
...I am prone to take the easy road (it's amazing how lazy I can be)

I do it because...
...I want my life to matter (in the local, global, and cosmic sense)
...I want to get the most important things right (which means ruthless prioritization)
...I want to be respected most by those who know me best (starting with my wife, my kids, and those I lead)

I do it because...
...I want to make the best use of my time (I'm only here once, make it count)
...I want to leave a Legacy (so that those in my wake are blessed, not burdened)
...I want to please my Heavenly Father (as a Christian, this is the ultimate purpose towards which I lean...without this, everything else is a waste of time)

I do it because...
...I'm an idiot (just being honest)
...I'm not as good of a man in real life as I am in my head (I refuse to believe the headlines my brain can write about me)
...it forces me to think through and then articulate who I want to be and become (sloppiness doesn't produce good results, but precision can)

I do it because...
...it's a way to get what's in my head out into the real world (my thoughts are often unclear and jumbled until I write them down)
...it's a way to make tangible my intangible thoughts (sometimes I don't even know what I think until I write it down)
...it's a way to expose weak points and growing edges (do I even know what kind of man I want to be? hmmm)

I do it because...
...it's a statement of faith for future grace (by God's grace, this is going to happen)
...it's a statement of defiance against the tug in my heart towards being a lesser man (prone to wander, Lord I feel it...yup)
...it's my way of declaring to myself and my family that I will be a Stronger Man (vision is declaration...doesn't count until you call it)
...it's my way of refusing to be a victim (I am not helpless, I can make a plan and start swinging)

Those are my whys. You need to find your own. And then you need to write a Life Plan. It's a powerful tool to move you towards Stronger Manhood. 

Many have asked, so here it is. Below is my current articulation of who I want to be. It's my Stronger Man declaration.

A few things to note...
...it's written in the present tense, as what I want to be able to say in 5 years and it be true  
...they are declarations of faith...I will not get there in my own strength alone
...it is not always true of who I always am or how I always act, but it gives me a north star to come back to every time I veer off trail 
...it's not true 100% of the time, but my wife and kids should read this and recognize it. It shouldn't be completely foreign. They should be able to say... "yeah, I've seen that. Absolutely. That's my dad." If they read it and have no who it's talking about, I've got more work to do. 


My life vision

I am a man who walks in the presence of God.

I often ask, “Lord if you want to talk to me, I’m listening”, and then I listen. I make time for those moments.

My attitudes are increasingly that of Christ Jesus; my desires are increasingly synced with his.

I’m gaining victory over impetuous attitudes of the flesh and respond more naturally in the fruits of the Spirit.

My confidence in God’s provision is unwavering; my fear of God is greater than my fear of man.

 I regularly hear from God and see Him working around me and regularly join him then in that work.

I’m at peace. I’m unrushed. I’m present with whomever I’m with because of my deep confidence that Jesus is running the rest of the world out there.

I am well-read, clear minded, and courageous. I am unflappable and immovable. I’m a man of deep faith and abiding peace, rugged hope, continual and contagious joy.

I am a man who asks questions, listens well, and gives thoughtful responses.

I have not curbed my personality or knocked off rough edges, I am more who I was made to be than ever before in my life. I am comfortable in my own skin.

I think in the categories of biblical wisdom and reason in the realm of absolute truth.

I am meaningfully investing in other people and vulnerable in a community of believers.

I reject pretense and pretending; I embrace authenticity and honesty.

I run hard and find men to run with I have to work to keep up with.

I am committed to creating an environment where my wife flourishes. Her inner beauty is something I take personally. She thrives under my leadership. Being married to me isn’t a sentence to live out, it is her greatest earthly blessing. She laughs often and increasingly lives into her calling as a woman. She feels protected, honored, spoiled, emboldened, free, and safe because of my ever-present and initiating leadership.

I have children who love Jesus, who are relationally whole, and who will not leave my house emotionally starved. Their tanks are full, they are happy, free, inquisitive, curious, capable, they love other people, they are discovering their gifts and the world God made them in, they love to explore the world and they love coming home, because home is safe. I am their greatest and safest confidant. They trust me as their wise counselor.

I’ve been given one body and I take care of it. I get the rest, sleep, and rejuvenation I need, so I’m not a cranky, tired, beleaguered man. I am a rest healthy man who can run hard for a long time. I don’t view rest as antithetical to progress. Because Jesus is running the world, I can rest as an act of faith.

I am financially free to give and meet others' needs. I work hard, make an honest wage, and have no consumer debt. We live under our means in order to give away as much as we can. I have built or purchased a second home we can share as a place of rest for those needing a place to rejuvenate. Financial freedom is something we are unwilling to sacrifice for short-term highs at the hands of cheap consumerism.

I laugh long, hard, and often, and those around me do the same.

I am the kind of friend my unbelieving friends wished they had more of.

Prayer is my first response, not my last resort; it comes as natural and often as breathing.

I’m more bought in to the mission of God than ever before. I’m thinking creatively and mobilizing more effectively than ever before. My mind is broadened to envision mission on a global scale and my role in it.

I draw greatness out of leaders around me for Jesus' sake.

My faith moves those around me to action for Jesus' sake.

The size of vision for Jesus and his mission propels others and simultaneously makes them uncomfortable and excited as they consider all they might do if they stepped out in faith.

My leadership is catalytic and results in concrete actions and results.

People who follow me get closer to Jesus because I am following closely to Jesus myself.

I haven’t wasted my life. I’m spending for the glory of God. With all I have, I live all in for one name. One life, one name, one shot, so that Jesus might receive the glory of my life.

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