Taking Hold of Your Future

Wayne Cordeiro

Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap” (Eccl. 11:4)

Solomon is teaching us a “life essential.” It is a class on taking the initiative to take hold of your future. What is it that needs to be accomplished? What needs to be done this week that you have been procrastinating for the last month? What are those important, future shaping decisions you’ve been putting off for lack of “time,” courage, or knowledge?

The Most Important Five Minutes of your Future

Andrew Carnegie once paid a man the equivalent of $250,000 for something that took the consultant 15 minutes to explain. I will give it to you for free!

He said to make two lists: one containing three things that are IMPORTANT and the other, three things that are urgent. Keep these lists with you every day, and accomplish THREE IMPORTANT THINGS everyday.

Think what would happen to your life if you spent five minutes to do that every day?

We judge the quality of our lives by how we “feel about” what we do, not by “what” we do. Emotion is the driving force for getting things done. These end up as the urgent things.

Time management isn’t managing time; it is managing the events and actions that will lead you to accomplishing what is most important in life.

Effective time management is really about organizing your life so you find time for the important things, such as: spending time with people you love, having fun, expressing your creativity, and accomplishing life goals. One person said, “The key is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities!”

Establishing What’s Most Important
We are a people of habit and I understand that change comes hard. Nevertheless, if we keep doing what we are doing, we will keep getting what we are getting. We need to change what we do, regardless of how we feel.

Establish what is IMPORTANT to you, your future, your health, and your relationships. Think about them because you tend to become what you think. If you think about what you lack, you will find it. If you tend to dwell on the poor state of your life, you will end up there.

Instead, think of what God has deposited into your heart—dreams of a God-preferred future. What qualities of life will cause you to be fulfilled? Would that include time with your spouse in order to increase the value of your marriage? Connecting time with your kids? And what about your future? What do you need to do to get closer to your dreams? Good things for your health and soul? What are the things that if they were going well would cause you to be happy and fulfilled.

What are these things for me?

  • A deep relationship with Christ that is genuine.
  • A healthy ministry of resourcing other leaders.
  • A genuine marriage and close family.
  • A healthy body and a soul that is free to be creative.
  • Time to enjoy life with family and friends.

That’s it.

These are what matter most. I need to be sure that I’m making strides in these directions. I must do at least three things a day that move me toward fulfilling these five items.

Increasing Your Strength
Can you remember a day when you accomplished an important project by systematically tackling it step by step? At the end of the day, you weren’t burnt out. Instead, you actually felt invigorated and fulfilled. You can experience that same sense of motivation through a consistent time of solitude and planning.

It all begins with selecting a quiet place to review and schedule your activities on a weekly and daily basis. Instead of an overwhelming to-do list, you create a WHAT’S IMPORTANT list. That’s a limited to-do list that’s strategic to what is most important to what you will call “Life.”

Every week, ask yourself the following questions: “What are the most important outcomes/results I must produce to make this week successful and fulfilling?” “Why do I want to do this?” “What will be the results/outcomes?” And … “How will it make me feel?” Then schedule those activities into your week. Using the quiet planning time, first schedule the activities and events that bring you the most joy and satisfaction.

It’s in those momentary seconds of decision that our destiny is shaped. Most people live without direction because they major in minors. If you don’t decide and affirm your life’s dreams, someone else will decide them for you.

One More Thing
The urgent will keep me busy but not accurate, full of activity but not full of life, and profitable but not significant. Urgent things will cause me to inadvertently sacrifice my family on the altar of success as I head aimlessly down the golden road to a nervous breakdown.

Your tombstone may one day read: “Death by Success.”

So … what about the list of urgent things? They need to be accomplished as well, don’t they?

They do. But, delegate what you can and do the rest along the way: be punctual and schedule them in, but keep your heart set on higher things. You’ll be glad you did.

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