Live Your Life By Design

Mar 8, 2016, Written by Sue Miley

Life By Design

I believe that for the most part, you can do anything.  I also believe that, for the most part, it is never too late.  Most people don’t particularly like change, but that still surprises me.  The reason it surprises me is that most people are not content with the status quo.

If you don’t like how your career or life is going, why wouldn’t you want to change it?

Change though, shouldn’t just be for change sake.

If you don’t know where you want your career or life to go, changing just to change, can lead to a worse place.  This thought is the idea that keeps most people captive in the status quo.

They know they aren’t happy. Yet, they don’t know what they want.  Therefore, the known negative is better than the unknown.

Maybe It Will Get Better

Most people then fall into the maybe it will get better syndrome.  If I keep going, bloom where I am planted, things will have to get better eventually, right?

Then you wake up three or four years later and things aren’t better.

And the realization sinks in.

Maybe if I had started working on my vision for my life three or four years ago things would be different today.

It Doesn’t Just Happen

In my personal experience, and in working with others, my circumstances haven’t changed without my participation.  Don’t get me wrong, ultimately, I don’t think we are in control.  I believe that God has a plan for each of us and if we seek Him and seek His will for our lives, He is the one that opens doors and facilitates change.

However, I have also experienced, to my own dismay, that He waits on us to move toward Him and His plan for us.

What does that look like?

Seek God First

I wish I could say I am always joined perfectly with God and His will.  I try, but then I drift.  I hate that because it happens unconsciously and just like being taken out to sea by a riptide, I look up and find that I am moving away from the path God has for me.

I know this because I am usually discontent.  I am usually not being the person I want to be and I am not feeling the joy that I know God has for us.

Before I can get back on track, I almost always have to get back on track with my relationship with Jesus.

  • I need to go back to intense Scripture reading; not just going through the motions scanning of a few verses.
  • I need to start sharing my heart with Jesus in my daily journaling.
  • I need to re-commit my life to Him and His plans for me–yes, I write it out.  I tell the Lord that I have drifted.  That I want to re-commit to His plans and I pray He will bring me back close and be able to use me for His Kingdom.

Identify What Isn’t Working

Once I have turned my focus back to Jesus, I am still always surprised at how readily He accepts me back into His arms.  How quickly I feel the connection again.  I start to see things again through His God-lens.

Even though it doesn’t match my Myer’s Briggs type (ENFP), I like to make lists.  I start with a list of the things in my life that aren’t working.  Usually categories form.  For example: my health, my business, my character.

When I am in the mode of course-correcting, I tend to rewrite these lists over and over in different words and context each week.  Soon I begin to see the constants and themes.

Identify What Is Working

I always start with what isn’t working.  I wish I didn’t, but it seems to be a necessary step for me to get it off of my chest.  But soon I move to what is working.  What do I like?  What do I want more of?

I believe in my heart:

  • less is more.
  • love is what we are here for.
  • it all goes back to God’s Kingdom.

If I am focused on God and what He wants, I usually can identify a list of:

  • skills, temperaments, talents or interests that God can use from me for His Kingdom.
  • past times when I felt that I was in His perfect will for my life.
  • needs that I can help with all around me.

Pulling It Together

In the past, I have been directly on the wrong path.  It wasn’t a drift.  It was the wrong direction completely.  Since finding Christ at the age of 36, I had to do more than just a course-correction.  I had to stop my current path, reassess my whole life, and redirect to His path.

Since then, the drifts are less dramatic and I just need to course-correct.  Yet, even though the path has been the same for over a decade, the seasons still change.  I need to be able to envision the bigger picture.  Not the bigger picture and the secrets of Heaven, just the picture of the season I am in and how what is working and what isn’t working can be pulled together into getting back on track with God’s plans.

Life by Design

When I experienced the big changes in my life, I went through a variety of exercises and processes to learn more about myself, more about God and His will, and more about what was possible in Christ.  I have since developed a life coaching course that I named Life by Design.  I developed a program that would go through 5 Steps:

  1. Where You Are– this is the inventory of who God created you to be before the world comes into play and takes us off course.
  2. What is Important– this examines your values and your relationships–what is most important in your life in this season?
  3. What is Possible– this is a group of exercises that excludes any barriers or roadblocks and opens you up to what is possible in your life.  We focus on not putting God in our little box, but opening ourselves up to what is possible through Him.
  4. Facing the Roadblocks– in our world we do have barriers and roadblocks, even if it is only our limited imagination, fear of the unknown, or real challenges in our way.  We need to face them to get through them.
  5. Creating the Plan – Once we see the picture and believe it is possible, we need a plan to get onto God’s path and stay there.  Most times the plan also includes getting through the roadblocks.  This is the path to our dreams.  If it is God’s plan for us and He gives us everything, our dreams are the life we are designed for.

With God’s plan for our life, it is always the journey, not the destination.  Knowing Jesus today and embracing His path for us, I believe that eternity starts now. With eternity before us, we just need to stay on His path.

There Are Still Crossroads

Even on His path, we still come to crossroads along the way.  A conscious choice will keep us on track, but sometimes they sneak up on us.  We stray and end up taking the wrong road.

I think those wrong choices are the times we feel that sense of discontent.  It is different from difficulties we may encounter on the path God has for us.  He doesn’t promise us easy, but when I hit difficulties ON His path, I still experience peace and I still feel like I am heading in the right direction.

When I am truly discontent, with myself or my situation, it is usually because I meandered off of the God path.

The best thing about having gone through the time and exercise to work through Life by Design is that I still have the vision.  I still know what direction I am headed.  I just need to course-correct.

Where are you in your life?  Have you found God’s path for you–your life by design?  Maybe you have and you just need to course-correct?

Either way, God is waiting for you.  He has a plan for you.  He wants to walk with you, on His path for you, for eternity!

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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