Have you ever had an experience that made you reassess what you’re doing with your life? I certainly have! An old friend of mine recently called me, after 30 years of silence, and it quickly became clear that he was deeply troubled. A simple routine doctor’s visit had brought shocking news. He had only 6 months to live.
What struck me most about this conversation was his recognition that he had no capacity within himself to deal with this tragedy. He was absolutely destroyed. But he also acknowledged something else: living in bitterness was not an option. Remembering the faithfulness of God, he was determined to make every single day count. His response caused me to consider how I position myself in order to live effectively through difficult circumstances.
When I examine my life, I am thankful that I have confidence in my preparedness to handle whatever life throws my way without losing efficacy. There are three keys to my confidence in this area, and I believe that these life lessons can help any person live effectively. The truth is, your preparedness to handle various life situations sets you up for either success or failure. If you are prepared – if you know the keys – you can approach any door prepared to open it and walk through with the confidence that you will not be thrown off course.
First, to be effective in life you must position yourself rightly. As long as you are in the position God intends, you can accomplish your life’s mission. Alternatively, if you place your heart in the wrong place, you will get the wrong results. You see, if my friend had approached his impending death from the position of self-reliance, his entire outlook and attitude would have been drastically different. There was no hope to be found in his abilities. Likewise, you must be sure you are placing your heart in the right positions, so that in weighty circumstances you are able to trust God and avoid exacerbated pain and unnecessary trouble.
Second, an effective life is one with understood purpose. When he was still a young man, my friend discovered his true purpose, as he realized God’s ultimate intent for his life and began to follow after Him. Often, the discovery of purpose begins with the right questions. Consider these questions: What makes me special? In light of these things, how can God use me? Once you know your purpose in life, you can begin to order your life for increased effectiveness.
Third, effective lives always have clear priorities. These priorities should not just be theoretical, but rather strategic steps that help you walk in light of your position and purpose. At the end of the day, your top priority will permeate the landscape of each day and will shape the legacy of your life. When my friend looks at his last 6 months of life, he is not deterred from his priorities. Instead, he is all the more inspired to keep them central. His lifelong practice of keeping the hope of God first and foremost prepared him for this jarring circumstance, and has left him no question about how to move through it.
Ultimately, we must all discover that the power to live effectively is found outside of ourselves. The keys to effective living are understood and executed only when we have the clarity and power given by God alone. In the coming months, I will be addressing different aspects of effective living, and I hope you will join the conversation