What do you need to do next?
The answer to that question will have similarities for many people; however, the answer will be different for every one of us.
But by what needs to be done next, I am not asking you to consider, “Should I finish reading this blog post or should I…?”
Certainly, that question is pertinent for this moment, but it may not matter in five minutes. It certainly will not matter in five days or five years.
Instead, what I mean by the opening question is what is the next thing that you are to do according to living out your SYSTEM.*
*If you are reading this blog for the first time, I encourage you to review the posts from June through last week to get the full scope of what I mean by SYSTEM and how you can develop your own.
This blog is about learning to live in the world, not of the world. The blog name itself is the words in, not of spelled backwards. Thus, the goal for this blog is to encourage each reader (and the writer – ME!) to live fotonni.
For me, living fotonni requires a SYSTEM. I need a VISION, a MISSION, and a STRATEGY. I need STEPS to help me complete my STRATEGY, etc. You do too. And while your SYSTEM may be informal, in development, or even being given a trial run now, we all need something to help guide us.
Again, as I have said in the past, the guidance should ultimately come from God and His Word. But that is why my SYSTEM is built on His Word. Sure, I may only have about 15 or so verses specifically attached to the various pieces of my SYSTEM, but regularly seeing those verses reminds me why my SYSTEM is what it is. The verses also remind me that they are but a small portion of the overall Word of God. (For instance, my VISION includes the references Ephesians 4.1 and 5.1. I cannot look at those two references without acknowledging the verses in between them.)
So, in beginning to consider what you need to do next, you can look to your SYSTEM for guidance. Let me share a relatively recent example for how I used my SYSTEM.
In May, I turned 50. At the time, I wrote (on this blog) about how I wanted to aim higher for the remainder of my life. I made the decision to disengage from my personal social media accounts (at least for a while), and I have not regretted that. I had a goal that I know I need to complete. It is a purpose that I have had for a few years, but it has not been completed yet. It definitely fits my SYSTEM, but I have not taken the time towards achieving it – yet.
As I decided to begin to pursue fulfilling that goal, two other opportunities presented themselves. This is the challenge for all of us, right? We think we know what we are to do, and then, something else comes along to distract us! Well, that is where having a SYSTEM can help.
I do admit that having a SYSTEM is not full proof (or fool proof), but it certainly helps. Nearly three years ago, I was offered a fantastic opportunity that would likely have significant implications for me today. I actually did the preliminary work (developing a proposal) in order to be ready to take advantage of the opportunity if I did think it was right because the timeframe for a decision was fairly limited. Similar to the current situation, I was about to embark on another specific opportunity related to our mission to serve under-resourced pastors in under-resourced countries (and one that I am still doing for Pastor Training Community). But, at that time, when I went through each item of my SYSTEM and determined that as good of an opportunity as that was, it was not right in that moment.
The timing for the two opportunities this year did seem right, however. I was able to check off the boxes and make the decision to delay the one goal (again), in order to pursue these two other ideas (one of which will assist me in the delayed goal) and the other which will, and has already, benefit me for the rest of my life.
To conclude this post, I will share what the two new endeavors are. The first new endeavor relates to a new doctoral degree and the second relates to hosting a new podcast (both of which start this month – the podcast launched October 1 and my first class started this week).
Next week, I will walk through the process of how I used my SYSTEM to make a decision on both items. My intent is to not only encourage you to take a similar step as you answer the question of what are you to do next, but also to show you how to do it.
So, until next week, consider the possibilities of what may be next. And be ready to make a decision based upon the SYSTEM you have now developed (or are developing).*
*Actually, if you have not developed your SYSTEM yet, or it is in process, seeing how the process can work may help you clarify what you need to do for your SYSTEM. Remember, you will likely need to tweak it for a period of time, but once it is more stable, it can be a tremendous tool for you.