What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Ok, that answer may be pretty simple. But what is the second? What about the third? The tenth?
Sure, some people are flexible and the specific items may change day to day. Or, at least, they might change from a weekday to a weekend. And, the order of items in February of 2020 may be very different than they are now because of COVID.
But the point is that if you have some sort of agenda for the day, you likely have some sort of routine. Perhaps the routine is getting ready for work or getting children ready for school or doing chores around the home, etc. But most people have some sort of goal for the day (even if that goal is simply getting to work on time or something similar), and thus you have a built-in STRATEGY to accomplish the goal. And that STRATEGY is comprised of STEPS to allow you to execute the STRATEGY properly. For instance, if you shower in the morning, it makes good sense not to put your clothes on before doing so.
So, as we continue to look at our SYSTEM, the next idea is to consider the STEPS that allow us to do what needs to be done. In reality the STRATEGY is critical, but unless we have a PROCESS (which are the STEPS) then the STRATEGY will likely fail.
As I mentioned last week, I have five STEPS, but one of them is not central to the regular execution of my STRATEGY. Therefore, I include it as one of the STEPS because it is something we all will do at some point, but my focus is on the first four items. Each of the STEPS begins with the letter “L” and there are four primary steps, which is the source for the name of our ministry (4L Ministries).
The STEPS are:
- LEARN – More about God and how He wants me to serve Him. (Ephesians 5.1-2)
- LIVE – With a mindset on His Kingdom, not mine. (Matthew 6.33)
- LOVE – My wife and children, then others, that each might find their own place in serving God. (2 Timothy 2.2)
- LEAD – My family, then, others to serve God and make disciples by equipping them with biblically-based principles. (1 Corinthians 11.1)
- LEAVE* – Satisfied that my work is done when I am called, knowing others are equipped to carry on the ministry after I am gone. (2 Timothy 4.7)
*As I mentioned in the paragraph above the STEPS, we all LEAVE. Perhaps we do so on our own, perhaps we are forced to move, or perhaps our leaving comes when we die. But we all LEAVE our current setting and opportunities at some point, so we should make the most of it while we have the opportunity – and making the most of it, in following Jesus’ model, is to prepare others to continue the work when we are gone.
My first STEP is LEARN because without knowing what to do, nothing else matters. Specifically, I want to know what God wants me to do which if you look at the rest of the STEPS, you will notice that I must LEARN in order to properly LIVE, or LOVE, or LEAD as He has called me to do. Further, you may recall that my STRATEGY is based upon the acrostic LEARN, which fits one of the key elements of my MISSION which says, “I will grow in my knowledge and understanding of God’s truths, and His will for my life.” And these ideas fit into the overall purpose (the VISION) of desiring “to be the man God has called me to be.”
In fact, if you look at my description related to the first L (LEARN), you will see that my VISION and that STEP are very much in harmony. The same is true for the other STEPS as well, but as I have stated before, my ultimate purpose includes teaching so I must continue to LEARN and that permeates so much of the thought behind my overall SYSTEM.
In next week’s post, I will break down the other four STEPS – LIVE, LOVE, LEAD, and LEAVE – as we begin to draw this series to a close. In a few more weeks, I will begin to switch focus to how we can best function day to day (that is, live in, not of) using a key concept from Paul’s writing to the church at Ephesus.
Before we can maximize our days, we need to know why we do what we do. That has been the purpose of this series. So, if you are following along in real time, you have a couple of weeks to begin designing your SYSTEM. Of course, you can always come back and review these posts later. And of course, others may read these posts months or years after they are written. But regardless of when you might read them, the real benefit is to put the ideas into practice. Perhaps you do not need to go to the depths that I have, but I want to provide a model for you that I know works (for me) in order that you are encouraged to develop some kind of SYSTEM for yourself.
So, until next week…keep developing, keep tweaking, and begin to consider how you can not only create, but actually implement a SYSTEM that allows you to achieve the goals that you have (or will) set for your life.