March 3, 2012

Are You Making This Common Mistake With Your Life Plan?



A couple of weeks ago, I posted a series about the process I use in creating and maintaining my LIFE plan. I have received a great deal of feedback from a variety of sources, mostly positive! I have been told this was the first time many of you have even considered doing a life plan or something similar.

For others, a life plan seems daunting and too time consuming. Regardless of which way you lean, I encourage you to read on and think about how the following illustration applies to your situation. Are you making this common mistake?

life plan

Read the following illustration from Herschel Hobbs’ My Favorite Illustrations….

River vs. Canal

    Have you ever looked down on a river while riding in a plane thousands of feet above the ground? If so, you know that the river’s course winds here and there like the track of a large serpent. This is because, in its formation, the river followed the path of least resistance.

    On the other hand, a straight canal calls for advance planning, toil, and suffering as those who make it dig and blast their way through the terrain.

    Lives are like that. Crooked or unrighteous lives follow the lines of least resistance. They twist and turn as they adapt to the changing mores of society. In doing so, they wander aimlessly with no certainty as to their final destination.

    Like those who dig a straight canal, the righteous determine their goal and pay the price necessary to achieve it. That is the way of Christ.*

Just think about this for a minute and then take a look at your own life.

Do You Have A Destination?

First, do you have a certain destination or purpose in mind for your life?

The river has no specific destination and therefore any path will do. So many people today make a critical mistake and just take life as it comes, with no real plan or idea of why they are here. Others have plans, but they change with the winds. As shiny objects catch their eye, they run off in a new direction, seeking the newest pleasure or escape.

The canal, on the other hand, is designed with a specific destination in mind. For most of us, we were not handed a road map in school with the destination or purpose of our life highlighted for us, along with the directions to get there. Instead, we have to determine it for ourselves. For the majority of the readers of this blog, the desire is to base this path on the Bible.

On What (Whom) Is It Based?

Second, on what (or whom) are you basing your life’s purpose decisions? Are you striving for something you have seen on TV or in a movie or magazine? Are you chasing the wind?

Or are you following a plan based on One who designed you and knows the best for you? It’s up to you, but I know my choice!

The destination I have set at the end of my canal is to hear from Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Are You Still Following It?

Finally, if you have determined the purpose or direction of your life, are you still on track or have you reverted back to following the path of least resistance?

Are you allowing outside influences to determine your course or are you working hard, with advance planning and sweat, to overcome outside influences and stay on course? For the short term, just winging it may seem easier, but over the long haul, that method will bring more hardship and disappointment.

However, intentional effort and decision-making toward the right purpose can lead to fulfillment and contentment.

Do you have a certain destination in mind for your life?

Are you digging a canal or following the path of the river?

Have you allowed outside influences to distract you from your canal?

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