From IDK to IBT

by Sunil Robert

Whenever I ask youngsters what they want to do in the future, seldom do I get an emphatic answer. They throw a few ideas at me with a general mum bling of, “I don’t know”. But let me tell you, my ultimate Guru was clear at the age of 12. Remember, how his parents lost him in the temple and found him after three days? The answer the young lad gave was, “Don’t you know, I must be about My Father’s business”?1 This is a pointer to how we should construct our life based on God’s Word. The only difference between a successful person and a person who does not succeed is a lack of clear purpose. Let me share some practical ideas on how to discover and develop a clear purpose for your life, no matter what stage you are: young, middle aged or even old.

New Year Resolutions:
Not a Great Idea!

If you are any bit like I was as a teenager, by now, all or most of your new year resolutions may have gone kaput. Your all-too-earnest desires to make a new year “NEW “ have been replaced by disappointment and the nonchalance of your previous year’s lifestyle. And the cycle starts all over again each year as, like sheep, we go through the cycle again and again. In fact, some make a resolution never to make a New Year resolution again. So here is my first solution. Resolutions don’t come true because they are not powered by Purpose. If you have a purpose for your life, then all your goals, resolutions, and desires will be accomplished because they are held together by a larger purpose. The French phrase, ‘Raison d’être’ means the central reason for its existence. A star shines bright or flickers because that is its ‘Raison d’être’. Has anyone asked you what the central reason for your existence is? A purpose, what organisations call a “mission”, is important to fulfill life’s central end. All men surely die; very few consciously live. I am reminded of my favorite quote, “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why”.

Indulge me and try this exercise with me. Take a blank sheet of paper and write your name and its meaning at the top. Your name is no coincidence, and the fact that your parents gave you a certain name with a promise is not an accident.

Resolutions don’t come true because they are not powered by Purpose. If you have a purpose for your life, then all your goals, resolutions, and desires will be accomplished because they are held together by a larger purpose.

Draw four boxes in the page and start listing out all your strengths on the top left box. On the top right, list all your dreams, small, big, crazy and unbelievable; no one will look at it, so be honest and bold. On the bottom left, write all your past accomplishments and achievements; and, finally, in the bottom right box, list all the positive compliments, affirmations and qualities that others have given you over the years. So Strengths, Dreams, Accomplishments and Compliments should fill up the paper. Now, what pattern or single thread do you see connecting all four boxes? What strengths can you use to go after your big dreams based on the encouragement you got from past accomplishments?

If you have a Pulse,
you should have a Purpose

Write your purpose statement. This can be a life changing, destiny altering experience. My Bible tells me that all the characters that made a significant impact on the world had a focused life purpose. This included the Savior himself while on planet earth who said that He had, “...come to seek and save the lost”.2 The biggest advantage of having a clear purpose? It will enable you to get rid of all the junk. Wasted hours playing futile games, being addicted to chats, listening to and watching inane stuff, and trying to fit into a group simply because you want to be nice, are all time wasters and purpose detractors. Life is too short and unpredictable to be wasted. Your purpose should remind you every day about what you are called to be and to do. I have been a marathon runner for the past few years and ran the two toughest marathons in the world. I can never forget the day when I saw a fan cheering the runners with a placard that said, “There will come a day when you cannot run; today is not the day”. In essence, it reflects the same point that Jesus repeatedly made during His time on earth that His hour had not come or that His hour had come.

If you can seize the hour,
you can capture the day

What is the first thing you reach out for when you open your eyes in the morning? Please tell me it is your Bible app. When I conduct training to business executives, many of them sheepishly admit that even before their body and mind warms up, they are pulled into a vortex of whatsapp messages, texts, emails, Facebook, et al. Of course, these are all a necessary evil, but what is a better alternative? Being in control of what you want to accomplish rather than reacting to each message ping. We live in a society that is drowning us with noise and information. You need to take responsibility so you are not pulled by others who want to drive you in ten different directions. Ultimately, time management is all about life’s purpose. It is that gripping, obsessive desire to live life to the fullest while impacting those around you. A life well lived usually involves impacting the needy, but your biggest responsibility is the person in the mirror. Hebrews 12 offers us the metaphor of our life as a race. And when life’s race is over, at the finish line along with a cloud host of witnesses, is the Master. What might you hear? “Well done, you good and faithful servant”?3 Or “Depart from me, you evil doers”?4 [1Luke 2:49, 2Luke 19:10, 3Matt. 25:21, 4Matt. 25:41]

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