Today I have a “nuts and bolts” treat for you. The lovely Elizabeth from 31 Days Early I Rise is here to help YOU plan your growth!
From the Starting Point: Personal Growth in 2013
One of my goals this year is to grow in stewardship. On its face, that is an ambiguous goal, and if I left it at that I would definitely be setting myself up for failure. It’s important to me that I succeed so I took a couple of steps to ensure that I be the only determining factor. Stewardship is administering all areas of our lives with so that everything is in decent order. Although finances have a place in that order, they do not equal the totality of our lives. So, my definition of stewardship is taking care of every area of my life with intention and in decency and order.
Stewardship is taking administrative care of every area of my life with intention and in
decency and order
We always have areas in our lives that we wish were different; better. Why not do something about it? If you’re ready, I am too! There are 11 months and almost a full week left in 2013 – plenty of time to change a few things. How can we grow in something as big and ambiguous as stewardship? Make it bite size:
Administrative care is overseeing care. Every area of our lives deserves an intentional plan of care. We should have a plan for our health, our spirituality, our emotional well being, our mental prowess, our relationships, our material masses, and our current and future fiscal endeavors and kingdom works. That may sound like a lot, but we as humans are complex beings. If you don’t currently have those plans, the initial work appears overwhelming – but it will be far less intense than it seems and well worth it.
- Get a notebook – it doesn’t matter what kind, what color, what shape or what size –just so you can get started. Dedicate it to you. On the very first page, write Stewardship centered on the top line. Beneath that, write all the things you want to take stewardship over in your life. If you have categories not mentioned here, include them (and comment on them at the bottom of the post in case some of us need that category as well).
- Take a piece of blank paper and write those categories on it, far enough apart that you can rip the pieces of the page and have one word on each piece of paper. Now put those pieces in order of importance to you. If this exercise is difficult for you, think of it like this: If you had only three of these you could achieve this year, which three would they be? Put those three in order and move them aside. Of the ones left, if you had only three of them you could achieve this year, which three would they be? Put those in order next and move them aside, etc.
- Now write your list down on the next page – this is your Stewardship Goal List. You won’t achieve it all in a year, but we are now at the starting point.
Starting with the first goal on the list, we will need to create a picture of where we are rightnow. It’s impossible to grow if you don’t know where you are currently rooted. It is helpful to keep in mind that this is only for you. Honesty is important in order to measure your growth and find stumbling blocks to growth (we’ll talk about that later).
- Take 10 uninterrupted minutes to write a paragraph of what your life looks like in that area. For instance, one of my areas of growth is financial stewardship. Right now, I live month to month, budget for my children’s education and summer camp expenses, and for a once a year 3-4 day vacay for myself. I pay tithes to my church, and give regularly.I rarely follow a monthly budget and do not save like I should. I know that if I followed the monthly budget and chronicled all of my expenses I could do so much better than I am doing. Over the past 3 years I have cut expenses like cable, impulse shopping, home phones, and rent by an extraordinary amount. I should be seeing a much different financial picture than I am. I have to create an annual and monthly budget, a real picture of income and assets, and commit to both.
- After that 10 minute exercise, take some time on another day (schedule the date in your calendar now) to add a real financial (or whatever the goal you are working on) picture to that brief description
Create the picture the way you want to see it – dream big
- Now you have seen what your picture really looks like without kid gloves. Create the picture you want to see at the end of this year. Schedule a date with yourself to spend time creating this picture. I often schedule a 4 hour block of time in a room at the local library so I can use the white board and all the table space to create a new picture of what I want my health, finances, and relationships to look like at the end of this time period.
- What will it take to get there? Resources. Now it’s time to find the resources that you need to get there. For me, those resources start with prayer. However, faith without action is ridiculous, so the next step is research. Google it, read it, asks about it here or in communities where you feel safe doing that. Take short courses. Do whatever is necessary to find the resources you need.
Plan of ACTION
- On the next clean page of your notebook make a step by step plan of action to reach the goal you want to realize. Later you can add those steps to your planner in a realistic time frame and revisit your notebook for the details. I always put my POA steps in my Planner, in my phone calendar and in my notebook so that I can hold myself accountable. I am the person best able to improve me and help realize my goals.
I hope this doesn’t look intense or like too much work. I’m doing it with you! I’ve already started changing some things and don’t plan to go back to my old way of living. Have you changed anything in the New Year? I would love to hear your comments, thoughts and even recommendations about stewardship.
Elizabeth Towns is a PhD. candidate, freelance writer and blogger at 31 Days Early I Rise. Divorced mother of two children, Bobbi (14) and Elijah (8), and the youngest of seven girls, she is constantly in motion, but still finds time to read and spend time with friends and family. She is currently working on her first book, aptly titled after her blog. Contact or follow Elizabeth on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.