The following are seven steps that will make a real difference in your future. Whatever happens to you and wherever God leads, these steps could be incredibly important. They have certainly made a difference in my own life.
It is sad when a woman discovers that she has married a guy who refuses to grow up. This boy/man is immature and primarily interested in playing while his wife has to be the adult and responsible. He assumes that she will take care of the kids, prepare the meals, etc. so he can do what he wants. Meanwhile, real men seek to be mature. Maturing people still have fun but they refuse to do so at another’s expense. Maturing people take responsibility for their emotions and actions. They grow up.
Stop waiting for the perfect circumstances. Stop waiting for everything to fall into place. If you know what you need to do, take a step now. Perhaps the next step seems small. But at least you’ve taken a step! Far too often, I have waited for just the right circumstances. “Some day, I’m going to. . . .” Instead of taking a small step, I waited and sometimes missed the opportunity to make a difference. I have learned that quite often the perfect moments never come. Again, rather than waiting on perfection, take even the smallest step.
Many people attempt to explain away their circumstances in life by making excuses. “I never got any breaks.” “I didn’t have much help from my parents.” “No one gave me a chance.” “I didn’t get to go to graduate school.” “I had to work during college.” The Bible is full of people who had many obstacles in their lives and yet learned to trust God and live a life of faith.
Authenticity means that you want to be the real deal. You are not simply concerned with what others might think about you. When I first began my ministry, I felt a tremendous pressure to somehow make people in my congregation “happy.” (Whatever that is.) At times, some even verbalized that a good minister tries to make people happy. This is ridiculous and a sure way to prematurely end what might have been a long ministry. Authenticity is about being the right kind of person and doing — not for the approval of others, but because it is right.
Don’t just get by. Don’t just put in your time. Don’t just live for the weekend. Know the joy of working hard and doing what you were meant to do. Yet, working graciously is more than staying busy or keeping your nose to the grindstone. Working graciously is about doing what matters in a manner that blesses others and makes a difference. Working graciously is about valuing co-workers and treating others in a way that makes them glad to work with you.
Give care to the people in your life. Be a good steward of these relationships. Honor and nurture the relationships that you have with your husband, wife, children, etc. I am married and have two grown daughters and sons-in-law. Charlotte and I both have jobs. We each have certain tasks and responsibilities at work. Meanwhile, our children live in other states. It takes intent, time, and effort to stay connected emotionally with them. This doesn’t just happen. However, there is great joy to be found in staying connected and giving care to the people who matter most to you.
Do more than give God a polite nod. Trust God by yielding the control of your life to him. Many people say they trust God, but they seem to be speaking philosophically rather than about a trust that impacts daily life in a meaningful way.
Which one of these steps has been especially important in your life? What difference has this made?