Last week, I wrote about the concept of creating a preferred future (living focused on your future and not focused on the past). This transformative concept was created by author Dr. Lawrence Lippitt and is widely used in the field of organizational leadership training. It requires strategizing and taking a leap of faith in time beyond where you are to where you expect (and hope) to be in the future. According to Lippitt, getting to your preferred future is honestly responding to basic questions like”How did I get here?”, “Where am I going?” and “What value is most important to me?”
”How did I get here?” may be the most difficult question to answer because it requires that you honestly reflect on past decisions good or bad. You can’t blame others but have to look at yourself and ask what is working and what is not working in your life. The honesty of David in Psalm 51 provides a good biblical example of this. In this well-known Psalm, David takes full responsibility for his actions.
“What is most important to me?” is the question that is the foundation for developing your strongest preferred future. Your core values impact every decision that you make in life as well as your reaction to everything that happens to you. What values are the most important to you? Is it love, compassion, loyalty, truth, creativity, patience, generosity, trust or something else? The fruit of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 provide biblical examples of important values: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” More importantly, core values influence how you specifically deal with change which impacts whether you achieve your preferred future. For example, if your core value is trust, you may be hesitant to accept change until you develop trust with the person or persons who are in control of the change. And if you don’t accept change, you may never get to your point of transformation.
“Where am I going?” is equally important as the other two. For some who are looking at the 11 ½ months left in 2017, the future looks bright. The new year brings a renewed perspective on life and a re-energized passion for what is to come. For others, the next 11 ½ months appear dark and discouraging. How you see the year ahead depends on what you’ve experienced in the past but it also depends on how much of God’s sovereignty you choose to submit to. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.” Asking the question of what is ahead can be fearful depending on where you put your trust. If you put your trust in God, you have the assurance that God will work even the bad things out for good. Knowing this makes it easier to work towards even the most difficult future plans and that you are not controlled by the fear of what is ahead.
Shewanda Riley is the author of the Essence best-seller “Love Hangover: Moving From Pain to Purpose after a Relationship ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: Prayers for Writers.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.