I've spent the last 6 years or so trying to nail down a "mission statement". I discovered Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and I knew that I needed to define my "mission" if I was ever going to have any clue of where I was going or what I was doing with my life. I mean, how could I prioritize my time if I had no idea what my priorities were?
Henry David Thoreau said, “In the long run men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.” I really have no idea who he is or what he did to merit that anyone record or remember his words, but those words stuck with me none the less. Never mind the altitude, how could I hit any target if I didn't have the slightest idea what I was aiming at?
So I put pen to paper and, following the directions given to me, I wrote down everything that came to mind. It was good -I usually thing everything I write is good- but it didn't sing; it didn't resonate with me. Instead, all the great words fell flat on the paper and I felt even less motivated than when I had begun.
Next, I tried the free wizard on Franklin Covey's website. I answered the probing questions then tweaked it on my own in Microsoft Word. It was better. I learned some things about myself and pointed out some rather obvious fluff about myself. (I mean, when I wrote "I am most effective when I am happy and positive", seriously who isn't? How does that help me stay positive? And what happens when I am inevitably not happy and positive?) It made me feel a little more energized about what I was doing, but it still missed the mark. I would look at that paper and think, "Is this all there is? People rave about their statements, and mine is just... meh. No singing."
I resigned myself to thinking that mission statements were just another crock of bull sold to insecure self-help junkies, and I certainly resembled that conclusion at the time. So, I filed my statement away and decided to do some soul searching, because maybe I just had no idea of who I was or what I wanted. And boy was I right!
Fast forward several years and I have a paradigm shift. Suddenly, I realize that there's more to my life than my selfish pursuit of liberty and pleasure above all else. I discovered that all the statements about material gain that had felt empty years before felt that way because they were empty pursuits. Sure, I wanted things and stuff, but they had lost priority when I fell head-over-heels in love with Jesus. Suddenly, like a light bulb had clicked on in my head cartoon-style, I knew who I was and I knew my purpose.
But the mission statement was the farthest thing from my mind at that time. Then one unassuming night during my private study time with God, I just felt His Spirit stirring in me. I had words in my heart that I needed to get out. So I grabbed some paper and wrote the following:
My life is a great gift from God. The blood of Christ has redeemed me and through His blood and sacrifice, I am born again and no longer dead. He is the Great Love of my life.
I will choose daily to remember that every new morning is a gift and an opportunity. Therefore, the following is the manner in which I will choose to live my life:
- I will celebrate every breath I take because each one is a blessing. I will seek to let go of petty things and transgressions. I will choose to remember that every good thing, big or small, is of and from God. And I will stand strong and courageous in the face of opposition because I know that, even in the midst of the storm, God is with me, cares for me, strengthens me, and blesses me.
- I will seek out God's Truth as I continuously purpose to be more like Him. By actively seeking Him and keeping His Word (Jesus) close to my heart daily, God will provide all that I need to triumph over the lies, temptations, and struggles of this world.
- I will remember that God alone gives me my value and dignity and that no one can take them from me. I am never alone: God goes with me everywhere. (Therefore, I will aim to not take Him into dark and sinful places.) I do not have to fear because He goes before me to clear my path, stands behind me, and walks beside me as I travel through this life. I am never left exposed, bare, or vulnerable to anyone because I am clothed in His strength and majesty.
- I will surrender and forfeit every aspect of my life and submit every thought in my head to Him, His Will, and His Word. I will work with diligence to uphold His Word in my every thought and action and I will bring before Him every darkness and transgression I create so that they may be rebuked, be healed, and be perfected.
- I will endeavour to fill my time with productive tasks and cast off the chains of idleness. I will remember that, in all things, I work for God and not for man.
- I will cultivate humility, compassion, and patience in my life because that is the example my Lord has given me.
- I will live a life of more than just planning. I will take action - because my God is an active God!
- I will remember that my marriage is the single most important relationship in my life, second only to my relationship with Christ. I will be ever conscious that it is the flesh-and-blood example of my Spiritual covenant with Christ. Therefore, I will purpose to love my husband as Christ and as Christ loves me - because the three of us are intertwined into one fiber, never to be broken by earthly hands. My husband is my own flesh and I will treat him with great care, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. I will also stand by him and support him in all seasons of life and work to renew our relationship daily.
It only took fifteen minutes, and when I was finished I realized what it was. It was the mission statement that I had agonized over for hours upon hours stretched over many years, that very statement that I had tried to force out so many times! And here it had flowed so easily as God's Word guided my hand! Once I had realigned my perspective, there it had poured out, as effortlessly as water from a glass! And, as I'm sure you have guessed, this one sings!