Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Compass for When Life Gets Crazy

This cross-cultural life can get wild and crazy enough to send you into a tailspin some days. Many of you, like me, strive to balance ministry with caring for your families. Living cross-culturally can bring new challenges like language learning, fewer household conveniences, and visa paperwork. If your kids are small, caring for them can be overwhelming; if they’re teenagers, they need special encouragement to thrive and make the most of their TCK lives. Does this sound familiar to you? Do you ever struggle to keep balance?

In my Middle Eastern spot, ministry is three steps forward, two steps back. Neighbors and friends wonder what you’re doing and ask questions you can’t always answer entirely. In this relationship-oriented culture, we divide our time between encouraging believers, reaching out to mslm friends, and preserving ties with valuable old friends.

I need a compass to give me direction when life gets crazy.

That’s why I wrote a vision statement for my life two years ago.  It helps me to keep on track with priorities when life comes at me too fast.  My vision is simple, and I have seven goals to go along with it. Each day of the week, I pray for one of my goals.

Vision Statement:

I want to live for Jesus, to know Him and to make Him known through my character, actions and words. I want to remain in Him and bear fruit!

My goals:

Know God better and grow to be more like Jesus.

Love and encourage my husband.

Model God’s love to my children and help them develop into the people God is calling them to be.

Encourage and empower other believers to know God, to be like Jesus and to serve Him.

Be an ambassador for Christ, a fisher of men.

Care for myself and invest in my own growth.

Develop creative skills like writing and teaching.

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions, but every January, I love to get out my vision statement and review it. It helps me to evaluate where my time is going. Am I spending enough quality time with my kids? Have I made time to reach out to non-believers recently?

For each of my seven goals, I have a few specific baby step goals, so I review them, and sometimes add one or two to my list.  Last year scripture memory was my only new baby step goal, and this year I want to add a 10 minute Pilates session to my morning routine.

Crafting a vision statement may seem daunting to you.

I wrote mine in baby steps, one 25 minute session at a time.  I used Michael Hyatt’s Life Planbook, which encourages you to consider your passions and strengths. I didn’t pressure myself into producing a perfectly written plan. I figured an imperfectly drafted vision statement was better than NO vision statement, and I could improve it later.

Comments? Do you have a vision statement? Did you set any goals for the New Year?


Creatively Content said...

Olive, Great post. I feel like I am in a torrent rain these days...:) Guess I should sing a bit. I don't know why but your post haven't been coming up and so when I came to visit your blog today I was surprised at all the posts. Thank you for being faithful to share and encourage...

~Karen~ said...

The last several months we've been here, I haven't felt like I've been doing much ministry wise. With all the visa and residence stuff, I was just not ready to jump back in, especially if it turned out that we would need to leave.

I've now made a plan for the next three months based on a recent "Revive Our Hearts" broadcast about having a Personal Vitality Plan. Then I'll move on to the next phase at the end of March. My plan may not seem like much, but I'm already feeling that I have some direction and purpose, all for His glory!

OliveTree said...

Bless you, Karen. I don't blame you for not feeling like doing much ministry wise with all you've had going on. I think making a 3 month plan is a GREAT baby step. Good for you.

And Becky, thanks for the encouragement!

Linda said...

I'm so impressed with your vision statement and your goals and your baby steps! I am not that organized, but you have given me a good idea. I hope, hope, hope I will pursue that!

I've been praying a lot for you, sweet Olive Tree, during these months of turmoil nearby. May God wrap His loving arms of protection around you and give you His peace!


Choate Family said...

I love that you continue to nurture yourself (spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically) even while focusing on nurturing your family and those around you. Keep up the good work!

OliveTree said...

Thanks friends. Linda, thanks for the prayer. We can use all of that we can get!

us5 said...

this is excellent - so intentional! through our months in the US i realized my need for more balance, and then i visit here and see it all mapped out - 7 goals, even in the order that i'd have written them myself! thank you, Olive Tree! i'm copying this (with a few tweaks...i hope you don't mind?) and i look forward to implementing your idea of praying for one goal each day. thank you, friend, for sharing this!

OliveTree said...

No, I don't mind you copying it and personalizing it! Good luck i planning and achieving more balance!

Phyllis said...

I just downloaded the book you mentioned. I was so happy to see that it's a free ebook! I really struggle between my natural tendencies to plan and (over)think, and the actual go-with-the-flow life that I have to live. After years of learning flexibility, I think now might be the time that I can go back to some (loose) structure.