I think most anyone who is STRIVING to get ahead in their careers (or their life – in general), probably is doing it subconsciously… like it comes to them automatically…without even “trying on purpose.” The bigger issue is rather, or not, they are really getting ahead. If “it” is in automatic gear…maybe “it’s” not getting them where they’d like to be. Maybe their CAREER is STALLED. Think, then, what it would be like, if we “strived-on-purpose.” Sure, many people do strive on purpose; but I’m not talking to them, rather… to those who need a “push,” or encouragement on most of what they strive for.
If the guy who is in “automatic,” NEEDS to be pushed, then likely, he’s not really going anywhere…rather, just spinning his wheels. So, how does one get ahead “on-purpose? Well, to start with, he NEEDS a plan-of-action (POA). He needs to determine EXACTLY where he wants to go (in his career, or project), how he is going to get there, and under what SPECIFIC criteria. A POA is not some “willy-nilly” idea that you just throw out there on the table. It is a specific PLAN of ACTION…. One that is a great detail. To form a POA, one MUST “map-out” all of the variables that he might encounter.
If you were going on a 30-day expedition. Specifically, what would you take with you? You would need the various “tools of the trade.” You would need the “supplies” necessary to survive, and fulfill the needs of a 30-day trip for all of the participants. You would need the appropriate clothing, the appropriate vehicle, know exactly where the gas supplies would come from. If it were by boat, then exactly which ports would you stop? So, you see, there would be many details that would have to be planned out.
It works the EXACT way if you’re going through an academic program. Specific courses, and time frames, are required for completion…. All in their proper sequence. On top of all of this; we must LEARN to STRETCH to our limits. Do you like playing golf, tennis, or bridge, with someone inferior to your skill-sets; or would you prefer to play with someone that CHALLENGES you to do your best?
Well, STRETCHING to our limits, would be one of those necessary ingredients to a SUCCESSFUL career. Once we determine all the criteria of our “goal,” then make sure that the goal is possible to achieve. For an example: don’t set a goal that is “totally out of reach” of reality. While one cannot always have control of the “goal-setting” process; but it would be good if he were allowed that type of input. So, the two things I want to leave you with are STRIVING-on-PURPOSE, and to STRETCH-to-your-LIMITS.
How might these same two criteria help us in our “spiritual-pursuits?” Take “bible-reading,” for an example. If one wants a CLOSER-RELATIONSHIP with God, then he surely ought to be reading the bible. Would you just flip through it, “willy-nilly,” or have a POA ready and waiting? There are a number of suggested plans by which one might “read the bible,” such that you would get a through exposure to God’s word. We can, as many do, just attend church for one hour per week, sing a few songs, throw a $20 in the basket, try and follow the sermon…and then, head to Sunday lunch, or an afternoon “siesta.”
Or, if we really wanted to “enhance” our relationship with Jesus, the Son of God, then we might attend other church programs, bible study, do volunteer work within the church community…all of which, would be “striving and stretching.” Most of us know the ABC’s of “worshiping God,” but do we know the “complete alphabet” of worshiping God? The later would take a bit of “striving and stretching.”
Proverbs 21:5 tell us: The plans of the diligent (Plan-of-ACTION) lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. And, Philippians 3:13-14 says: Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining (STRETCHING) forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. The Habakkuk 2:2-3 informs us: And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision (Plan-of-Action); make it plain on tablets, so he may run (Strive) who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens (Stretches) to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
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