Many people struggling to gain control of their lives cling to things they should really let go. Out of fear or desperation, they won’t let go of the familiar or surrender the past in order to grab hold of the future. I understand, because sometimes letting go feels like falling hopelessly through the air or sinking rapidly to the bottom of the ocean.
Do you remember those monkey bars on your childhood playground? The bars were spaced just far enough apart that to grab onto the next one, you had to completely let go of the first one. It took willpower and faith to be suspended in the air for a split second as you swung toward the next bar.
In the same way, if you’re going swing into your future, you must garner the faith to let go of what you’re clinging to—all your justifications and excuses.
Learn to let go.
“Get yourself together” is a phrase that many of us have heard at one point or another. But getting yourself together actually starts when you disconnect from things and people that keep you attached to a lifestyle or culture you have outgrown— when you discard certain behaviors and habits that keep you connected to an old mindset, an old season, or an old paradigm. It requires divesting yourself of certain things that keep you tied to your past so you can adequately prepare for your future.
A soldier named Mike was returning from the Korean War. Mike stood on the stern of the ship at twilight trying to imagine what life would be like back in the States. Soon he started noticing things floating in the water, but he couldn’t quite make out what they were. Then, one thing flew through the air, whooshing by him and splash-landing in the ocean. Then another flew by, and another. Suddenly he realized these were shoes, socks, shirts, coats, undershorts, canteens, and mess gear—things his fellow soldiers were throwing overboard. Everyone longed for a new beginning. As much as was humanly possible, those soldiers were letting go of what defined their past.
Reorder your day.
Your future comes one day at a time. Time management is not about stuffing all the activities you can into a twenty-four-hour day. “Time management” is a misnomer because technically you cannot manage time. Instead, you can manage your activities according to specific time frames, which is the art of making every moment of every day count.
Ordering your day requires you to discern between what is busywork and what is business. As with any financial investment, you must ask what kind of return your time investments are yielding. Time spent is a cost, and you must be mindful of the benefit you are exchanging for the cost you are incurring.
Don’t miss this point: Everything in the universe has a place. This is the precursor to order. Do not miss out on the rewards that come with bringing order to every area of your life and the environment in which you live and work. Order is what gives you the freedom to be creative. Order gives you the peace of mind you need to tap into inspiration.
Don’t let your day control you; control your day. You can do this with order. Without order you will be distracted with the cares and concerns of this life so that you cannot still your mind.
Order is not about adding more things to your to-do list.
This will only add more stress to your life. It is impossible to imagine the possibilities or envision alternative outcomes when you are overextended and stressed. You need to schedule time to purposefully paint the canvas of your life by investing in creative dreaming.
Invest in time to think, to craft a vision of the life you want today and of the tomorrow you would like to live. Order that tomorrow in your mind. Visualize every detail of it. Order your day so you have the time and space you need to place the brush strokes on the masterpiece of your life. Make certain that you have scheduled time for meditation, journaling, and imagining.
Skill and discipline divide the successful and productive from the unsuccessful and unproductive. Once you have written out a vision for your life, you will be future focused. Being future focused will enable you to identify time wasters and time-wasting activities. Get rid of all the activities and interpersonal dealings that waste your time. Sever your relationship with distractions, which include people and activities that do not bring a return on your investment. Set actionable goals for your week that include an exercise routine and special projects.
You have been given the opportunity to create a masterpiece with your life. You will not have better tomorrows if you don’t make the most of your todays—and say goodbye to your yesterdays.
To get what you’ve never had, you must do what you have never done and go where you have never been. So push yourself. Your next push may be the one that advances you that fraction of a second that gets you to your dream. Everything you ever wanted lies just outside your comfort zone.
This is an adapted excerpt from Goodbye, Yesterday!: Activating the 12 Laws of Boundary-Defying Faith. Copyright ©2020 Published by Charisma House. Used by permission.