By Rob Furlong
By the time you read this article 2021 will be well under way with one month having passed by already! (I just wanted to encourage you all!)
Nevertheless, it is still appropriate to ask what your plans this year are for personal growth and change and I am specifically referring to the area of your relationships.
What motivates change in us is having a picture of how we would like things to be. Once that bigger picture is established firmly in your mind then you make a commitment to start working steadily towards that picture.
I remember being greatly impacted by this concept of the bigger picture to motivate personal change as I read Gordon MacDonald’s A Resilient Life. As I read, I discovered how important this concept of the bigger picture is across all areas of my life.
Equally important however, is to be aware of the fact that we all tend to believe that once we have the big picture, things will sail along smoothly but this is not so! A big picture is a wonderful thing, provided there is a strategy to help you move towards achieving it.
I remember seeing Michelangelo’s statue of David when visiting Florence in 2011 and being amazed at the level of detail this marvelous sculptor brought to his masterful creation. Equally impressive is the fact that he completed this beloved sculpture before he had turned 30 years of age!
But it is important to remember this – what began as a picture in his mind was only completed when the last piece of marble was chiseled away. In between there was two years of hard work!
This same idea is wonderfully illustrated by an author who wrote about the construction of the East/West railroad in the second half of the 19th century, which connected the eastern states of the USA with the west. One of the great visionaries of the project was Collis Huntington who was invited to a public ceremony to celebrate the driving of the first spike. Surprisingly, he declined to attend, stating among his reasons for his non-attendance: “Anyone can drive the first spike, but there are months of labor and unrest between the first and last spike.”
The author goes on to say that in his opinion Huntington was saying, “Look; it’s great to have a big picture but let’s not celebrate until we get the job done.”
The reason I am talking about the big picture is because now is an ideal time for you to sit down quietly somewhere and do an assessment of your life, marriage and relationships.
A great place to start is to ask yourself a couple of questions:
● “What am I living for?”
● “What keeps me from a full realization of what I am living for?”
Think about these questions seriously and you will find that they are not easily answered. They require us to do some hard thinking, but in the long run they are worth asking and answering because when we do we make wise choices about the kinds of relationships we want, how we would like our marriages to be and where we can best invest our lives.
And take the time to work out how you are going to get there. Some areas to think about are:
• How can I be more present with people?
• What are some ways I can be more authentic in my relationships?
• What skills do I need to learn to be a better communicator?
In the coming year we will explore these areas together; but for now, why not give some thought to how you can improve your marriage and friendships by becoming more present with people?
A book you may find helpful is Gordon MacDonald’s A Resilient Life – it is an encouraging and practical read.
See you in a month when we talk about how to be present with people!
By Rob Furlong