Structure Your Life
When you're recently hired into a well-organized company, you are told the core values, principles, and rules of engagement as an employee. You may have attended a two to three-day orientation, teaching you how that organization functions. In some cases, the precepts are provided in simple nuggets, with acronyms, or with the use of critical terms, letters, and symbols for ease of memory. You're given a structure to follow, a guide for how to be the best employee you can be. Contrarily, when hired into a disorganized company with little orientation, no perceived culture, and absent guidance, you may be frustrated and find meeting your goals challenging to achieve. Proverbs 29:18 reminds us that where there is no vision, the people perish. The vision of a well-structured organization, with clarity on how to execute the said vision, is key to success.
Likewise, in your life, having structure is key to success. There are many schools of thought on how best to put form to one's life. I've studied some of these, reading from John Maxwell to Mark Batterson, Myles Munroe, and Rick Warren's classic. There is not a one-size-fits-all model. What I will caution, as you should expect from me, is that whatever you key in to be based on the undiluted Word of God. You are welcome to create a model for yourself, but permit me to share what I am currently using, which also continues to morph day-in, day-out.
The 6 F's to Life
Up until three weeks ago, it was 5 F's to life. The 6th, which is truly important, was missing because I hadn't found the right word to have it fit into my obnoxious desire for consistency, keeping the letter F across the board. I attempt to live my life in these sectors: Faith, Fitness, Family, Focus (my calling), Finance, & Friends (Fellowship).
Faith: What you believe in is your Faith. For me, Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, says Hebrews 11 verse one. Faith believes when wisdom, knowledge, and understanding defiles the expected outcome. Faith is walking on water with no other support but The Word of God (Matthew 14: 22-23). Faith is putting your only son upon the chopping block to be slaughtered when you were promised to father many nations through him (Genesis 22). Faith is my relationship with God. My Faith is built on The Word of God. My Faith is my core, my foundation, and my why.
Fitness: Fitness is my relationship with myself (mental & physical health). Our body (mind and physical) is the only real engine we control. You cannot control what other people eat, say, or do in most cases, but you do have control over what your hand feeds your mouth and what your ears and eyes feed your mind. Physical and Mental health is key to success. Putting some structure around caring for both your physical and mental health is paramount to your ability to execute other sectors of your life.
Family: I define family as your immediate family. Your family is your spouse and children (if you have either or both). If you don't, your siblings or parents are those you consider your family. Family are people who will always be in your corner, no matter what. They are the ones you can loan a couple of hundred dollars from when you've overdrawn your account from weekend expenses; they are the loved ones who check on you and talk for half an hour with no direction- simple charter, it'll seem. The socioecological model, a theory supported in sociology and psychology, teaches five levels of engagement to impact personal and societal change. The second level is the intrapersonal level, which encourages social/family support for change. Family support is not only pertinent to personal growth but also societal development.
Focus: This is the one I recently added to the circle of Fs. Your Focus is God's calling upon your life. His plans and purposes for the talent, gifts, and personal experiences He has given you to be a blessing to others. Is it music, the ability to bring people together, the gift of oration, the talent to breakdown complex information into simple terms, or the fine motor skills of fetal neurosurgery? Your focus could also be called your purpose, better yet, God's purpose for your life. Using particular examples, if I may, John Maxwells' is teaching (simplifying the complex for ease of understanding), Michael Jordan's is entertainment in sports, Frank Sinatra is music through voice. Everyone has a focus, whether acknowledged or not. How you structure your life to deliver on that focus is a determining factor to personal life success.
Finance: Finance is your relationship with your resources, primarily your money. How you build your personal finance department and what level of attention you give determines where you spend your time in our current climate. When used appropriately, money is a great tool that enhances the welfare of many. Putting some structure into how your money is earned, kept, grown, and then spent (I hope you caught that order) is integral to putting an order to your life.
Friends (Fellowship): The relationship you have with close friends, including extended family, has a determining factor in how far you go. If you want to go fast, go alone; however, go together if you're going to go far. How you pick the right circle, the appropriate network, the correct association plays a role in what doors might be opened or closed before you. Indeed, the only one that has the power over your destiny is God, but it'll be ignorant to think He hasn't put the keys to that door into the hand of a human; treat people right.
Having said all that, I encourage you to consider structure around your day, your week, your month, your years, and your life (in general). Now you may be the type that "thrives in chaos," more power to you. But I had to find a cadence for personal sanity, knowing, plugging new opportunities into one of these six buckets, and assessing whether that bucket is full and robbing others of their due time. Having structure keeps me balanced, gives me something to recalibrate at the end of the day or the crack of dawn.
Please don't wait until one sector creates chaos in your equilibrium before giving it its due attention. Structure your life, and carve out time for each of the 6 F's as deemed appropriate. Know that one may require more attention than another at various times, but be mindful of where all sectors are. To do that, you have to have created these areas and plugged things in them for clarity. Please spend time thinking about your current structure and validate your commitment to them in this season of your life.