The day has arrived for you to depart. You’re finally ready to head out or, in some cases, re-head out into the world. Your whole life has been spent preparing for the journey. Your car is packed, and you have everything you need. All the instructions from 12-18 years of instructors. All the advice your parents and friends could provide. You may even have a new vehicle to start your journey. You have everything except one thing: a destination.
Sounds silly. Yet how many of us start out our adult life with a mental destination? A destination that once there, you would never want to leave. A place where you would wake up excited about what each day holds for you. You can’t believe you actually get paid to be there. A place I call Joyville.
Joyville is that place where you are alive, using your God given talents, doing what you love. As Confucius put it: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Imagine waking up each day, dropping to your knees, and thanking God for what you get to do that day. Pretty sweet! Now contrast that with last Monday or Wednesday morning.
Without identifying your Joyville, you start your journey without a destination. Without a destination any road will do. And when faced with a difficult fork in the road, the easy route will usually win out.
Think of Joyville as Seattle, and you are starting out in Fairhope, Alabama. You know the general direction and you can probably develop a gameplan to get there. Here’s the challenge: Seattle is farther away than your resources will take you. You will probably have to stop and find temporary work to afford all the gas and expenses necessary to get there. Plus, even the best plans usually encounter unexpected roadblocks and detours. You may find yourself heading east in Arkansas to find an open road in Tennessee that will allow you to turn and head northwest.
You may encounter a funeral procession that slows you down. You may leave something in Kansas and have to go back to get it. Nevertheless, as long as you know where Joyville is located, you can always turn toward it whenever the opportunity presents itself. When you remember why you are going to Joyville, you can handle setbacks, detours, road closures, wrecks, and gas shortages.
So do you know your Joyville? If not, here are some steps to help you identify your destination and get back on the road.
1) Spend 10 minute first thing each morning and right before falling asleep asking God to reveal to you the plans He has for you. Ask for insight into your gifts, talents, and joys. Prayer connects you to the Creator who developed a Joyville for each of us.
2) Search out online tests that can help you identify your gifts, talents, and aptitudes. I provide a number of these assessments including the Myers Briggs Talent Indicator through www.pro356consulting.com.
3) Spend a week or a month dreaming about your ideal life. Spend 15-30 minutes a day in a quiet place, preferably with your eyes closed, visualizing your perfect day. What would you be doing? Who would you be doing it with? What would your workspace or environment look like? Dreaming, or meditation, is actually listening for the Creator’s response to your prayers.
4) Start writing down your ideas and thoughts about what Joyville will look like for you. This may include an industry, or it may be just a job description. Keep in mind that your goal is to describe a day where you wake up excited about your daily plans, and you feel embarrassed someone is paying you to do them.
5) Once you have identified your Joyville, start listing all the obstacles you foresee between where you are now and your arrival at Joyville. List two responses for each obstacle.
6) Complete the following statement and put in on your bathroom mirror: Today in Joyville, I will do the following activities: ______________________________________________________.
Read it daily.
You are now ready to back out the driveway and get on your journey. And if you’ve been on the road for a while, you now have a revised map to correct your course and continue on with your journey.
By beginning with the end in mind, all the obstacles seem smaller, less important, and the detours are less of a big deal. Taking a temporary job to get more gas money and get back on the road is not so depressing. And the excited anticipation you emanate when on the road is contagious to all with whom you come into contact. In fact, people will often move out of your way and actually help you get there.
On my journey, after too much trial and error, I discovered a great driving aid, a universal GPS. My God Planning System is found in Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”[i]
And here’s my prayer for you on your journey: May you come to realize that the journey to Joyville is far more important than arriving. As Robert Frost observed, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”[ii]
YOUR BEST IS AHEAD,
[i] The Holy Bible, New International Version. New York: American Bible Society
[ii] Frost, Robert. “The Road Not Taken”, Mountain Interval. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1920