8 Lanes of Living: Spiritual Life

              Welcome to our 10-week study into Living a Life of Excellence.  For a quick review of what it means to live a life of excellence, why we should care about doing so, and how to go about getting there, simply read last week’s edition of Digging Deeper.  As we strive to rise above mediocrity in our own lives, remember with me The Law of Entropy: left unattended, everything naturally flows to a state of disorder.  This is why most Americans dream big dreams, but live paycheck to paycheck.  If we want to do more than just survive life, we must be willing to go against the grain and go out of our way to create an environment for ourselves where we are positioned to enjoy life to the fullest and actually experience fulfillment. 

             We wrapped up last week with the discussion of your own personal definition of success.  As I shared, I believe that success means something different to everyone, but because most of us never stop to get clear on what it means to us, we float through life trying to live out other people’s definition of success…and we wonder why we don’t feel completely satisfied.  It can be very challenging to hit a moving target, but its darn near impossible to hit an invisible one.  This is where our 8 Lanes of Living come into the picture: Spiritual Life, Family Life, Professional Life, Personal Development, Physical Health, Financial Health, Social Life, and Community Involvement.  So, how can we use the 8 lanes to create our own personal definition of success? 

             One week at a time, we’re going to examine each of these lanes in an effort to gain clarity on exactly what we want our life to look like.  By doing so, we can finally eliminate that vague feeling of frustration in our life and replace it with total exhilaration and clarity of purpose.  Once we’ve defined how we want each area to look individually, we’ll come back at the end and examine them in their proper perspective in relation to one another as 8 individual lanes on one big highway.  If life is a highway, we’ve got to get all 8 lanes flowing in the same direction—otherwise, we’re stuck in a perpetual traffic jam.  As we devote these next several weeks to each individual lane, I want you to keep one word in mind: synergy.  Synergy means the combined efforts are greater than the sum of the individual parts.  That is precisely what we’re going to create as we define a crystal clear picture of the life we want to live.  As we examine each category, here is how you’re going to create your own personal definition of success: I want you to picture a bullseye—the dead center of a target.  What would each lane of your life look like if you were living in the dead center—the bullseye—of your potential and desire for that particular category?  What would each area need to look like for you to be totally pleased, proud, and satisfied in that lane?  As we move through each week, I’ll ask you some questions and give you some things to think about as you brainstorm (or “dream-storm”) your life.  Remember, start with the end in mind.  Are you ready? 

             Let’s jump in to the first lane of life—your Spiritual Life.  Most successful people that I have studied, regardless of their religious beliefs, will tell you that this one category is the nucleus for everything else.  If this one isn’t settled, you’ll never feel truly fulfilled.  So, what does having a strong spiritual life look like to you?  What are your beliefs?  What would your life look like as you lived out those beliefs to the fullest extent of your desire and capability? 

              Because this category is really the core of who we are, we must stop and take a good hard look at the core of our belief systems.  This lane becomes the lens through which we examine the other seven lanes of our life.  It serves as a filter on how we process our beliefs and values in every other area.  Your spiritual beliefs help determine your priorities in life—and your priorities on a daily basis.  As with every area of life, its easy to get lazy here.  Its easy to “think” we believe something or “say” we believe it, but amidst the hustle and bustle, we don’t actually live out those beliefs to the extent we would like to.  In other words, are we “walking the walk,” or just “talking the talk”?  So, don’t beat yourself up for slipping off-center, so to speak, just really allow yourself to think in relation to your Spiritual Life: What would it look like if you were living in the dead center of your potential and desire?  What would need to change for you to be totally pleased, proud, and satisfied with your Spiritual Life? 

             Let me give you some examples to help explain how you would apply this in a practical way to your everyday situation.  My personal spiritual beliefs serve as my filter for how I conduct myself and make decisions in every other aspect of life.  Anyone who knows me at all will be quick to tell you that I am far from perfect, I mess up all the time, and I am often kicking myself immediately after doing something that does not properly align with my spiritual values.  But my spiritual beliefs also allow me to quickly ask for forgiveness, regroup and move on, rather than beating myself up with guilt or living in perpetual defeat.  Based on my spiritual beliefs, I have absolute certainty on my source of hope, joy, protection, peace, and guidance through life, and I know where my definition of success in this area is rooted.  I don’t believe that everyone must share my beliefs, but it’s important to understand how our Spiritual Life beliefs, whatever they may be, have an influence over all of the other life decisions we make. 

             For you to really feel total fulfillment in life, I encourage you to search for and find clarity in this category.  Carve out some time to write out your definition of success in your Spiritual Life this week, and we’ll pick up with your Family Life next time.

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