A Parable: How To Take Inventory Of Your Life

leadership spiritual growth Feb 07, 2018

Recently while I was on a run, listening to an audio book in my ear buds at the same time. This is one of my favorite things to do because I can actually focus better while running than sitting down being still. The book High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way was truly amazing. In fact you might remember seeing it referenced in my blog, Top 5 Books that Impacted Me as a Leader in 2017.

Anyways, I had finished the chapter and stopped the audio book to reflect on everything that I had just read. As I ran, my imagination started running wild with this parable that God downloaded into me, that’s literally changed my life.

Imagine that your life is a department store. Have you ever seen the show Mr. Selfridge? Oh my goodness I absolutely loved that show! A department store like Mr. Selfridge’s. For those of you who haven’t seen it, imagine a big department store like Macy’s or JCPenney.

Within a department store, there are different departments such as home goods, women’s clothing, men’s clothing, makeup, perfume, shoes, etc. Imagine that your life is a department store.

The sign on the front door of my store would read “Amber’s Life”, and inside the departments might be:

-Health (this would include my nutrition, amount of rest I’m getting, my physical exercise, etc.)
-Relationships (this could be broken down into even smaller categories like friends, marriage, family, extended family)
-Ministry (studying scripture, ministering to others, developing myself as a leader, etc.)
-Career (writing, education, sales, training, etc.)
-Spiritual (spending time listening to God, dreaming with God, being in God’s presence, etc.)
-Fun (going on dates with my husband, hanging out with friends, watching TV, reading books, etc.)

Now catch this. If you owned a department store, what do you think would happen if you had 7 departments, but you put all your time, energy, money, and manpower into only 4 departments? Your whole department store would eventually fail because of your unbalance and neglect of those departments that got the short end of the stick.

Imagine that your life is a department store. What departments does it consist of? Take an imaginary walk down the isles of the department stores that is your life. How is the quality of each department at the moment? Are any of your departments in immediate trouble? Are any of your departments displaying neglect due to lack of investment, time, or manpower? What goal can you set in your life right now to improve that department? What specific steps can you take to improve that department as soon this week?

For some, their relationships department is in shambles and they need to schedule a weekend away with their spouse.

For some, their family relationships and health have plummeted because they spent so much time working on their ministry department that they ended up neglecting the things that once made them happy.

For others, they once had education ambitions but have long forgotten that department even existed because they started a family and got so caught up in being a parent that they forgot about their own dreams.

Most of the time when I work with Christians, they talk about their lives like there are only like two departments: the worldly and the spiritual. I completely disagree with that take on life. When you are in Christ, your whole life can be committed unto the Lord as holy. When we realize this, we realize that everything we do can be an act of worship.

Neglecting all other departments of your life long term so you can fast, pray, and read your Bible doesn’t make you any more spiritual than the next person. But it will cause your life to fall in shambles. Your spiritual health can fail if you do not take care of your other departments too. Your physical health can be affected by neglecting the other departments as well.

Remember that the well being of the entire department store is impacted by the neglect of just one department even. You may be able to get by like this for a little while, but in the long run if you want to experience fulfillment, longevity of ministry, you’re going to need to acknowledge that all of these departments are vitally important to the health of the entire store, AND THAT “STORE” IS YOU.

When we neglect a department in our life, it often manifests in stress, depression, loneliness, anxiety, sadness, or a feelings of restlessness and lack of fulfillment.

Be blissed!
Amber Picota

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