If we want to change the world, we must start with ourselves. Of all the goals that you can set in your life and all the paths you can take, the goals that are the most important are goals that inwardly transform us. Dr. Richard Foster explains it this way in his book, Celebration of Discipline, “Let us be among those who believe that the inner transformation of our lives is a goal worthy of our best effort.” I say yes and amen to this. But how do we do this? I believe it starts with following God’s plan for your life.
Inner and Outward Transformation Starts With God
The outward goals of my life will be easier to accomplish and have greater impact when the inward transformation of my heart and mind comes first. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” The work of inner transformation comes from an even deeper place than ourselves. Through inner transformation –allowing God to guide our hearts and minds– the beautiful and unique result is a life aligned with His will. Alignment with God will always lead to transformation in our private lives and the bearing of fruit in our public lives.
Whenever we align our life and goals –as best as we can– with God’s will, we will find much greater success than when we depart from God’s plans. Leo Tolstoy says, “Everybody thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of changing himself.” Changing humanity is a lofty goal, yet if we impact just one person’s life today, we are changing humanity! So how do we do this?
When God’s inward transformation happens in our lives, then and only then, can we begin to make an impact that is lasting. Maybe even an eternal difference. This starts with our inner circles of family and close friends and then, as opportunities arise, our impact reaches beyond these circles. The LifeMap process gives us a guide to the inward and outward impact of our transformation. It gives us a way to review these heart and mind changes from a concrete place.
Inner Transformation Through The LifeMap
The first way that God transforms our lives is through a loving relationship with him. When we view our relationship with God as a deep friendship (with a perfectly loving and forgiving friend), we can then pursue this friendship by asking the three questions from the LifeMap process: Where am I in my relationship with God? Where do I want to go in this relationship? and How am I going to get there?
As with any relationship, they deepen through time spent together. With God, it is no different. For example, we can spend time praying, spend time singing, and spend time with other people who love God. The net result is a change of hearts and minds. As this happens, we can continue to ask the three LifeMap questions to grow in our relationship. Helping us to understand how our lives have been changed and where we are headed.
As a result of these changes and experiences, we will begin to see the direction God wants our lives to take. The more time we spend with friends in our lives, the closer we get to them, and the better we understand what they want and need. In a similar way, we learn how God wants to use us. Over time the inner transformation turns into outward actions that begin to impact other people in profound ways.
Then we can go back to the LifeMap questions and use them as a guide for our next steps. Mapping out plans that will make a difference in our lives and those around us. All the while being confident that the plans we make will line up with God’s.
In my experience, this has always resulted in far greater success than when I make plans of my own. Combining the practical of the LifeMap questions with the faith found in Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” results in inner transformation and great impact on those around me.