As each of us look at our lives one of the foundational questions we must ask ourselves is “Where am I?” This is a deeply personal, emotional, and spiritual question. The LifeMap concept is designed to address each of these areas along with a few others while recognizing that our spiritual condition is foundational to all other aspects of our lives. This is why the theme verse of LifeMap is:
Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
The LifeMap process touches on the 7 Critical Areas of life: Vocational, Financial, Relational, Physical, Educational, Spiritual, and Emotional. In each of these 7 Critical Areas, there are 3 fundamental questions that need to be answered in order to build a LifeMap. First, Where am I? Second, Where do I want to go? Third, How do I get there?
Where am I?
Jeremiah 29:11-13 is the root and hope of the LifeMap process. The verse says: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
To know where we are in any aspect of our lives we must first seek Jesus, the author and perfecter of our lives (Hebrews 12:2). If we leave out this piece we only see dimly who we are; the more we seek Him the more we will see clearly who we are (1 Corinthians 13:12).
As we step deeper into our fellowship with God and ask ourselves where we are in each of these Critical Areas of life, God gives us a true perspective on where we are. Only in searching ourselves and seeking Him out can we build an accurate picture of where we are in life (Romans 11:33). Even then the picture remains incomplete. So we have to ask the next question.
Where do I want to go?
Reading from Proverbs 3:5-6 we find that when you – Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Knowing where we are in life is a powerful starting point and necessary for the next phase of the LifeMap process. Man can choose his paths, but ultimately God will establish our ways (Proverbs 16:9). It is far easier to follow God’s path in life (Proverbs 19:21) than our own and at the heart of each Phase of the LifeMap process is prayer (Psalm 25:4-5; James 1:5). Walking through the 7 Critical Areas of life in this way brings a clarity of purpose and a promise of His support and encouragement (Joshua 1:9) always.
After determining the path we would like to take, creating a plan to make it happen is the next step.
Establishing a foundation of where you are in life and determining where you want to go remains fruitless without a plan for how to get there. In Ecclesiastes 7:8 it says: The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.
God cares about both our beginnings and our endings, but results are important to Him too. When all three phases of the LifeMap are worked through with a humble and willing heart to listen to the plans God has for us, our lives will change. They will change in ways we never imagined and they will change in ways that honor God (Romans 12:2).
Applying the LifeMap process to 7 Critical Areas
Each of the 7 Critical Areas is based on a critical aspect of our lives that our Lord deeply cares about and desires for us to cultivate.
We read in 1 Colossians 1:9-10 – And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
The LifeMap process moves us through 7 Critical Areas of life asking where we are in each area.
Vocationally: Genesis 2:15 – The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
- God desires that we create and cultivate, responsibly caring for the external (our families, jobs, things) and internal (our hearts and minds) parts of our lives.
- Jesus desires that we honor and grow the talents he has given us (Matthew 25:14-30).
- He desires that we do our work for Him not for man. Because of this, the LifeMap process helps us to find our passion and to work in that passion for Him (Colossians 3:23).
Financially: Matthew 6:21 – For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
- The LifeMap process challenges our perspective and will open our eyes to where our hearts are as it relates to money.
- God wants us to be a good steward of our belongings and money (Proverbs 27:23-24)
- God desires we use our money for our family (1 Timothy 5:8), the poor (Proverbs 19:17; Matthew 6:3-4), and to give cheerfully from our abundance or little (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
Relationally: John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
- Jesus serves as the greatest example of sacrifice, the greatest friend, and greatest lover of our souls.
- The LifeMap process forces us to ask ourselves about the health of all of our relationships and the example we are setting.
- The LifeMap process challenges us to “consider how we may spur one another on…” (Hebrews 10:24-25), to be truthful (Matthew 5:37), to build trust (Proverbs 3:5-6), to be a better communicator (Ephesians 4:29, Psalm 19:14), and to be grateful (Psalm 23).
Physically: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
- The LifeMap process helps each of us to see that our bodies are a temple and that when we take care of it, we are honoring God.
- We are to discipline our bodies (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) like a boxer or runner.
- We are to honor God with whatever we eat or drink (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Educationally: Proverbs 4:13 – Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.
- The LifeMap process helps us to see the value of education (Proverbs 9:9-10) and the simplicity of obtaining it (James 1:5).
- God desires we seek wisdom to preserve our lives (Ecclesiastes 7:12) and there has never been a better time to find wisdom and knowledge than now.
- The LifeMap process helps you to seek the knowledge and wisdom.
Spiritually: Romans 10:9 – If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
- Fundamentally, the design of the LifeMap process leads you to a closer relationship with Jesus or to starting one.
- It is designed to help you understand the simplicity of a relationship with Jesus.
- The heart of LifeMap is the spiritual aspect of our lives and recognizing our own sinful natures (Romans 3:23) and need for a Savior (Ephesians 4:8-9).
Emotionally: 2 Timothy 1:7 For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
- The LifeMap process helps us walk through our emotions of fear, shame and discouragement, sadness, joy, and love. It challenges us to see our emotions from a realistic perspective.
- The LifeMap process helps us to see fear through a different lens (Proverbs 9:10), to realize shame is a trick of the Devil, and that encouraging words stop anger in its tracks (Ephesians 4:29). It shows us that sadness and mourning are healthy in the right context (Romans 12:15).
- Finally, the LifeMap process helps us to grow our joy through the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and walks us through the scriptural definition of love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) challenging us to live by this definition.
The LifeMap process as a whole is about fully recognizing ourselves in all 7 Critical Areas of life, trusting the plan and path God has for our lives, using the talents He has given us, and being accountable to the people we most trust and accountable to God in following his plans for our “hope and future.”
“The outward goals of our lives will be easier to accomplish and have greater impact when the inward transformation of our hearts and minds comes first.” – Kyle Gillette