Where to begin
If you have never attempted this before you might be asking, “Where do you start when developing a personal growth plan?”
There is no single way, but a wise person stated that you cannot move forward into the future without a clear understanding of where you are in the present.
This is true in your personal growth.
So I begin with an honest assessment of where your life is right now. I recommend you focus on your spiritual life, family (marriage and children), finances, and personal life. As a believer you have the Holy Spirit to help you with this.
Often I’ll ask him to show me where I really am, not where I think I am. Here are some thoughts and questions I use to assess my life.
Where are you right now in the key areas of your life?
Ask God to reveal what He is working on in your life. It’s pretty easy to see our failures and make a long list of ways you want to improve. The primary goal of a life assessment is to discover what God is working on in your life and cooperate with him.
Be honest. What I mean is this, depending on your personality temperament you will see things better than they really are or worse. I tend to be optimistic and always see things better. So I have to “get real”. I have found that brutal honesty actually helps me grow.
Be specific. The less vague you are and the more specific you can be in each area, the greater potential for growth. For example, “my devotional life stinks”, may be true, but is not at all specific. You will get more traction with, “my quiet times are inconsistent and my mind wanders when ever I try to pray.” Or, “I’m $8,000 in credit card debt and have no savings”, will serve you much better than “my finances are a mess”.
Write your thoughts down. You will be able to clarify your current condition when you put your thoughts on paper.
Here are some areas I find helpful to assess:
Worship -am I giving God his rightful place or have I let idols come in to take his place somewhere?
Devotional Life – what does my devotional life look like, in the Word, prayer, fasting, spiritual development, spiritual retreats, etc? How is my connection with God?
Relationships – If you are married, how am I relating to my spouse? What is our current relationship lacking? Same for my children. Singles, you can ask these same questions about other family or close friends.
Finances – Where am I in relation to my finances? Are they mastering me or am I mastering them? Do I have an adequate plan for now and the future?
Personal Development – How do I take care of my own soul, mind and body? Think about what books you read, relationships you intentionally build for friendship or mentoring, and your physical health and fitness.
This is the more difficult part in this process because you intuitively know these things are not where you want them, and it can be painful to see exactly where they are. But, that is ok, God does not intend to leave you there.
Like the day you realized you were a sinner in need of Christ, it was both painful yet hopeful and joyful, so this assessment holds the promise of transformation.
You are identifying the areas God wants to make new by the power of Christ in you.