>Have you ever paused on the journey through life and wondered if you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing, living the life you’re supposed to live? I most certainly have. I’ve often looked back at the meandering path my life’s taken, wondered at the unexpected joys I’ve experienced around one turn, speculated on what might have been if I’d traveled a different route.
Looking back is one thing. Look ahead, especially as the years pile up, and you may begin to question your choices and direction.
- Have I left my mark in the world?
- What should I or could I have done differently?
- If I had made different choices at certain points in my life, would I have missed some of the really wonderful things that have happened?
If you are dissatisfied, it’s not too late to accomplish some of your goals or achieve a few of your youthful dreams. You just have to take action NOW, before it is too late.
A few weeks ago, I read a book called Chazown by Craig Groeschel. The title is pronounced khaw-ZONE; it’s the Hebrew word for vision. Groeschel is a Christian minister, Waterbrook Multnomah is a Christian book division of Random House, and the book’s focus is on finding God’s purpose for your life.
I’m not a very religious person; I have beliefs, but I don’t go to church, and I’m not much for God talk. However, the kind folks at Waterbrook Multnomah invited me to join their “Blogging for Books” program, and who am I to turn down the opportunity for a free book to read? That said, if you’re a deeply spiritual person, you will find this book to be a detailed guide on figuring out what you should do next in your life. If you’re not deeply spiritual, or if you are a deeply spiritual follower of a non-Christian religion, if you are able to get past the God talk, you will find good advice on finding purpose to drive you through the rest of your life.
The cover of Chazown, in addition to the title and author, features three short sentences:
- Define Your Vision.
- Pursue Your Passion.
- Live Your Life on Purpose.
The book begins by asking you to write your obituary. If you died today, what would people say about you? What have you accomplished? Have you changed the world around you? Have you been a positive influence on the lives of your friends, family or total strangers?
See, that’s one of the things I’ve been thinking about the past few years. As I mentioned, I’m 45, and the day when my obituary will be published is rushing towards me. Yikes! If I want it to be a good one, I’d better get cracking.
But where to begin?
Craig Groeschel says you should start at the end. Write the obituary you want. Do you want your loved ones to remember you for the time you spent working late at the office, the hours you spent posting photos on Facebook, the mundane cell phone conversations (“What are you doing?”). Or do you want to be the person who taught children self respect and responsibility by coaching a ball team or volunteering at your local school? Do you want to be remembered for raising money for your favorite charity? Collecting coats for the homeless? Giving your time and talents to renovate a community center?
See, you can’t just say, “I want to be remembered for helping people.” That’s too vague. You need a specific goal, and then you know what you have to do to achieve that goal.
In his book, Groeschel helps you create a specific plan so that instead of living life each day as it comes, you live it with a purpose. Each short, easy-to-read chapter helps you narrow down the choices and focus your vision.
- First, you’ll define your core values (examples: loyalty to family, passion for justice), identify your spiritual gifts (giving, teaching, service), and realize how your past experiences (a menial job, an oops moment) have prepared you for the road ahead.
- The next step is to identify where those three areas overlap, identify your Chazown, and set down a focused description in a few words.
- Next, the book helps you analyze five key areas in your life now: your relationship with God, relationships with people, financial situation, your health, and your work; and helps you relate them to the accomplishment of your Chazown.
Along the way, Groeschel shares stories from his own life, examples from his parishioners and friends, that show you how these esoteric ideas apply in real life. Key thoughts are set apart from the rest of the text so they’re easy to identify. Each section is summarized with review questions, kind of like in a textbook, to help you think through and retain what you’ve just read. The book also contains an appendix of worksheets, and throughout the book, you’re referred to extra support materials on The Chazown Experience website.
This book will help you look at your life with a critical eye and guide you towards living with meaning and purpose. Maybe you’re just starting out in life, or you’re coming through a bad period and need to make positive changes, or perhaps you’re frustrated and unsatisfied with your accomplishments. If you read this book with thoughtfulness and intent, you will learn about yourself and find ways to lead a more fulfilling life.
I received a review copy of Chazown through Waterbrook Multnomah’s “Blogging for Books” program. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.