It is reasonable to assume, that because we are different, we have different life experiences, perceptions, and even DNA to both prepare us for and take us down different life paths. It also seems reasonable that that those very experiences and our unique DNA will propel us into different futures.
As suggested in a prior blog, “We have connections that take us back, and interestingly, connections that propel us forward.”
My wife and I recently made the permanent move from warm California to often chilly Colorado. As I look up from my home office desk, I see snow. Gentle flakes starting to cover the green pine trees as they move easily from side to side in the early morning wind. The snow is a meaningful reminder of my growing up in Michigan. I can still “feel” my mother putting on my mittens as I went off to school. I remember making snow angels by the front entrance of Oakdale Christian School. I remember trudging home for lunch through the mounds of snow with my friend Chuck. I remember delivering papers on my paper route when the snow was so high I could hardly carry my bag full of them. And more recently, I “remember” buying a “snow thrower" on Thanksgiving Eve from Sears.
All those memories “jump up” into my current reality. They all add meaning and certainly remembrance. They have shaped my life and give it meaning. They shape my life and propel it forward. Yes, I’ll have to go forward and actually use the snow thrower.
It is events like these, on a horizontal level, that create the DNA of Meaning for each of us.
The DNA of Meaning?
Let’s explore that a bit. A basic definition of DNA is:
- The fundamental and distinctive characteristics or qualities of someone or something, especially when regarded as unchangeable
- The biological instructions that make each species unique.
The ‘meanings” we create, or the circumstances in which meaningful and memorable experiences are created, bring both joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, guidance and chaos to our lives. The DNA of Meaning provides the context which our emotions prompt our actions and our minds prompt our process.
When I was 6 our family, including my mom Grace and my father Henry, made the journey from Michigan to Zeist, Netherlands. Without giving too much of my age away, it was in 1946. And yes, that was a long time ago. That being said, the trip is as fresh in my mind as my recent trip to Laos. The 11 month journey was prompted by my dad’s research for his Doctorate from the University of Michigan. We went all the way to England on the Queen Elizabeth, the sister ship to the Queen Mary currently docked in Long Beach, California. The year spent in the Netherlands was so impactful and eventful that it will take a book of blogs to cover the experience. Suffice it to say, the experience changed my life. It set a table of expectations, remembrances, and emotional connections that play themselves out to this very day.
It is the emotional connection we have with people, places and things that create memorable moments in our lives and shapes our DNA of Meaning.
How does the DNA of Meaning connect with the need to put a Future-Funded Ministry Plan in place?
In order for any future action to become a priority, an actionable item, it must have enough meaning, enough emotional connection, to actually prompt action. To prompt action NOW. Yes, to prompt action now even though the benefit may not be important until a time in the future.
How much, and what kind of meaning is sufficient to prompt action?
I believe the decisions we make and the actions we take are inextricably intertwined with the meaning we give to them. At one level we understand the need to take such action with regards to retirement planning. But on another level the Faith-Based Retirement Plan Survey suggests most don’t actually do it.
By connecting an action plan to event triggers we can embark on a journey of discovery and preparation. These steps will help us put a Future-Funded Ministry Plan in place that will allow greater freedom to follow God’s call on our lives--“to the very end”.
My hope is by sharing some of my personal journey it will prompt you to reflect on those past experiences and then begin to translate those into future expectations.
Stay tuned as we continue to plumb the depths of attaching meaning to our future actions.
There is a comment section below. Please take a moment to share your observations concerning meaning or some of your meaningful moments.
Living with Trusted Advice together,
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