Have you ever had the fear of missing out? You wait to leave a party or event because you fear the fun bus is always just one block away? Have you woken up in the middle of the night and lost sleep because you fear you made a dreadful mistake? Sometimes this is just us always wanting more…but other times they are honest fears.

Everyday people are missing out on how life can be awesome.

Let me tell you the biggest reason I think people miss out.

People miss out on the future because people fail to plan for the future.

It’s that simple. For things to be the way you want them to be…the simplest answer is to plan for the life you are called too. The fancy language is “preferred future” and it is just that. A future that is what you want it to be. Now you can’t anticipate the curve balls but you can most certainly practice hitting them.

Over the last few weeks at St. Paul’s I have been elbow deep in a preaching series called “Future: Living into our preferred future”. You can imagine these ideas have been sitting in my head for longer than a couple of days.

I think it is important for us to realize there are two kinds of future.

The first is the unplanned future. This is what happens to us when we resign to simply go with the flow. When we don’t learn to anticipate we have to improvise. Whatever is thrown at us is the way things are supposed to go. Sometimes it ends up alright. Other times it might end up dreadful.

I don’t believe this is how we are supposed to go through life, both as individuals and organizations.

The second type of future is the planned (preferred) future. This happens when people honestly come to a goal (or a set of goals) because they honestly think it is a call. This doesn’t happen easily or instantly. It happens when you put your knees on the ground and your eyes in scripture. It happens by asking hard questions to yourself and the people who know you best. When all this is said and done, we can emerge with a picture of what we think God wants our life to look like. We can then just takes steps backward and evaluate how to get there.

It’s hard work. Hard work stops many people.

If you think there isn’t a spiritual example for a planned life, let me point out a few examples.

Nehimiah knew very well he had to do something. He wasn’t exactly sure what it would look like, but he was willing to jump headlong into it. He asked and he planned. Then he pulled it all off.

David knew God needed a home, a place where His name and presence could dwell. The Lord told him he wouldn’t be the one to do it, David’s son would. That didn’t stop David. He stored up supplies and made the necessary political arrangements for Solomon to build the temple.

Paul’s ministry was motivated by singular focus and his understanding of calling. He adapted constantly but never let his eyes drift from what he had to do. He knew his life needed to be directed in a certain way and there was eternal consequences.

I don’t want you to miss out on what life could be like…not a life you design for yourself, but a life God has created and molded you for. The biggest personal fulfillment any of us can have is when we know we are living in the middle of the call and will of God Almighty. When we just give ourselves over to coasting through things we are missing out on the life God wants and calls us for. He never intended on things to be dull, boring and lifeless.

So put it down on paper today. Name one thing you know you need to do and figure out how to get there.