Have you ever been convinced that something doesn’t work only to discover that you were doing it wrong? I drive a 2002 Ford F-150 crew cab. It has 187,000 miles on it and they are all mine. For 12 years this has been my vehicle and I know where everything is and what it does as I sit in the drivers seat. My wife has a Toyota Avalon that I am occasionally required to drive. It always feels foreign to me. I don’t know where anything is on this vehicle. I can never find the hood latch and the windshield wiper controls are in a completely different place. I have been known to activate the turn signal thinking that I was turning on the windshield wipers and vice versa. I often think that something doesn’t work in this vehicle only to discover that I was doing it wrong.
One of the best lessons I’ve learned about being a leader came some years ago when I was asked to describe what the church I was leading through a restart would be like. In my description of this church I found myself telling them what it wasn’t going to be rather than what it was. I realized that I knew more about what I didn’t want to build than what I did want to build. This is doing it wrong. It is impossible to build something solely based on what it isn’t. No architect draws plans based on what a building is not. They draw them up based on what they are. Trying to build a church, an organization or your life based on what you don’t want it to be will lead to frustration. It’s like assuming that you will arrive at your desired destination simply by not going to the undesired ones. Knowing what you don’t want something to be may be a start, but it is a bit like walking backwards. It’s not the way we were made to walk. True progress occurs when we face forward and focus on the destination. If you have a list in your mind of things you don’t want to be instead a list of what you do want to be, you’re doing it wrong.
We have all experienced people, places and things that we have decided we don’t want to be like. That is a given, but when it comes to building our lives and pursuing purpose it is more important to know what we do want to be like. Don’t waste time walking backwards and focusing on what you’re not going to do or be or become. Instead, turn around and choose what you do want to be and become. Find out what God had in mind when He made you and pursue that. knowing what your life, church or organization will be and building it accordingly will enable you to make great progress and is the key to doing it right.