Since 2018 in lieu of setting New Year’s Resolutions I have selected one word and an accompanying Bible verse for the year. The word and verse are meant to be a focus, an encouragement, and a theme for the year ahead. This list has included – bold, confidence, savor, health, and surrender.
This year, I am choosing the word – design and Proverbs 24:3 as a theme verse:
By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established.ESV
This verse and design may sound like odd choices for the year, but allow me to explain. I have a feeling this word and verse will resonate with many in this community.
Professionally I am an architect. That means my days at the home office are spent designing. That’s what we architects call it – designing.
As you may expect, we design buildings, but we do so much more. Through the design process we make dreams a reality. Through wisdom, or expertise, and understanding of the clients’ dreams, we take a dream, transfer that dream into drawings, and those drawings into built form.
That dream could be for a building, a space within an existing building, or it could be a site plan. As the client’s architect we also act as the project manager, coordinating all disciplines involved in the design. This includes engineers and construction administration during the construction of the project. All that to say design is multi-faceted. Done well design successfully transforms dreams a reality.
But here’s the thing, at work I spend my time making the dreams of others a reality through design. Nothing happens by chance. Design requires intentionality and planning.
Pivot to my life outside of work. As a wife. A parent. A writer. A speaker. My faith.
If I am honest, I am far less intentional designing my dreams. I like to consider myself a laid-back planner. I make plans and I have priorities, but when it comes to my personal life, my list of things I would like to accomplish very rarely correlates with my completed list.
I have heard it said:
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”Alan Lakein
And I have failed to design a life I love, because I am not giving my dreams the same care and attention I do as the dreams of my clients at work.
So this year I am intentionally designing a life I love. A life that is sustainable. A life that is energizing, not draining. A life where I intentionally set aside time to pursue my passions, like writing and speaking.
I recently read the book “The Best Yes; Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands” by Lysa TerKeurst and it practically explains how to pair wisdom and understanding to design a life you love. So, if what I am saying here about designing a life you love is resonating with you, pick up Lysa’s book and read it! Lysa unpacks how our decisions determine our schedules and our schedules determine whether we have time to pursue our dreams and callings. Therefore, we need to make wise decisions today about our schedules.
Sometimes pursuing our dreams means saying no to good things. That’s a hard truth to swallow, but saying no to something good can create space in our schedule to say yes to something even better. Something that gets us closer to our dreams and closer to a life we love.
Lysa gave a great illustration where she identified 3.5 hours each week she could set aside in her schedule for writing. She did this before she ever published a single book or became a New York Times Best Selling Author. Lysa argues that if we are waiting for time to magically open up in our schedule to pursue our dreams, we will never move toward our dreams. Dreams don’t just come to reality by chance, we need a practical plan.
Lysa’s 3.5 hour approach can be summed up by the following the quote:
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”Stephen Covey
A schedule. A practical plan. A design. These are all steps to move us from a dream to reality.
Using practical tools to make our dreams a reality is what Proverbs 24:3 is encouraging us to do too. You may be thinking, but how does building a home with wisdom and understanding equate to designing a life we love? The amplified version elaborates upon the idea of home as not just a physical structure, but also a life, a home, or a family. No one is a better expert than us at knowing the intricacies of our lives, schedules, home, family, and dreams. Proverbs 24:3 is encouraging us to pair our expertise with wisdom and understanding to design a life we love.
So how about you? What dream has been in your heart that has yet to come to reality? What passion project is on your heart, but you just can’t find the time to squeeze it in? What is your magic number? Is it 3.5? Is it 1? Maybe it varies from week to week.
The value doesn’t matter. What matters is carving out time in our schedules to makes physical strides toward our dreams. Will you join me this year and design a life you love too?