Guest Post by Susan B. Ison
Victus is the Latin word for way of life.
We can define way of life as our fundamental thoughts, beliefs, and actions.
A philosophical friend once told me she believes some people walk around unconscious, not thinking much about where they are, where they are going, or how they will get there. Basically, they are unaware. I find myself in that category sometimes, maybe more than I care to admit. Even today I’m not sure how morning became night as darkness falls outside my window.
Last night in a class at church, one of our pastors admitted he often dwindles away 80 percent of his morning quiet time with thoughts about upcoming meetings or any number of things having nothing to do with the task at hand. I can empathize. If I could recount each hour of this day that is closing, would I be pleased or not with those fundamentals so critical to the way of life I desire? Did I exhibit a way of life in my thoughts, beliefs and actions that is aligned with the values I espouse? Not to beat myself up, but I’m not sure I could say yes. I know I had selfish motives that plagued most every thing I did.
If you had followed me around today, you would have seen me teach a study skills class to 25 eager students and three teachers. Then you would have watched me go to my church prayer group. After that, you would have seen me at lunch with my husband, where he listened to me and offered much support over a dilemma that now seems far less important than it did. I returned home and took my short afternoon nap, sent a few texts and emails, and handled a few phone calls. Then I began preparing for the neighborhood gathering we are having tomorrow night. All in all, my actions looked pretty good.
But if we work backwards from our actions to our beliefs and thoughts, how did those measure up? Over time, we learn to master our actions fairly well. However, the battle really rages among those beliefs and thoughts.
If we crawl inside our minds and examine them, we may be disturbed to discover that our way of life in that realm is just as bad as God has described us. We all have fallen short, going our own way. We are a mess!
But there is hope. Our way of life is changing. It is improving. We know because God assures us we are being transformed day by day. Now that is encouraging news.
However, we should not simply go along for the ride as this transformation takes place. We are summoned to be partners. We are called to accept and act on this partnership.
Personally, I have never found a better tool outside of the Bible that provides a framework for developing a personal strategic plan. The Bible gives me something tangible and personal. I am too easily distracted from what I say is important.
Each January, I look at my goals, objectives and action plans from the previous year and prayerfully write new ones for the coming year. Then I plot the dates on my calendar and enter ‘to do’s’ in accordance with my plan.
This discipline holds me accountable. It helps me not to go through this life unconscious or unaware. It helps me to focus on what I say is important. And even if my mind is not on the task, my body usually is. In those moments today when my thoughts were a million miles away, my body was not.
And that has to be worth something.
At Victus, we teach students regardless of their age how to develop a way of life that will lead to success not only in academics but also in life. They, too, learn to make a personal strategic plan that will guide them each day as they navigate the distractions. In this way, they become partners in the transformation and are not simply along for the ride.