Consider the story your life will tell. What kind of legacy will you leave after you die? When people look back at your life, will it tell them a story you’re proud of, or one that you regret? As you face every decision, keep in mind that you can never accomplish God’s will by breaking His law, violating His principles, or ignoring His wisdom. Ask yourself whether or not God has already spoken on the matter you’re considering by searching the Scriptures about it. To figure out if the options you’re considering violate one of God’s principles, ask yourself: “What outcome am I expecting from this decision?” and “Does the option I’m considering now naturally lead to that outcome?”

Tap into the wisdom of others. You have certain limits to your own personal experiences and knowledge, but you can always learn something valuable from others. No one ever gets to the place where he or she no longer needs wise counsel. So find people you trust and admire – those who are good influences on your life. Who has the kind of marriage you’d like? Who seems to have done a good job of managing money? Who has a family life you’d like to enjoy yourself? Ask people for their advice, and heed it.

Pay attention. Whatever you give your attention to influences the direction of your life. So consider whether or not you’re giving your attention to the right people and situations. Is there something that’s distracting you by drawing your attention away from what matters most? Who or what do you need to start paying more attention to, instead of making excuses: your kids, your health, your spiritual growth, your savings account? Ask God to reveal what your priorities should be and to give you the strength you need to discipline yourself to keep those priorities in mind when making daily decisions. Pause before devoting your attention to anyone or anything; pray about your decision first. Then be sure to give your full attention to whoever and whatever deserves it most.

Deal with disappointment. Unfortunately, some destinations are unreachable because dreams won’t come true. If you find that you can’t get to the place you’d like to be, don’t despair or try to make something happen anyway, since that won’t lead you any closer to your desired destination. Instead, go ahead and mourn the loss of your dream. Then place your trust in God. Tell God that you want His will for your life rather than your own. Keep believing and keep following in the direction that God leads, which, even though you may not have chosen it, will ultimately lead you to the right destination.

Adapted from The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, copyright 2008 by Andy Stanley. Published by Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tn.,
Andy Stanley is a pastor, communicator, author, and the founder of North Point Ministries, Inc. (NPM). Since its inception in 1995, North Point Ministries has grown from one campus to three in the Atlanta area, and has helped plant 14 strategic partner churches throughout the United States. Each Sunday, more than 20,000 adults attend worship services at one of NPM’s three campuses. Andy’s books include It Came From Within, Communicating for a Change, Making Vision Stick, and The Next Generation Leader. Andy lives in Alpharetta, Georgia, with his wife, Sandra, and their three children.