Basic Tools 3 – D: Developing Your Personal Road Map

All the work you have done can be condensed into a concise chart that we call a “road map.”  Look back at the glance chart.  Notice that there are three highlighted areas.  These will become the basis of your personal road map to guide your life every day.  The road map will help you to focus your efforts.  You will see a summary of everything at once.  The road map is Activity 4:  Your Road Map for Your Daily Missions, which follows.  For each of your mission fields, you’ll see your vision or goal (question #2), your probable teammate/s (question #6), and your mission (question #5—what you’ll do or actions to take).

To fill out the chart, transfer the answers in the highlighted areas from Activity 3 into the appropriate blocks on the road map.   Again, the sample situations from the Hints section of Activity 2 focusing on the mother and the postal worker will be used to show you what one of these charts could look like.

Sample road map for my home and work mission fields:

VISION/GOAL (question 2 from  Activity 3) TEAMMATE  (question 6 from Activity 3 – how to interest to him or her) MISSION  (question 5 from Activity 3 – what to do or action/s to take and when to start)
HOME(mother) spend more time together and enjoy it my husband: “I bet you want more family time as much as I do” have a family night on Tuesday for three weeks, start next Tuesday
WORK(postal worker) start speaking up about unfair treatment Tom and Hank: “we can make a difference” speak up the next time we are treated unfairly
Wider World
Spiritual Health
Church life and

At this point, you may want to see what a completed road map looks like.  So we have included one on p. 13 and 14 in the workbook Living the Gospel.  It’s the road map of Margaret and Jim, whose work on discerning one of their daily missions appeared in the book When the Members are the Missionaries (pp. 18-23 and 29-35).

Activity 4:  Your road map for your daily missions

VISION/GOAL (question 2 from  Activity 3)
TEAMMATE  (question 6 from Activity 3 – how to interest to him or her)
MISSION  (question 5 from Activity 3 – what to do or action/s to take and when to start)
Wider World
 Spiritual Health
Church life and

Using your road map to get started

Activities 1 through 4 complete the mission field activities.

Now, you have an understanding of your own missions, as well, as a plan to share in God’s work on earth as one of the Lord’s trusted agents.  You can begin to use the new insights you have gained right away.  But first, review your charts.  If you’re in a small group or have a partner, take turns sharing the information.  If you’re working by yourself, take a second look at the charts and think about what you’ve done.  Here, and always, offer your work to God and ask for the Lord’s ongoing guidance and help.

Next, it’s time to get started actually doing what you have listed in your road map.  Look at the “Mission” column and set a date to start on each area.  Once you’ve started, be sure to review your road map regularly.  Whether you tape it to your bathroom mirror, stick it on the refrigerator, or tuck it into a purse or briefcase, just be sure to review it.  You’ll need that focus or you can easily squander your efforts.

It’s important here to note that to be comfortable with this new focus in your life you’ll need to remind yourself often of what really matters in life.  For example, if you get nothing else done on a particular day—the oil in your car doesn’t get changed and dinner consisted of foraging in your refrigerator for leftovers—but you moved one small step closer to achieving a vision or goal on your road map, then your day was a success!  In ten years, you won’t remember whether you changed the oil on time anyway, but you will surely remember that you didn’t spend enough time with your troubled teenage daughter.  In fact, that may well be all you remember.  So review this road map and pray for the power, wisdom, and guidance to focus on and to carry out the missions you’ve outlined.  You can even pray for enough time to get the oil changed because God understands the pressures we feel every day!

Use your road map as the basis of your daily prayer.  Pray for the strength to do what needs to be done.  Ask God to lead you when you are stuck as to what to do next.  You can share a copy of your road map with your partner or group members and take theirs in return.  Talk about them.  Agree to pray for each other that God’s will be done in each mission field.  By the way, if one area is too personal for you to share with others, simply ask them to pray for that area.  You can always share more about it later on, if you feel so inclined.  If you’re working by yourself, you can pray each day for one of your mission fields and your teammate(s) in it.

Some of your missions will require more time and energy than others, and you’ll have to prioritize your missions.  For example, if you have children in crisis, a difficult personal relationship, or trouble at work, these missions should clearly take the lion’s share of your effort.  You can mark your priorities by numbering them or using stars—do whatever works for you.  Just remember that priorities may shift over time so you may need to renumber them later.

Consider that your road map is about building a new and better lifestyle for yourself.  Once you start to pray and to live this lifestyle, it will become a habit.  You’ll see positive things begin to happen—or increase—in the various areas of your life.  And your whole life will become more purposeful and directed.  Try, however, to keep each mission field separate in your mind, in your prayers, and in your Bible study.  Keep in mind your present goal in each mission field and ask for God’s power and help to pursue each of them.

Your road map is also a living document.  You’ll find that you need to update it when you have a change in a mission field, such as a new job or when a child leaves home.  You will also reach a point in some areas where what you were praying and working for has been resolved and you need a new mission to pray and to work for.  Whenever that happens, first, give thanks for each mission completed.  Then, go through the worksheets for just those mission fields that need new reflection and planning.

When you’re ready to update your at a glance chart and road map, you will have the choice of either updating your current glance chart and road map or using the two new blank charts provided on pp. 46-47 in the workbook, Living the Gospel.   These new charts allow you to update each specific mission field and track it over time.  So as your mission at work, for example, evolves, you’ll be able to see the changes over time easily.

If you prefer to keep your original ar a glance chart and road map; update them by hand, just fill out the forms in pencil so you can erase them easily.  If you prefer to use your computer to update your charts, the CD has the road map so you can download it and use it easily.  Make sure you date the forms so you know when you last updated them and reassign priorities as needed.  Just do what works best for you in your busy life and get ready to continue your journey with this new destination in mind.

To make this clearer, let’s turn back to our continuing work example.  The postal worker’s goal was to speak up to the manager the very next time he and his coworkers were not being treated fairly.  Once he has done that, he needs to discern his next mission.  Using a fresh form for work, he discerns his next goal.  It might be, for example, to work for weekly meetings to allow time for workers to raise concerns.  He then updates his road map.  You’ll find that some missions are finished when you achieve your first goal and others require several goals to be completed.  In our own work with road maps, one of us had three road map updates in the first six months!  While that may seem to be a lot, think of just how much was accomplished.  It is a testament to God’s continuing work with us.

Your road map is also unique just as you are unique.  You may share a mission or goal with others but how you came to it—via your answers to the eight questions, for example—will reflect your own twist or emphasis.  That’s what makes the process so powerful.  God works with each of us using the unique skills of each to make the world a more just and loving place.

Take heart.  You don’t have to be in some special phase of your life to begin the discerning, charting, and carrying out of your daily missions.  Jesus meets you wherever you are.  You can start your work for the Lord wherever you are in life right now.  This applies equally to work as a CEO or child care provider; to leisure time sports or reading; as well as to helping seniors prepare their taxes; to all of our daily mission fields.  We all have work to do for the Lord.  And we can start today!

Finally, as being on mission becomes more and more a part of your life, the whole process from the worksheets to discern your mission, to the at a “glance” chart, to the “road map” will become intuitive.  You will see the need for love and justice and, at that time, move directly to action to bring or to increase love and justice without using a worksheet, at a “glance” chart, or “road map.”

However, written records still have a place, so return to them from time to time as a refresher course.  Use your computer to write in quick updates.  You can then easily save each road map under a new name so you can refer back to earlier ones whenever you want to.  Or, use the charts that are in the workbook, Living the Gospel pp. 46-47.   These are ongoing charts that allow you to track a mission field over time.  They are provided as an extra tool for your use.  For example, you could make a copy of the at a glance chart and fill in the space in the title with “Work.”  Then every time you update your work mission, you can fill out a new column starting with the date on the top.  The road map that follows works the same way: fill in the space in the title with “Work.”  Then, once your new mission for work is identified, put a date in the empty column on the left and update the vision, mission, and teammates blocks.  This way, you’ll be able to see all you’ve done at work, over time, to realize your vision.