I worked in retail in a previous life. About this time of year, they used to do an inventory. Nowadays, with computer technology and such, I’m sure there is a nifty 21st century workaround. There’s probably an app for it. But back then, there was only one way to figure out how many items they had in stock. Count them manually.
So on this one day, usually a Sunday in January, they would close the entire store down. All of the employees would come in at some ridiculously early hour, and they would split us up into groups. And we would go through and count everything manually.
Even back then in the early ‘90’s, the inventory was kept on computer. A lot of it was automated. But nothing beat getting in there and seeing the items in person and taking stock of things. Because sometimes the store would get really busy and a mistake or two would get through unnoticed. Especially right after the craziness of the holidays. And what the computer said on the outside wasn’t a true reflection of what was going on inside. So it was good every now and again to take inventory.
Our spiritual lives are the same way. We might feel like things are going fine. We have a pretty good system in place. But how can we be sure that what things look like from the outside are a true reflection of what’s going on inside? We do get busy, especially around the holidays. Maybe it would be a good idea to stop and take an inventory of things? Maybe the time to do it is right now.
Here’s a little exercise for you. Take out a pen and paper. Write down each area of your life and give yourself a grade from 1 to 10, then jot down a few thoughts about why you gave yourself that grade. Here are the areas I broke it down into, but feel free to create your own.
1. Spiritual 2. Mental 3. Physical 4. Social 5. Family 6. Work 7. Financial
OK now on a separate page, draw a dot in the center, then create lines for each of you areas going out like spokes on a wheel. Draw a tick mark on each line to represent how you’re doing. Now connect the tick marks.
This should give you a pretty good visual inventory of what’s going on inside. If your life is pretty well balanced, it will more or less look like a big circle. If you have some areas that need attention, it might look like a weird spider web. But that’s OK - you’re going to work on it.
Armed with this new information, you can prayerfully consider what areas to work on and then come up with a game plan. By regularly taking stock of things like this, you can begin to live life from a more balanced place.