Drifting through life, living unfocused and in ambiguity. That describes many people. Does it describe you?
Why do so many live like that? There are many reasons—lack of knowledge, lack of intentionality, lack of motivation, lack of purpose…. Let me give you one more:
Lack of specificity
We too often think and act in generalities. Take expressing gratitude for example. Our thank yous are typically vague.
“That was a wonderful sermon, Pastor.”
“I loved your speech.”
“Thank you for dinner.”
Those are encouraging words to hear. But how much better would it be to the recipient of your gratitude if you told them specifically why you liked it. Then they’ll know for sure you truly meant what you said and not done simply out of duty.
Specific feedback also promotes improvement, and can even have some positive repercussions for you:
“I so appreciate the time and effort you put into making this delicious meal. I’d love having that again!” will probably encourage an encore performance.
“Thank you for this pink sweater. That’s my favorite color. I can’t wait to wear it!” will promote another thoughtful purchase from the gifter.
Getting specific works in many areas of life.
If we pray in generalities how will we know if our prayers are answered? If you pray, “Lord, bless my family today.” How would you know if God answered? Blessings often come disguise in trials. When our prayers seem to go unanswered disillusionment and anger often follow.
- Praising God
Praising God for an answer to prayer, a particular attribute—like His mercy, goodness, power—is way more pleasing to God than just throwing a vague thank you to God every now and then.
- Confession and repentance of sin
In order to turn away from something (=repentance), there has to be a definite point of origin.
- Evaluation of failure
Carefully examining the possible reasons for your failure is the only road to success. This applies to any endeavor, relationship, as well as business.
- Solving problems
To fix a problem you need to know the root cause. Treating symptoms never works.
- Overcoming fear, discontentment, habitual sin…
Want to overcome fear? Then you must determine exactly what you are afraid of before you can find specific ways to overcome it. I know I’m stating the obvious here, but you wouldn’t tell someone who’s afraid of heights to get cured by taking swimming lessons!
If you’re a regular reader of my blogs then you know I have mentioned this necessity of specificity many times:
The list could go on and on. If we think through things in detail instead of remaining in ambiguity we will:
- Not take things for granted as quickly.
- Be more effective encouragers.
- See more prayers answered.
- Solve more problems.
- Make better decisions.
- Have greater victory over sin and failure.
- Get more accomplished.
- Have better relationships—including with God.
Want more reasons to get to the nitty-gritty? Put on your thinking caps, get pen and paper, and go for it! Sure it takes more time and effort to be specific. But you’ll see this is a much better way to live—more joy for yourself, more peace with others, and more glory to God!