In a lot of circles, the word “audit” brings up a lot of stress and anxiety. In all of the churches I’ve worked for, the Accounting Department willfully hired an outside organization to audit all of their financials. Just because you invite an audit doesn’t mean there’s less stress. The same is true for self-auditing.
Self-Auditing is the process of looking inward and checking-in on the key areas of our lives.
Even though it’s a self-audit, it can still be filled with anxiety. When we examine the inner areas of our lives with the purpose of pruning & correcting, there’s always a chance we won’t like what we find. However, the alternative of leaving areas unchecked is scary and potentially destructive.
A few years ago a good friend of mine brought a journaling tool to me that has helped me. It wasn’t original to him, but it had been helping him process the most important areas in his life.
The tool isn’t rocket science, but it’s something I’ve used for a few years now, and every time I process through it, I arrive on the other side grateful for the clarity, direction and peace it brings. Here’s the journaling tool:
The Five F’s.
- Field (Vocation)
The goal is to spend a certain amount of minutes thinking through every aspect of that category. How is my faith doing? What am I holding onto that God has asked me to surrender? How are my friendships doing? Is there anything I can do to help grow them? And so on.
Self-Auditing requires us to be curious.
Curiosity is important. When we approach the key areas of our lives with curiosity, God seems to show up in that space and show us what needs attention. Curiosity, however, is not everything. What we do next is crucial – we must take action on the things we’ve learned from the audit.
Did the audit reveal that your family is taking the hit for your greater investment at work? Did you find an area of your life that’s not fully surrendered to God? Were you convicted about how you handle your finances?
Taking action is the one step that makes the self-auditing process productive. Without doing something, all we’re doing is filling up journal pages.
I usually do this exercise once a quarter. It’s proven to keep me grounded in reality as I seek to live a full and abundant life in all five key areas of my life.
What about you? What process do you use to self-audit? How has it helped you?