When I was six, being a moment maker was a part of my everyday life. I jumped my bike off dirt ramps. I swung on vines across newly discovered creeks. I didn’t realize that people actually reach a point in life where they hit cruise—when they let life take the wheel. They let life control their everyday instead of being in charge themselves.
The older we get, the safer we get. And the safer we get, the fewer chances we have for creating, giving and rescuing moments. My friends, moment making is not for the faint of heart. It is a journey that takes us out of our comfort zone and leads to a life filled with the kinds of adventures most only dream of having.
There are three types of moments: created moments, received moments and rescued moments. Although these are, on the surface, different, they all share the same principles. As you start building a life of moments, use these four pillars:
Before we can deliver a moment of value, we must understand why we are making moments in the first place.
When I first started dissecting the lives of great moment makers, I saw one common thread. They all understood why they were doing what they were doing.
Sometimes when it comes to our moment making, we take a Pin the Tail on the Donkey approach—no direction, just close your eyes and aim. This isn’t moment making. Moment making is much more intentional.
It is important to come to a place of understanding before moments can be worth the time and effort.
Over the past decade or so, bucket lists have become all the rage because they are filled with dreams. Sadly, people often take the time to compile this list of 40 things they want to do before they die and end up only marking off a few. The biggest reason this happens is because they don’t know why they put those things on the list in the first place. They just fill their buckets with things that will get their hearts racing. And although a racing heart is great, you can for a run and get your heart racing as well.
So I have this saying: Life’s too big to fit in a bucket.
If you’re truly going to be a moment maker, no bucket can contain the number of opportunities there are for making moments. So I ask you to do this one thing …
Move the why ahead of the who, what, when, where and how. Once you discover the why, the moment becomes one worth having. Once you discover the why, someone else will feel valued in the moment you’ve created. One you discover the why, you will have the sentence that comes before the exclamation point.
In a moment making life, exploring is what cultivates attentiveness and intentionality.
Exploring is vital in the life of a moment maker. I like to simplify this part of the process. I have it down to a science. For me it looks like this:
1. Every day, an alarm goes off on my phone. It’s scheduled for three times a day. On the alarm it says: Explore. That’s it.
2. I stop what I’m doing and tune in my eyes, ears and heart to the world around me.
3. I open up a notebook, app, or any idea-capturing device and begin to capture what comes.
It’s funny how we’re so focused on the menial tasks of our days that we miss the majesty all around us. I have been practicing this exploration technique for four years now. And I have gathered over 34,000 moment-making ideas in my moment-making folders—no exaggeration. Some examples are images I want to capture, places I want to visit, dates I want to create for my wife.
So you see, perfect moments may look like they’re made on a moment’s notice, but the truth is, without the harvesting of ideas first, you may miss the moment right under your nose.
Without the pause, the why can get lost.
If this is not the antithesis of our culture, I don’t know what is. We live in a society and time in which pausing is almost a four-letter word. But how can we adequately know the truth of our current situations without the pause?
First, we must understand that life is not a sprint. But it’s not a marathon either, because no man knows the last days. Whenever I ask someone how life is going, nine times out of ten they reply with this: “Crazy, man!” or “Slammed. So busy.” Those responses are filled with zero pause. And when we do not pause, we can’t see what is right in front of us.
Life happens in moments, and if we aren’t paying attention, we will miss what they’re really all about.
This is the final stage of moment making—the stage where our moments take flight. This is the fun part. The place where your belly fills with butterflies and your heart soars with joy. we must be deliberate. We must be purposeful.
I can’t begin to describe the joy you will feel when you:
- Create a moment for the woman you love when she walks across a field to a canopy of roses you have built, not for an engagement or even a birthday, but just because.
- Receive a moment by choosing to make an entire record with amazing homeless musicians and loading it onto inexpensive mp3 players and handing them out to a homeless community, letting them know that these songs are not only for them, they are by them.
- Rescue a moment by using your own journey through a disappointment or help another person suffering in a similar way to move forward in life as a free man or woman.
These are the moments life was meant for. And all of this points to the ultimate moment maker. Studying Jesus will fill your moment-making journey with intention instead of filling a bucket with ideas. This is what a lifestyle of moment making boils down to: Live with purpose and on purpose.
When you pay attention, you will discover that the opportunity for moments is surrounding your right now.
Carlos Whittaker is an author, speaker, worship leader, and self-professed hope dealer. He speaks at some of the largest churches in the country and at conferences including the Orange Conference, Catalyst, MomCon, and many others. A People’s Choice Award winner and host of a popular podcast, he is also the author of Moment Maker and Kill the Spider. Carlos lives with his wife, Heather, and their three children in Nashville.