“You make known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence…” Psalm 16:11

5 Fat Files–What would you like to be known for?

One of my favorite concepts taught by Elizabeth George is having 5 fat files.

You’re probably wondering what that means.

We can’t do everything, even though we often try or think we can.  Sometimes we spread ourselves pretty thin, say yes to everything, do things that are outside of our gifting or calling, volunteer to help with everything, don’t say no, feel like if there’s a need we will be the only one who will fill it……you get the picture.

We totally ignore the Good, Better, Best principle.  You know, where some things are good for you to do, others are better, and then finally, there are things in the best category.  That’s where we would really like to invest our time and energy–  God’s best for us.


When it comes to investing our time and growing spiritually, we need a goal.  All spiritual growth is really preparing you to be able to minister to others.  We don’t want to randomly pick things to invest our time in though.  We want things of eternal value.  Pick five areas that you would like to become an expert in and focus your time and energy there.

To help you do so, here are 2 questions to consider:

  1. What would you like to be known for?
  2. What would you like your name to be associated with?

There are so many areas. You could pick something very practical, theological, ministry-related, having to do with lifestyle, or even personal.  Examples of topics are:  homemaking, raising children,  hospitality, areas of ministry or  Bible-study, devotional life, virtues of godliness, being a Proverbs 31 woman, heroes of the faith, marriage, organization, holiness, self-control, being content, being the wife or family of a minister, being single, children’s ministry, teaching, widowhood, mentoring, etc.

So, did that small list spark some ideas?  Did you pick your 5 areas?

Now, you will literally get some manilla folders and begin files for each topic you chose.  That is where you will focus your time and energy.  Read everything you can about it.  Invest your time in these categories.  Be selective.  If you have the option to participate in a class or event, see if it lines up with where you are putting your focus in life–your 5 fat files. When you read, you can naturally narrow your choices down to your 5 areas you are trying to gain expertise in.   Attend seminars or conferences, find people who are experts in this field already and learn from them, study what the Bible has to say on the topics……..clip articles, take notes, teach on the topic yourself………..and keep it all in your files.

By focusing on just a few areas and going deep with them, you will find that your own expertise will grow in those topics and you will always have something ready to be able to minister to others.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be ready to teach or speak or share God’s wisdom with others?  You will become the “go-to person” for that topic.

As an added little detail here, I like to take index cards and organize the topics.  (of course, right?)  You can start with one card per topic.  Write the topic at the top and then you can keep a list of books, Bible verses, or even topics within that topic that you have read, would like to study, have useful information, etc.  (I’d probably have 3 cards for each of my 5 areas of focus– 1 for books, 1 for verses, and 1 for subtopics/areas within that topic.)  :)

You can also color-code or use a letter-code (such as M for marriage) to mark verses and passages in the Bible that pertain to your topics.  (You knew I’d throw color-coding in here somehow, right?)

So…………..what are your 5 fat files going to be?

I’d love to hear!!!




  1. joy holliday says:

    I am taking the ladies of my church through Elizabeth George’s book “A Woman After God’s Own Heart” and we have just reached this chapter. I am so excited to see what my ladies choose! Personally I have chosen: Godly wife submission, book of Romans, child development, low-calorie meals, and Pure Desire for women (Christ- centered recovery for love/sex addiction). I know a little about all of these but its time to get serious! God bless!

    • Path of Life Christian Coaching says:

      Joy, I love the list you chose for your 5 Fat Files! What an impact you will make on the women you minister to through the years as you become an “expert” in these areas! This is my favorite book and I think it’s life-changing when you apply the principles. The concept of having these files stuck with me all these years since I read it the first time when I was younger and newly married. I’m sure the women in your study will grow through this study!

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