It’s possible that to live intentionally you have to first identify that you might be floating. For some reason it seems a little bit easier to live in a state of denial or misdiagnosis than to actually see where we might be sick.
I remember as a very young girl going with my mom to the doctor because she had discovered a lump in her breast. I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant at the time but I remember her being very frustrated at the length of time it would take to get into the doctor.
She needed a diagnosis. She needed to know what actions had to be taken to eradicate the problem. I can relate the feelings of floating and living without assurance or purpose, to waiting to see the doctor.
You know there’s something amiss but you’re not exactly sure what. You know that you need a diagnosis before you can act on anything. And for some reason until you get to that appointment you just keep living the same way.
Once you step into that doctors office And become diagnosed you can now start living in a different way. You can start living proactively. When it comes to living intentionally why do we have to wait to be diagnosed?
Aside from the busyness of life, aside from the distractions of always going from one thing to the other, can you take this moment and identify if you’re living according to your values and beliefs or are you living situationally amidst your circumstances?
ESTABLISHING YOUR VALUES
Last year when we moved into our new house, it was completely different than where we had spent the majority of our lives together. I would not say my style is farmhouse but where we moved was definitely farmhouse. As I’m still slowly making decisions on what to fill our house with I have to know what I value so I know what to put in it.
What sort of furnishings and carpets should go where? Did we need to remodel that space or was it functional the way it was? I seemed to find myself always on Pinterest. Saving things to my new board. I would search all the sites, register for accounts with all the companies. We had empty spaces, they needed to be functional.
It was almost addicting. I would be completely stressed with my situation and then completely giddy and excited at the potential. I was all over the place. Up until this point nearly all of our furniture was still college hand-me-downs, we’ve been married for 10 years! I told myself it was time to buy some things that were fresh and functional!
However let me just warn you if you’re a mother of small children, it is not time to buy new things! There will inevitably be sharpie stains where there shouldn’t be and fingerprints that you can’t scrub away, and you will wind up caring about things that you shouldn’t.
When it comes to establishing your values in order to live intentionally I like to ask myself these 3 questions. These questions are adapted from several great books I’ve read and made to fit my own needs. These don’t have to be what you ask yourself to establish your values but they could be a place to start.
- What do I feel passionate about (what’s my purpose) or what inspires me?
- What distraction could I eliminate to illuminate what matters
- What is the most essential or important thing I should be doing in this stage with this time right now?
As these questions relate to my home remodel/makeover I approached each space with the mindset of function, comfort and essential. Then after those 3 were decided upon I let myself get lost on Pinterest or in the most recent Magnolia Magazine issue.
Reminding myself that I didn’t have to be a minimalist to be an essentialist. But I didn’t need to have value in my decisions so that there was a longer purpose.
Was this space for conversation or was it for relaxation? Was this space for myself or my family. I got to be intentional with the areas of our home, room by room. I know this doesn’t always happen for people but maybe you could start with a corner or a small space in your own life.
Ask questions that help you define your values and display your purpose.
I know my purpose. To live fully present and raise a family that is aware of the present and now. I believe this simple purpose can be seen throughout our home and felt when you walk in the door!
WHAT IS INTENTIONAL LIVING
Maybe we should start with what intentional living isn’t. Since it may be confusing or misleading.
Intentional living isn’t minimalism. It’s not tossing all the things you have and living with food and water alone. Sometimes less stuff makes you less distracted but you can also find beauty in things you have.
Living intentional isn’t learning to say “no” all the time or to be a decliner. If you know your values and purpose you can easily say “yes” to what matters.
To live intentionally isn’t being a hyper focused and controlling parent. Having boundaries is so important but having a heart that is moved upon different circumstances and the ability to adapt is just as purposeful as intentional living.
So what is intentional living? I believe that it’s living within your purpose. And to find your purpose you have to truly identify the end.
What I mean by that is, years down the road, when your time on this earth is done, what will your life have been, what will it have meant?
I know it’s easy as Christians to say, my purpose is to help others find and follow Jesus. Go and make disciples of all nations it says in Matthew 28. But how has God uniquely gifted you to go? How did he create you to make?
Knowing where your strengths are allows you to cut out what others say and think you should do. Knowing your abilities and where you shine gives you the chance to stay on track and live intentionally.
Remember your feelings can be directly related and affected by your circumstances or situation but your values and your beliefs, what guides your intentionality, is rooted in firm ground
PICKING ONE THING
I recently went through a season where I felt stretched too thin. I wouldn’t say I was overwhelmed with our commitments or choices but I felt like I was not being intentional with the things I had chosen.
I was talking with my counselor and she reminded me that I had picked too many big and important things to do at one time. I actually was being intentional with the things I had chosen, they were important and part of my purpose but they were stacking up on each other.
Hm…I felt like that may have happened a time or two before and it quickly can lead to frustration and fall apart mode!
So, what do you do when you’re too intentional or over intentional? You need to, even though it will be hard, set one great thing aside and focus on the other. Not saying you will forget the other but you need to pick one big thing at a time.
When you layer your intentionality on top of itself you are overloading yourself. Believe me I’ve been in the place where I say, yes but I can’t put one down and focus only on the other, they are both important. But the reality is, neither will get the full attention they deserve if I keep both elevated.
Picking one thing to be intentional about at a time can be a way you slow down and really dwell in what you’ve chosen as important in your life at that moment. Some examples of intentionality can be:
Intentionality with the word – leave your bible on the counter, open. Listen to a Bible reading rather than a podcast
Intentionality with food – for a few weeks order your groceries and specifically add to your cart only what you need for healthy meals
Intentionality with friends – be the one that texts every Monday morning a woman you want to connect with more words of encouragement and nothing else
Now these are just some examples I’ve come up with but, remember to pick each intentionality with what your purpose is in your life. Now I could go on and on about suggestions of intentionality, but you have a different purpose than me and also different intentionality goals. After you’re finished reading this blog post, I want you to think about what you want in your life, what are your intentions and make an intentionality goal list for you. Pick one thing and truly dwell in it.
As we wrap up, I want to leave you with this quote ,“Live your life on and with purpose rather than letting your life happen to you”. Remember to do the 50 year test, who do you want to be remembered as and if you’re not happy with your intentions now, you have the control to change that. You have the power to change the trajectory of your life!