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Being Intentional

I’ve been reading a lot about living an intentional life lately. You know, where you decide to do something, and then you do it. Funny how it seems so easy when you read it on paper, but the outworkings of an intentional life are not easy at all. Maybe it’s my season of life, but I can’t seem to do anything I decide to do – whether it’s the dishes or writing, it slips away from me every single day. Ok, I lie a little bit. Sometimes I decide to watch Downton Abbey, and then I actually do it. But can you really blame me?

In all seriousness, though, there are a few things I want to start being intentional about. One is praying with my kids and talking about Jesus more. Everyday I think about that verse in Deuteronomy that says:

You shall teach them [the words of God] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (6:7)

I remember it was awkward to talk about God to my parents when I was little. Sometimes I felt like He was showing me something or telling me to do something, but I felt embarrassed to tell my parents. Don’t get me wrong – I shouldn’t have been because my parents are/were incredible. And don’t get me wrong, I always feel like I can talk to them now. But I want to encourage my kids to listen to Jesus’ voice and read His words, and then to talk to me about what they’re learning. I want to have such an open atmosphere in our home that the transition from everyday conversation to spiritual conversation is seamless. I think that if I am intentional about doing that now, when they’re teenagers or even adults, we may be able to maintain that open communication.

Second, I want to be intentional in writing about Hosea. Last night I sat down to write a blog post and literally went blank. How can I have so much to say welling in my heart and then forget it all when I have a moment to write it down? Sadly, I feel like that is what happens more often than not, but I’m going to attempt what William Wordsworth did when he wrote Tintern Abbey. He wrote the entire thing in his head while walking and recited it to his sister over and over until he could get home and write it down. There is a slight possibility I could write something in my head in advance, so that I can actually get it onto a post in the few hurried minutes at night before I relax enough to go blank. Plus, if I could have a memory like that…I just might be supermom.

I feel like writing is in my bones. Like I was created to do it, but I have to be intentional in order for it to happen. I always thought that if you were created to do something, it would just flow out of you, as though it were a waterfall that could hardly be stopped. I’m realizing it’s nothing like that at all. So often the things I’m meant to do take work instead of being easy. Take parenting, for example. I’m most definitely called to be a parent, but it takes a tremendous amount of work and definitely doesn’t “flow easily.” However, I do know that doing what you’re created to do is fulfilling. It feels lifegiving, as though I’m refreshed and am breathing easier. Watch out, I’m about to use a hokey example.

I was sweeping yesterday and swept up a dead butterfly by my back door. I had seen it on my curtains the day before, but I had too much going on to try to get it back outside. (in my defense, I did think about it.) It had been trying to get out the sliding glass doors.

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This is it, in the midst of my dirt pile. A dead butterfly feels like such a tragedy, doesn’t it? I thought about how it would have lived if it had been able to do what it was meant to do – be outside, flying among flowers. Ok, in all honesty, I’m not sure what a butterfly is supposed to do, but that sounds about right. And then I thought about how I might be kind of like this butterfly if I’m not intentional about doing what I’m called to do, in every aspect. How much “life” does fulfilling my purpose inspire in me? Not literal life, but emotional. How much will I be drained if I’m going about the motions, but drawing from stagnant stores of energy, patience, and desire?

ok, sidetrack with me for a second – the only way we can actually live our purpose to its full extent is through the grace of Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit. And by “live our purpose,” I don’t mean do something incredible or famous. I mean do what He’s created us to do, whether that be writing or drawing or parenting or programming. He is the drive and gives the grace. By being intentional and receiving the “life fulfillment,”
I mean actually walking in His call and deriving satisfaction from obedience.

Whew, jump back to the butterfly. It was created perfectly to do it’s job. It was perfectly beautiful. And perfectly dead. I don’t want to have all that I need to walk in my calling or even look like I’m walking in my calling, only to really be dead to it inside. I want to know my calling, walk in it with intentionality, and draw my grace and ability from the Perfect Source of Christ.

So, in all of that, I think the third thing I want to be intentional about is going to Christ in every moment for the strength and grace to walk in my calling. I read recently that in the midst of the Mommy Wars, the best thing for a Christian mom to do is not to boast in her abilities as a mom, but boast in her weaknesses so that everyone can see Christ’s strength in her life. Oh wait, isn’t that also Scripture that we’re supposed to be living out in every aspect of life? I know I’m weak, and God knows I’m unable to do anything without His help. So, here’s my boasting. If anything I write on this blog is worth reading at all, it’s because of Christ’s direct grace in my life.

Yes, I threw the butterfly in the trash along with the dog hair. And yes, I felt kind of sad about it.

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One comment on “Being Intentional

  1. I feel like I can relate to every part of this entry (minus the parenting…but Leela is kind of like my child). I can so sympathize with the frustration of deciding to do something important but never doing it (apart from the non-important things that I always end up doing), the frustration of having so much to write until I sit down to write, the frustration of feeling like things should come easy if I’m meant to do them. When will I just get things done, even if they’re hard or mentally taxing? I feel like I always dream big for tomorrow, which ends up being easy because tomorrow never comes.

    I love the sentence, “By being intentional and receiving the ‘life fulfillment,’ I mean actually walking in His call and deriving satisfaction from obedience.”

    Deriving satisfaction from obedience. So difficult and counter-cultural! But truly the best, most satisfying way to live, and truly the bottom line of getting things done. It’s about obedience! Even if the things He asks me to do aren’t perfect or impressive, I’m supposed to be obedient.

    I will join you in intentional living! Today. Today is the day.

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