Hi friends! I’m so excited to start contributing to this blog. Since I’m the new kid on the block, I thought I’d kick things off by sharing a little bit about myself and what intentional living means in my life.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m 22 years old and I just graduated from college with a degree in communication. I’m a daughter, sister to four inspiring women, and auntie to six nephews. I have lived in the same town my entire life, a town I love even though I often dream of traveling and living abroad.
For as long as I can remember I’ve loved books and the joy they bring to peoples lives. And for almost as long as that, I’ve been looking for a way to use that love to be of service. Somewhere along the line I decided that the best way to do that was to become a journalist. So I charged forward with that goal but God had other plans. So here I am, fresh from university and very confused about my plans for the future.
Out of that confusion I’ve come to question just how much of my pain was a result of pursuing my own plan for life and not God’s plan? What might my life look like now if before plowing ahead I stopped and considered what values I want my life to reflect and how my actions impact that vision? And that’s how I came to learn about intentional living.
There are entire books and seminars dedicated to understanding the phrase “intentional living” but I prefer the simple definition. Intentional living is the process of making decisions in your daily life in accordance to your beliefs and values. The theory behind this being that doing so gives your decisions clarity of purpose. The way our society functions today means that life moves at the speed of light. There’s always something happening, someplace to be, some decision that needs to be made. As a result, it’s so easy to become apathetic, to live on autopilot.
What’s the danger of this, you might ask. What’s so wrong with autopilot? Aren’t we all still waiting for the day when cars drive themselves? Well as convenient as self-driving cars sound, living your life on autopilot can lead you to question if living is even worthwhile. Or worse, you might find yourself living a life that not only doesn’t make you proud, but leaves a legacy of pain and destruction. Intentional living keeps your eyes focused on a path of hope. It’s about choosing a life that matters.
But in order to live this way, we need to have clearly defined values. Thank goodness God has already given us all we need to know about how to live our lives:
” Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
This is just one small piece of wisdom that God has provided to us and a gentle reminder that our lives do have worth because we are called to a higher purpose in God’s name.
For me, intentional living means trusting that my life matters to God. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be of service to people. To know that one day my life would have counted for something in some small way. And I thought I knew how to do that. I lived off the assumption that I could accomplish anything if only I worked hard enough. But that meant living my life in pursuit of a goal and nothing else. For years I pushed forward living miserable and empty, waiting for the fulfillment that might come if I accomplished my goals. But that type of living limits your potential.
It took a major failure for me to understand that my will doesn’t necessarily meet with God’s will. And it’s taken years to learn that if I slowed down, took a breath and asked for His guidance I might develop a clearer picture of my purpose. And that brings us back to the core of what intentional living means to me: recognizing that not only what I do but also, how I live has an impact.
I’ve been given a role in this world. I may not understand what that role is yet. But consciously acknowledging that the choices you make in your home, your work, your faith, your finances, and your health have a weight behind them allows you to live a God-centered life.