Intentional Living: What does it Mean?
Intentional Living is about knowing why you do what you do and why you don’t do what you don’t do …
[Tweet “Intentional Living is about knowing why you do what you do and why you don’t do what you don’t do..”]
We are faced dozens of choices each day– some not so big, some really big. From choosing what or what not to eat, to whether or not to wear a certain dress for a meeting, to whether or not to go to church, to where our kids ought to school, our world is full of options- for both the Christian and the non-christian.
The thing is, sometimes its easier to just go with the flow and not think about those options– choosing to pray first thing in the morning rather than check emails or facebook updates, paying for DSTV every month, hurriedly skimming through your Bible just to meet up with some appointment, etc. but that doesn’t make them the best choices for us, our families and loved ones. On the other hand it is tempting for some of us to make non-conventional choices just because we are nonconformists, and that’s not necessarily the best for us or families either.
Intentional living doesn’t really have much to do with the specific choices we make each day, because we can honestly make those choices just to ‘fit-in’ with the ‘cool’ crowd or to feel good about ourselves and miss the point entirely. Like reading your Bible or praying everyday without having any personal intention as to why you are doing it, how its benefiting you; but doing so just to tick off your calendar, or to be able to proudly answer your Pastor when he asks you: ”have you read your Bible today?” or just following the daily motions.
Intentional living is about knowing why you do what you do… It is about thinking through your decisions, considering their consequences and benefits, the sacrifices you need to make, the time you need to spend; and making your decisions with your eyes wide open– not because everybody is doing it.. It is about knowing why you pray, the results you expect, the time or sacrifices you need to make to make your prayer effective. It is about knowing why you read the Bible when you do,: to get to know God more? to change you? just a norm or some religious act? It is about knowing why you choose to be or remain a Christian in today’s society were it is not easy to be a Christian?
Intentional Living is being able to take a step back and evaluate the things you are doing…
Intentional living is also about being able to evaluate those decisions you’ve made as you go, rather than just making a decision and sticking to it even when it doesn’t work anymore. E.g; evaluating (maybe monthly or quarterly) your decision to pray at a certain time, will help know how effective or ineffective, consistent or inconsistent you have been, and which areas you need to improve, change, applaud, or adjust.
Intentional Living is about doing the things that are important to you even when they are not easy…
This is deciding to love or forgive people who hurt you, who may have not even asked for your forgiveness– because you know that love and forgiveness are an important attributes of the Christian faith.
Living intentionally means defining your values and making decisions that reflects those values.
Intentional living is about evaluating the advice and experiences of other people and taking from them what works for you…
Life is not a ”one-size-fit-all.” Whether it concerns your spiritual life, marriage, parenting, family, business, career etc. there are different rules we can apply to get things done rightly or solve our problems. What works of Mr A may not work for Mr B. Mr B may not be able to spend the same number of hours Mr A spends in reading the Bible or praying, but both can find what methods or ways or models works for them and what doesn’t.
Rather than try to copy verbatim or out-rightly apply everything you read in a book, from a blog, rather than try to pattern your life based on the experiences of others, spend time to evaluate those things which you have learned from them, see that you learn, unlearn, or relearn only things that are valuable to you as an individual while paying attention to the things God is doing in you.
Don’t just try to copy or emulate everything or anyone you see, think through.. find what works for you and walk away from what doesn’t.
Intentional Living gives us the freedom to make time for things that are truly important to us while discarding the rest..
CHIME IN: What does intentional living mean to you?
How will you live intentionally this 2016?