A Journey to Intentional Living

I believe that one of the aspects most detrimental to living the abundant life that God has for us is the lack of intentional living. I feel like, as women, wives, and mothers in this crazy high-speed world, we are just trying to keep up.  We are “flying by the seat of our pants” and just trying to survive another day most of the time.

I have always craved order and structure, but I have often had a difficult time maintaining it. When I was in school, there was plenty of structure and order, and I thrived and accomplished much.  But someone else made the syllabi, deadlines, and due dates.  When I nannied, I did well following the parents’ instructions for how and when to care for their child.  But when it comes to setting my own standards, goals, and schedule, I am sadly lacking.

I believe that we all perform better within some semblance of structure and order. God is a God of order, and I believe he created us to live in a similar manner.  But because we live in a fallen world and sin is preying at us every moment, we become distracted, discouraged, and despondent.  We settle for “just getting by” and making it through another day because we are so overwhelmed by our inability to attain perfection.  We make excuses for the chaos in our homes because our natures our just not organized.

I have to admit, neither is mine.  Oh, I want to be! I crave organization! And yet I have always fallen so short of this goal and become so discouraged.  At times I have been tempted to give up and have said, “Meh, organization is a gift some people have, and I just don’t have it” and then allowed my home to dissolve into its natural state of chaos.  And then we are all miserable:-(

But the more I study the scriptures and learn about God, the more I believe that that is not how God intended for us to live.  It is not restful to enter a home filled with clutter.  It is not peaceful to constantly step over toys and dirty laundry. It does not cultivate joy in my heart when I miss appointments, birthdays, or when I do not have enough food in the house to invite company due to poor planning on my part.

These are simply a few of the reasons I have begun pursuing intentional living.  Someone once said, “If you don’t purpose to love your spouse when you walk through the door, it won’t happen.”  That’s true of our whole lives.  When we don’t live in a purposeful manner, life flies right past us without us even noticing. And we look back on it all with so many more regrets.

But taking a little time to be intentional somehow results in leftovers! Take money for example.  If you do not budget and simply “spend what you need to,”  you will end up wasting money.  However, if you budget your money, categorizing and maintaining discipline about it, you end up spending less.  The same is true for menu planning. Somehow putting it on paper and grocery shopping in light of that saves both time and money. I have found that when I live intentionally, I go from living in overwhelmed chaos, never having enough hours in the day, to having a restful spirit, an ordered home–and sometimes even a seat on the porch swing to read during the baby’s nap!!

Living intentional takes, well, intentionality!  It does require thought, prayer, and time.  It requires us to purpose in our heart to live with a goal in mind–a greater ability to bless others in this life.  Believe it or not, these requirements are not enslaving, they are actually freeing.  In the end, our lives are so much simpler, we are free to do the things God has called us to do with joy. In all of this, that is my goal. Living moment by moment inhibits our ability to be effective ministers of the Kingdom. And more than anything, I want God to use me to spread the gospel!

So I am learning to live intentionally. My prayer is that God might use me to encourage other kingdom workers to do the same.   Part of the difficulty of learning to live intentionally is that each of us is different. We all have different things that motivate and affect us.  So each person’s intentional living will look a little different. It is not a “one-size-fits all.”  But the more you pursue it, the more you trial and error what other people have found helpful, they more you discover about how you tick, the more you can develop a personalized plan of action.

Some resources that have greatly aided me in this pursuit are menu planning, structuring your week into daily routines, a homemaking binder, simplifying my life, making goals, etc.  I will be sharing some of these in subsequent posts.  I hope they encourage and enable you to begin to live intentionally (if you aren’t already) and ultimately, that you will feel the peace and joy that living this way can bring.  It is best to take it a step at a time, though, so as not to be overwhelmed. I will begin posting in the order that I found most helpful to begin.  I hope it is an encouragement to you!

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Michelle Farrell on April 30, 2011 at 3:20 am

    AN-I love organization and if you prayed for someone to come help you…HERE I AM! The next time we pass through town I’ll stop by and help you out! I’ve often considered starting my own business as a professional organizer. I love organizing things and feel such happiness when I open a closet that is uncluttered and organized. See you this summer!

    Reply

    • Posted by ashleynicolewillcox on April 30, 2011 at 11:52 am

      Michelle, wonderful! You have definitely been an inspiration already, just working in your home for a couple of years I had a lot of, “Oh, that’s a great idea!” moments:-) Would love to learn more from you. You definitely know how to keep house!

      Reply

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