I first got into thinking about living intentionally in 2011, when we moved back to my hometown after traveling during my husband’s baseball career. For the first time in our marriage, I had some control over what our days – our life – looked like. We had a child and I began to think about what I wanted our family life to be. I was heavily influenced by popular blogger Tsh Oxenrider. Her site at the time was Simple Mom, but has since changed to The Art of Simple. She wrote a lot about living intentionally and what that looked like. I’m grateful to have found her wisdom before we got into the thick of family life. It has really shaped the decisions my husband and I have made over the years.
There are many benefits to being intentional, but it doesn’t come naturally. It is hard. It takes focus, effort, and serious decision making. It can be hard to find the time to sit down and think through things, to change the direction you’re going, and make real changes. But, it is all worth it and once you put in some of the hard work, you’ll see the benefits and life will feel fuller and more purposeful – because it will be! However, it is a process and one that never really ends.
So, where do we begin?
I’ve got three simple ideas for you.
1) Pray over the day every morning. This is a big part of living an intentional life. Mentally handing the day to God and asking Him to guide you is helpful in developing a mindset of intentional living. A few years ago, I wrote a prayer asking God to show me His will for the day and the grace I need to see it and give up my will. I tend to hold my plans tightly and this prayer reminds me that ultimately I need to be serving God and giving my day over to Him.
2) Limit entertainment. We all know what a drain social media or TV can be on our time. I’m not saying to give these up, but I am saying to decide how you want to use them. Maybe you choose two shows to watch a week and limit social media to a specific hour of the day. Or choose to use the time you usually spend with media doing a hobby you wish you had more time for. In this way, you are intentionally using entertainment, and not letting it use you. Also realize that whatever content you’re putting in your mind, however good, can distract you from your own thoughts and desires.
3) Pick three things you want to do with your family each season. Plan them into your calendar. You can start with one, if your schedule is already pretty full. Choose something seasonal if possible, but if that makes it too complicated, keep it simple! It could even be as simple as having a movie night.
Remember that choosing to live intentionally is choosing a way of life. It will involve steps you do once that point you in the right direction, but mostly it will be continuous, daily decisions. It takes time, effort, and being deliberate. It takes awareness and some tough decision making. But it’s paving a path to the life you want.
I’d love to hear how you live intentionally or any questions you may have about it. Leave a comment below and let me know!