I think it has to do with planning...with thinking ahead and setting a purpose. As a teacher, when I introduce a new science topic or a new reading story I work with my students to set a purpose for reading. We do that by asking ourselves some questions (What do I already know about this topic? What do I want to learn? What do you think this is going to be about? etc...) After we have set a purpose, then we can read the piece and focus specifically on what it is we are wanting to learn.
I think this same idea can be applied to living life intentionally. It is no secret that I am a type A personality. I am a planner.
Once a month shopping...check
To do list...check
Lesson plans for the week...check
Lesson plans for the month....well I wish but I am not THAT good!
Because I am a planner, living intentionally doesn't seem too threatening or overwhelming. I have a running checklist in my head at all times (no surprise I know!). It is more like a question list:
Did I share some time in the Word and in prayer with my kids?
Did I share Jesus with others in my words and actions? or
How can I share Jesus with others today in my words and actions?
Have I talked to each of my kids today? (some no longer live at home)
Did I have a face to face conversation...a real one... with my husband today?
What's for supper? Did I get it started before work or get meat out to thaw?
Did I get my work out in?
Did I eat healthy and drink my water?
Did I connect with at least one friend?
Did I complete at least one load of laundry?
Did I encourage my students? Coworkers? ?
Have I spent time with each of my kids at home one-on-one?
Is everyone's homework done?
Teeth brushed? Baths?
Did I tuck them in and pray with them?
Please don't call the men in white coats to come get me...I really am not (too) crazy! Maybe all of these questions seem overwhelming and I honestly do not succeed at answering yes to every one of them every day, but having an idea in mind of what I want to accomplish with each new day helps me to do a better job at being a mom/wife/teacher/friend on a daily basis. Zig Ziggler said it best when he wrote, "If you aim for nothing, you'll hit it every time."
The downside of this is that you can become either discouraged if you are not able to check off this list of good intentions, or rigid and so focused on checking off your list that you miss God's intentions for you on any given day. You must remain flexible in your intentions! Can you see me squirming? Even typing the word flexible makes the planner in me a bit uneasy. I wanted to type, "flexible-ish" which is a new word I have invented for those times when I am called on to be flexible and I want to say, "Sure I am flexible-ish..." while smiling and trying to fight back the feeling of panic and doom that is rising within me as my type A brain is screaming, "But this isn't what we planned!"
That wrestling match brings me to one of my favorite verses. Proverbs 16:9 says, "In his heart a man plans his ways, BUT the Lord directs his steps." (emphasis mine)
Life these days is clipping away at lightening fast speeds and if we aren't careful we will be so caught up in surviving the day to day that we will get to the end of our days and have nothing but regrets to show for them. Whether you are in your teens, twenty's, thirty's, fourty's, or beyond, it is never too late to begin living a bit more intentionally. What goals can you set for the next week? What area of your life would you like to see some change in? What specific steps could you take to begin moving in the right direction for those changes? Start with baby steps....small successes lead to giant victories, and giant victories are leaps toward living an intentional life...a life with no regrets!
Happy trails my friends! Feel free to leave a comment here or email me with any questions you may have! We can do this together!