what does it mean to live intentionally?

I’m quite sure there are many people who blog or tweet or talk about living intentionally; my favorite is Tsh over at Simple Mom. But despite having read about it and writing a “family mission statement” I still can find myself caught up in the “must-clean-dishes-oh-is-that-another-dust-bunny-go-change-diaper” world with nary a thought about the bigger things of life. (Well, that’s not true. As anyone who knows me well can attest, my superpower is making any conversation serious, so I suppose I do think about bigger things. But I digress.) My point, though, is that even in the midst of the mundane I want to be intentional about what I do and what I don’t do. How can I do this?

  1. Set priorities. I have loads of agendas printed out that are blank. But what I’m starting to do is remind myself of the few things that “must” get done (and “must” is my priority, so it might be drinking a cup of coffee) that day.
  2. Remember the bigger priorities. I said I had written a family mission statement. My husband and I sat down and worked through a bunch of questions about how we see ourselves, our family, our dreams and our calling. While I can’t connect everything to that list, I can link much more. Cleaning up after my kids or scrubbing the tub becomes a smidgen easier if I remember that we long to be a hospitable family and that I feel better about having people in our home when it looks “more presentable”.  Knowing what the overarching themes in my life are helps me maintain a broader sense of purpose in the midst of laundry that never ends.
  3. Recognize when I need to say no. This is a newer realization for me. Not being on facebook during Lent (and then cutting screen time down even further being screen-free) pointed to the amount of time I waste on media these days. I knew that, but surprisingly felt more freedom in my life when I imposed boundaries on it. Don’t misunderstand: I’m happily back on facebook again and just created a twitter account for a non-profit today. But I find when my energy is low media is an easy, mindless space. That’s fine, in moderation. But I hope to be more cognizant about how much time I spend there versus elsewhere.
  4. Think about what I want my kids to know. I don’t know why having kids has made me more focused on what’s important, but it has. Why not use their presence as a way to distill what is important and then choose to live it? I am more intentional about being out in nature on a truly regular basis (in a wholly different fashion!) now that two tots are running behind me.

One of my friends has a proverb he quotes: Drop by drop a river is made. I think that’s the picture I’m beginning to see in my daily life: the drops my actions make will eventually (help to) carve a river in my life. I can only pray that it is a beautiful one that many will enjoy.



2 responses to “what does it mean to live intentionally?

  1. I already enjoy sitting by the stream. 🙂

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