Monday, January 28, 2013

On being Intentional

For the past few New Years, instead of a long list of resolutions (that I might or might not meet) I've started picking one work as a sort of theme for my year. This year, though, has been harder for some reason to come up with that word, but thanks to a nudge from a friend's recent blog post I decided it was time to come up with my word.

After a lot of prayer and reflection my word for this year is Intentional. For me, it fits into every aspect of my life. I don't want to live this coming year in survival mode. I want to live intentionally.

Why? Because too often, I see myself (and those around me) living as if there were a drill sergent standing over us. We have dozens of tasks to do, and spend most of our time in survival mode. The clothes hamper is full, dinner is late, kids need to be driven to an activity, the dog needs a bath, the boss just called with more work. Maybe if I skip dinner, or the kids recital, or my dentist appointment I can somehow catch up. . .

Hmm. Been there?

Here are some of the things I came up with for living intentional this year in no particular order.

Be intentional with my family.

Time goes by too fast for me not to be intentional with my children and marriage. This past week, I took my now fourteen year old daughter to the beach for a few days for some mother/daughter time. We walked on the beach, ate pizza, and spent time listening to James Dobson's Preparing for Adolescence. It's a tough world out there and my kids are growing up far too fast. I know I have to be intentional about the time I spend with them.

Be intentional with my relationships.

I'm so blessed to have a several close friends that despite the miles, stay in touch with me, sometimes on a daily basis. One of these sweet friends wrote me recently, asking how we could better communicate and stay in touch. Her intentional friendship is a huge blessing to me and a reminder of how I want to be.

Be intentional as a follower of Jesus Christ.

I'm reading Not a Fan with my kids and while I'll be blogging a bit more about it soon, the book is about becoming totally committed to Christ. I might have left family to move to another country, but even I have so much to learn about being intentional as a follower of Christ.

Be intentional with taking care of myself.

I've noticed this in both myself and my friends, that turning forty seems to be a wake up call. You've spent the past decade or so changing diapers, wiping snotty noses, and going to ballet recitals. Now that the kids are a little more independent, you realize you can't remember the last time you worked out. Or ate a salad. A couple years ago, I got serious again about working out. Then last year, I started juicing and realize that it makes me feel great. But it's so easy to slip up. To find excuses of why I don't have time. Whatever your method, it's important to take the time to take care of yourself.

Be intentional with my time.

We all have twenty-four hours a day. And for most of us, it's never enough. With ministry and as an author, I find that neither job ever ends. I could work 24/7, fill up every minute and still not accomplish everything I could. Maybe that is the key word there. I want to be intentional with what I do, learn to leave the rest, and find time to "be still."

Be intentional with saying yes and no.

I can't do it all. I can't do everything that Joe Blow out there is doing, even if it's good. I want to be intentional in knowing when to say yes and when to say no.

Be intentional with my career.

If I look at everything other authors are doing, I always come up short. I'm not on social media enough. I'm not blogging enough. I'm not pounding the pavement enough trying to sell my books. . .The list could go on and on. I want to learn to be intentional with what I am doing, and be content with that.

What about you? Do you have a word you want to live by this year? I'd love to hear it. 

Or maybe you feel like you're just getting by on survival mode. What are some ideas you have on living more intentionally?

Be blessed,


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A beautiful life

Scott received a phone call on Saturday afternoon from one of the Christians out in the village where we work. One of the sweet women there, who is a part of our church, was killed when a coconut tree fell on her.

As I sat on the ground at the funeral surrounded by at least two hundred friends and neighbors, I thought about her life. It couldn't have been an easy one. Village life means no electricity, walking to the pump every day for water, cooking over a fire for meals. Nothing is simple. Work is hard. She grew her own food, and washed her cloths by hand with water carried from the pump. There was no pain medicine for arthritis, or a pill to ease her comfort when she was sick.

And yet what I remember about her is her smile. She sat by me several times at church, and I was drawn to that smile. She would sit and talk to me, even though I had no idea what she was saying in the local language. She always made me smile. To me, she was a light in that village that I loved seeing every time I was there.

It also reminded of how much I have to be thankful. And that I don't have to have things to make a difference in someone else's life. I can smile at a stranger. Encourage a co-worker. Call a hurting friend. Pray with someone who needs God's healing hand.

Whatever our situation, may we all use this coming year--myself included--to be a light to those around us.

"I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:12-13

Be blessed,