Monday, October 6, 2008

Being Intentional

Intentional: "a plan of action, an aim that guides action, deliberate"
Deliberate: "careful and thorough in deciding or determining"
(Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary)


My husband has been re-reading Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life" and sharing some of the highlights with me. One of the ideas from the book that hit home to me is the principle of doing less in life by focusing on what matters most.

I have found myself thinking about that concept continually over the past few days. What does matter to me and just as important, do my actions reflect what I say is most important. All of this has caused me to think about the idea of being intentional in what I say, do and persue.

I remember when I was back in college and I first met my husband. I wanted him to notice me. I knew his class schedule and worked very hard to coordinate where I was so I could appear to just "happen" to bump into him in between classes. I was intentional in my efforts to see him, get to know him and be around him. This took time and energy.

Last April I participated in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Houston (http://www.avonwalk.org/) The walk covered 39 miles in two days in an effort to raise money for breast cancer research and awareness. For three months prior to the walk I got up at 4:30am two days a week and forced my tired body to go to the gym for a boot camp class to help get my body ready for the walk. I was intentional.

But that's just two areas of my life. What about all the other areas? Am I being intentional in my marriage or am I just taking it for granted? What about raising my kids? Am I being intentional in seeing that I am training them in the way they should go? What about my relationship with God? Am I putting the time and energy into deepening my faith and love for God? How about my friendships? Do I prioritize spending time with Godly friends who know me and can help me become a better person?

If I am not being intentional then life just happens and I get caught up in whatever comes along. I need to take the time and give all areas of my life a good long look and ask myself "Is this (whatever the "this" may be) something that is going to help develope my life in some positive way? Is this activity going to further the kingdom of God? Lastly, does this activity bring joy to my life? If there are activities in my life that don't meet these requirements, I need to seriously consider how much time I should invest into that particular activity.

I feel the need to add a disclaimer here...there are activities I do every day that do not meet the criteria above yet I still participate in them because they are a part of what I need to do. For example, I don't always enjoy doing laundry or cleaning the house or packing lunches, yet I do them because I love my family and I want them to be taken care of and feel loved. I guess what I am really thinking about is what or how I choose to spend any free moments I have or activities I feel committed to participating in.

All this leads me to the concept of creating a mission statement for my life. I have never done this before, surprisingly. I guess I have sort of thought of mission statements as something of a glorified New Year's Resolutions list...too lofty and not completely or easily attainable which leads to another area in my life to potentially fail miserably in. I am a dreamer not a planner. I love the idea of being spontaneous versus rigid and scheduled. Yet, being a mother of three kids calls for a certain level of planning and scheduling just so we can function. Maybe that's why I have avoided a mission statement for my life...fear it would just seem so canned, not real. But, as I am getting older I am beginning to see the wisdom and value in them. Having purpose and a clear plan of who I want to be will enable me to sift through the myriad of things that come my way more clearly and help me to make better decisions about how to spend my time.

I love the verses in Jeremiah 17:7-8 that say,
"Blessed are those who trust in the Lord...
They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green and they go right on producing delicious fruit." (NLT)

That's the kind of woman, wife, mom and friend I want to be...one with deep roots.

The more I think about it the more I think I could benefit not only from a personal mission statement, but a family mission statement and a marriage mission statement. I will keep you posted on what I come up with, if anyone is interested. Let me know if you have your own mission statement for yourself or family or marriage. I would love to hear about it.

Also, on that note...I have been reading a good book that is helping me focus on all of this. I like it enough that I bought a copy to give to one of you. It is called "Breathe" by Keri Wyatt Kent. It's about, "creating space for God in a Hectic Life". Good stuff, right?! Just leave a comment for me about anything you do to take time for yourself. I will leave the comments open until Tuesday, October 7th at 9pm (cst) I will randomly pick a winner and post the winner on the 8th. Have fun commenting!

By the way...just a few updates
Yes, the kids are feeling better and headed back to school.
Friday night was girls book club out here on the island. A dozen women sitting around outside on a wonderful evening talking about, "The Shack". Does it get any better? (in case you are new to this blog, let's just say I love the book!) Also, my daughters birthday is coming up on Wednesday so be watching for that! Finally, I should be back to another installment of "Friday's Favorites" on Friday! Have a great week!

Take care,
Julie

7 comments:

Becoming Me said...

Excellent thought my friend...living an intentional life...how I need to do that more...

I also love Keri Wyatt Kent's stuff and have her Breathe book (so don't put me in the drawing) and it is soooo good. I'm excited to have the opportunity to read her next book before it is even published...but I am digressing...

Suzie said...

I did the breast cancer walk too. It was an amazing experince

Bubba's Sis said...

I love this! A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the vision I have for my children, and I think it is a good vision for me, too:

- To know and love God with all my heart;
- To genuinely love others;
- To deeply love my immediate family;
- To receive my self-esteem from Jesus;
- To develop my God-given skills and talents and be a productive member of society;
- To be a difference-maker for God.

It seems the only time I end up having for myself is late at night, after everyone (including Hubby) has gone to bed. I am definitely a Night Owl, but also definitely not a Morning Glory. Sometimes my late-night "me" time makes me be extra tired the next day. I'm working on that.

Tales From the Eurovan said...

Bubba's Sis,

Love this! It is so good...especially the love my immediate family deeply and get my self-esteem from Jesus! I may have to copy you!

Take care,
Julie

D... said...

This is such a great post.

My husband works nights. I see him maybe an hour each day, if I'm lucky. In a couple of weeks, I won't see him AT ALL during the week. Because we hardly see each other, there are times I feel we aren't intentional in our marriage. I feel like we cram everything in during the weekend because that's the only time we have to be a family. Thank you for the reminder that we need to take a step back and slow down. When we were married, almost 19 years ago, my aunt & uncle gave us a pair of wine glasses. They said it didn't matter what was filled in it as long as we used them to take time for each other every night. Well, that isn't possible right now, but we can certainly do that on the weekends.

Like Bubba's Sis, I make things worse for me during the day by staying up late at night for "me" time. I feel like a single parent. I work hard all day and then I spend my evenings carting kids, cooking, managing, etc. etc. By the time the kids go to bed, I want to be selfish. Again, I need to be intentional about taking better care of myself.

There was a Race for the Cure this weekend. I wasn't able to do this year and am quite bummed about it. Of course, I was just going to walk. ;)

annie said...

New here!

Loved this post. I think having a personal mission statement is a wonderful idea. I think that one statement can encompass the kind of mother, wife, and friend that you want to be, too. When I get a chance, I'll try drafting my own and will check back to see what you've come up with.

Thanks!

God bless.

katemcdonald said...

I really love this post! I think about that a lot especially in relation to parenting... since its just me and Cohen 90% of the time, I often find myself just getting through the day and sometimes not be intentional with him. This is a great post and a reminder.

I love the idea of making a mission statement for my family! I am going to have to do that!