Friday, September 19, 2014

intentional living: start small


The irony of my life is that I talk a good game about intentional living, but right now in this season, most days I have no idea whether I’m coming or going. I want to be purposeful in the choices I make, but I can hardly make it through the day without wanting to run away forever. My plans keep changing, my intentions are derailed, and it seems impossible to even get to the store for the few essentials I need.

School started and we started homeschooling our sixth grader. Well, homeschooling is a bit misleading. We are more coach than teacher, as he is doing an online program that our school district offers. A few days a week he can go to the tech center housed at the high school and do his lessons there with the help of actual teacher who really know how to do long division.

Because the reality of this thing is that I spent an entire day Tuesday trying to teach him long division, all while re-learning it myself. Maddening is the only word that I can use to accurately describe our situation. 

This transition from summer to school has been the hardest on me. I am reminded of my selfish tendencies on a daily basis, how I want to do things my way and I don’t like to get off my routine. This doesn’t go well with a student who needs help learning a whole new system and has a brain full of summer cobwebs to sweep out. 

What I need is a savior and his hefty doses of grace.

And I also need the reminder that intentional living is not all or nothing. Starting in one area is still starting. 

There is so much said about simplifying, or minimalism, that it’s easy to get a bit glossed over. It’s easy to get confused and equate someone else’s choices to live simply as a mandate for your own life. 

My intentional life will look all kinds of different from yours, and that’s how it should be. 

For me, the purpose of an intentional life is to live well, making the most of time and resources. I evaluate the things I do, and am quick to ditch what doesn’t work in my life.

If thinking about creating an intentional life feels like it creates more burdens, then we’re doing it wrong. Pick one area where you can give more intention, maybe it’s diet and exercise? Maybe it’s something as simple as an earlier bedtime, if that benefits you. 

I can get so worked up about things that it becomes all or nothing. I figure that if I can’t be intentional and purposeful in every area, then I won’t bother being intentional in any area. 

Today my intentional life looks like making a simple list of what I’d like to accomplish and what I need to accomplish. It looks like lowering my expectations of what I want to do, putting selfish wants aside and serving my family. It’s simple, but it allows me to be fully present. And that’s the point of an intentional life. 

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