Posts tagged ‘Intentional Living’

June 14, 2011

Just Today

I have a tendency to live in the future – not necessarily the past. I constantly wonder what tomorrow will bring and if I will have enough _______(you fill in the blank) to make it through my many tomorrows. I do this so much so that I forget to live in the present. I am then unable to enjoy the many blessings that today holds.

Just the other day it FINALLY hit me how wrong I have been.  (I’m kind of slow sometimes.) How much time have I wasted worrying? How many days have I not truly lived? How many opportunities have passed me by because I was inattentive or afraid of seizing them?

Simple it seems, but I know I’m not alone.

The future is out of our control. Let me say it again, the future is out of our control.  The only thing we can do is to make good choices today that will reap a harvest later – though we do not know how or what that harvest will look like.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.”

We can plant the seeds of good decisions and choices today. They will be cultivated over time to grow into something greater in the future. Take a moment to break your life down. The emotional, physical, financial, relational, spiritual etc. What decisions can you make that will lead to a better tomorrow?

For example we know that if we eat right today we will age better.

If we save our money wisely, we could have a nice retirement fund. But we also know if we do not take the time to spend a little on a much needed vacation, we will wear ourselves ragged and deal with the consequences of an overworked self.

Are you making good decisions in all your relationships – friendships, business relationships, romantic relationship, in your family – that will lead to a healthiest future?

What decisions are you making in your spiritual life that will pay off tomorrow? Do you practice reading God’s Word and praying even when you don’t feel like you need it? All those hours of praying and reading will come handy when a crisis hits. The seeds you plant today will be there for you tomorrow.

All we can do is make good decisions today because the future is not ours to control. Faith says, God will do what He says and can do more than we can ask or imagine. Worry says, we do not trust Him and that we think we can do better.

So live in today.

Stop waiting for tomorrow to get started. Go. Enjoy. Love. Serve. Seize. Cultivate. Plant. Give God the glory!

Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

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June 12, 2011

One Word Project: A Six Month Review

Six months ago I wrote about the One Word Project – a yearlong commitment to live by one word of the person’s choosing. I chose the word, faith.

As I walked into 2011, I was determined it would be different from any other year. I was confident God would show up – though I had no idea how or had any indication He was near. I am not a person who naturally has strong faith or strong courage (often needed to face the unknown), but I have been convicted that faith is not a feeling, but a choice. This revelation has helped me step out in faith and begin to see God’s hand.

So far this year, God has shown up. Praise the Lord!

My passage for the year has encouraged me to continue on with this process. Every time I step out in faith, I am met with a conflict – fear or trust. I don’t always succeed but each time I choose to trust, my faith grows a little more.

My passage is Hebrews 11:8-12 “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would rather receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.”

I’m looking forward to the next six months. If I can see how God has changed my heart through my faith in just six months, I can’t imagine what He can do in another six months. Often change is slow, but it produces great results. I don’t want to live by my fears and lack of trust in God – just the opposite. I want to step out in faith based in a decision to trust God. Faith and trust in the Lord now breeds excitement and anticipation over how He will choose to show up – not fear and anxiety. The Lord is faithful to produce growth in our lives!

 “Doubt sees obstacles, faith sees the opportunities.” – Lord, Change My Attitude Before It’s Too Late by James MacDonald p. 178

What about you? Did you make a commitment to the One Word Project? How’s your year going? If not, did you set goals for yourself this year? How are they going? Take some time for a mid-year evaluation. 

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May 25, 2011

What Do You Live By?

I work in the nonprofit world. Mission statements, passion, and causes are what we live by. I’ve also worked in the corporate world where “your brand” seems to be king. It all boils down to this: character.

What do you choose to live by?

I attended a conference last week and went to a seminar on networking. I really thought I’d hear how to connect with others to further my nonprofit’s cause, instead I was surprised to find I was working on my personal mission statement.

In reality, why not? If I don’t know why I am doing what I’m doing then I cannot be authentic. And who wants to work with or be friends with someone who is inauthentic?

At the core of who we are we must have a personal mission – one that encapsulates our God-given gifts and abilities as well as what burdens our hearts. Does your personal mission statement give you direction and inspire you? Is it generic enough to carry you through life? Take a moment and think about yours? Write one down. Use it to guide you.

My personal mission statement is this: To make Jesus Christ known by helping the hurting and those in need by using my gifts of mercy, compassion and administration so that others have a chance to heal and experience God fully.

Now, it’s your turn. What’s your personal mission statement?

February 8, 2011

I Used To…

I believe our stories shape our lives. There are things that we choose to do that we may not be proud of. We have hurt others and others have hurt us. But each of these experiences shape us and mold us into something new.

Redemption.

Forgiveness.

Second Chances.

Praise God for new beginnings. Covered by his blood, we can start anew.

Drug addicts.

Prostitutes.

Liars.

Murderers.

Slanderers.

Offense. Offense. Offense.

If we are honest with ourselves, we are not unlike any of the above. Our depravity follows us closely. But it doesn’t have to define us. I often find encouragement and refreshment from those who are able to break free of who they used to be and establish a new life – a fresh start. Your story doesn’t have to be dramatic but a changed heart speaks for itself.

What’s your story?

I used to be___________ but now I am ____________.

I used to be lost but now I am found.

January 19, 2011

29 Before 29

My commitment to intentional living and my One Word 2011 word of the year, “faith” (read more here), encapsulates all areas of my life. I want to live a well-balanced life because it allows me to live as God desires – working hard but also seeking to enjoy what he has given (read Choosing Joy and In Pursuit of Joy).

As a part of this new journey, I decided to create a “29 Before 29” list to guide me. I was initially inspired by my friend HopefulLeigh to complete a list of goals before my next birthday. She recently completed 31 Things Before Turning 31 and is now working on her next list. It’s been fun to see how she’s lived her life with intention, freedom, and challenge through her goals. I want the same for my life.

My next birthday is in just a few months so I’m giving myself until May 2012 to complete this list (though I may finish sooner).  I’m excited to see how my “29 Before 29” will challenge me and I’m looking forward to a fun-filled year plus. I expect to find that I will grow, live in faith, freedom and grace. Periodically, I will post on my progress. Hope you’re up for accompanying me on this journey!

Without further ado, here’s my “29 Before 29:”

1)      Take more risks (i.e. engage strangers in conversation, do things by myself, do something out-of-the-norm).

2)      Take an exercise class.

3)      Read 75 books.

4)      Get involved in a Bible study.

5)      Run a 5k.

6)      Develop blog (help me by commenting and spreading the word).

7)      Go on a vacation.

8)      Find an art project.

9)      Look for a new ministry opportunity.

10)   Go coffee tasting.

11)   Attend 3 concerts.

12)   Cook more (try 10 new recipes).

13)   Find a treasure at a thrift store.

14)   Attend a conference.

15)   Test out my GPS.

16)   Move.

17)   De-clutter my life (deep clean, minimize unnecessary time and money-zapping activities)

18)   Hike through a forest preserve.

19)   Host a dinner party (a REAL one, for grow-ups).

20)   Get health insurance and go see a doctor for a routine checkup.

21)   Be still and know that He is God.

22)   Be a mentor.

23)   Be mentored.

24)   Fast regularly.

25)   Bake a blueberry pie from scratch.

26)   Live as a missionary would – with intention, sacrifice, purpose, and seeking opportunities to share the gospel and be where God has called me now -not later.

27)   Spend more time with children.

28)   Dance.

29)   Be open to new adventures and lean into what God has in store for me!

Do you have a birthday bucket list? Let me know and I’d be happy to link to it.

January 18, 2011

Intentional Living

I’ve been writing this post in my head for months. I can’t seem to get it right but here it goes. Please bare with me (or is it bear? Either way – love me just the same).

I’m a planner. Many of these posts and musings occurred as I realized I was at the end of my plan. But I’m at the beginning of something new. Something beyond my grasp and understanding. I don’t like change. It scares me. But, God is up to something. In the turbulence, He’s given peace. I don’t like risks but He has begun to cultivate a love for adventure in my heart. Today, I can honestly tell you I’m excited about what’s to come. I have no idea what the next year will bring or even tomorrow but I’m ready to take a risk and seize the adventure just the same. The ‘Type A’ in me is softening. I want to grow less rigid and accept the fact that life is fluid.

I want to surrender my will (which has so frequently caused me anxieties, stress, and so much wasted energy) and embrace God’s will for my life.

A part of embracing God’s will for me is for me to live intentionally where I am. He has me where I am for a reason. I’ve been fighting too hard to get to a place I might not suppose to be. In the past months I’ve considered relocating, massive career changes despite just finishing my graduate degree, and taken an honest look at my faith. Praise God for allowing me to wrestle through the hard questions.

Here’s what I know. God loves me. He has a plan for my life. He knows the desires of my heart BUT that does not mean I should be sitting around twiddling my thumbs until lo and behold – the situation of my dreams arises. Nope, He said GO and make disciples. Not, wait until you have your life figured out. Go.

In light of this, I want to live my life with intention. I want to seize the opportunities presented to me today. I want to talk to strangers. I want to speak openly about my faith. I want to love those that are “unlovable.” I want to live in freedom. I want to be an example.

And as I live my life with intention – I am trying to follow His command and GO.

More on intentional living tomorrow.

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