I have been thinking lately about the notion of living intentionally. How do we live intentionally? And, why??
I remember my daughter asking me several years ago if we were poor. I answered her no, why? Her answer was, “if we are not poor why don’t we have…”. I thought about it for a minute, because I felt like the answer was important. So I told her, “we don’t have…because we have chosen not to. By saying no to certain things, we are able to say yes to other things.” I explained to her that because we don’t have the latest cars or TV’s or phones, we are able to travel, and have different experiences. And that is how we are choosing to spend our time and money.
Living Intentionally to me means living “on purpose.” Or maybe “with purpose.” It’s kind of like Choosing Your Own Adventure. Remember those books. If you want this to happen, go to page…, or if you want that, go to page… It is knowing why you are doing what you are doing. For me, I tend to start at the end. What do I want the end result to be, and how do I get there.
On Family Life Radio’s website, they say living intentionally “shows you the path where you want to go.” And, “when put into practice each and every day, living intentionally changes your life.”
As I look back now, I can see there are several areas of our life that we have chosen to live intentionally. Some of those areas are: Reading, Travel, Family Time and Finances. There’s probably more, but those are the ones that stick out right now.
How to Live On Purpose
So, now you know the Why of Living Intentionally. Here’s some ideas on the How. How to Live your Life on Purpose!
Start at the End
First off, you need to know what you want the end result to be. Figuring this out helps you know where you’re going. Put some thought into this step. It’s important to know where you want your life and your family’s life to go. Figure out what your priorities are.
The Path to Your That End
Next, work backwards and figure out how to get to that end result. Having a plan and knowing your destination makes the process a lot easier!
Simplify and Prioritize
And finally, simplify and cut-out. Your priorities become much clearer when you know where your going and how to get there!
Ok, so let’s say your end result you want is a beautiful front yard. Not on my list of desires, but it might be on someone’s. Pretty sure it’s on a few of my neighbors. So, great! You know where you want to go.
Next, work backwards and figure out what you need to do to get there. It might be hiring a professional landscaper. It might be poring over landscape design books and putting in a lot of time and sweat equity on weekends. Either way, you would figure out what you want your front yard to look like, and what it will take to get there.
The hardest step, and probably most important is the simplify and cut-out. This is the maintenance step. This is the part that is actually living intentionally! Once you’ve gotten your beautiful front yard in, you can’t spend every weekend away from your home. It’s going to take some maintaining. So, you will have to figure out what in your current lifestyle needs to be cut-out or how you can simplify life in order to maintain that beautiful front yard.
Easy right, ha-ha!
Why be Intentional
So, now to the question of why.
Why would one choose to live intentionally? It’s a great question! And, I guess my best answer is that for me, I didn’t and don’t want to just sit back let life happen. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and say dang, I wish we would have … By living intentionally, we can be more in control of what direction we’re going, where we spend our time, and with whom we spend it. That is not to say that my life is completely in control. Or, that I have total control of everything. Far from it! But, I would like to be more active vs. reactive about my life!
So, we have are learning to prioritize and chosen to either do or not do certain things. By doing this, we make space so that other things (things we do desire) might happen. Back to the beautiful front yard example, one might choose to spend more money on lawn maintenance than a new car – if that is what is important. It would be intentional to be driving a 10 year old car that’s paid for, because it allows that extra money to go for the yard you want.
So while we haven’t chosen to have a beautifully maintained front yard (thank you Jesus!), we have chosen to live debt-free, and we have chosen to spend more money on experiences with our children versus presents for them. So, we are busy Choosing Our Own Adventure and figuring out what’s important to us, and learning how to live it! For us, this is living intentionally!
The Case for Living Intentionally
Hopefully you can see why one might choose to live their life intentionally! I hope I’ve inspired you to at least think about what you want your end results to be. To live a live that is on purpose! It takes guts to cut things out of your life so you can live your priorities. It also takes time and practice! Give your self time and grace, but keep working on it!
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