“There is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.” – 1 Ecclesiastes 3:12-13
The air smells different here….
The outdoors whether it be woody or swampy has a very distinctly different smell from the open air of my childhood…
The rain has a very different smell after quenching the dry and thirsty Colorado earth.
But there is a beauty here… a kind of beauty that at times can overwhelm an observant soul or be completely ignored by the complacent.
The way the hills and mountains fade off into the distance becoming engulfed by the purest of blues.
The way the giant flaming rocks jut and spring up out of the ground
The way the lights in the valley from the city twinkle at night… they are most beautiful if you squint when you look at them. I like them best that way. A blurry smear of light and beauty.
My morning commute often puts the beautiful mountains in my rear view mirror. I schlep my weary body out of bed in the morning, put the kettle on and wait in a daze for that blessed shriek. I dump the appropriate amount of grounds in the French press (which these days almost consists of a whole bag of Gevalia bold roast). I throw this most wonderful concoction of water and beans in my favorite travel mug with the bride on it (has it really been more than a month already?) and head out the door.
Already ignoring the beauty around me as it slips down lower and lower in my rear view mirror. I have become the complacent.
This morning I went for a walk, determined to get my muscles back in there appropriate shape and placement. I was refreshed in body but also my heart was reacquainted to the beauty all around our simple abode. The air was chilled and peaceful, I took my time (except for long distances of shade because it was a little too cold in those spots) and breathed in deep, becoming familiar again with the way the air fills my lungs a mile up.
I approached a dad and young daughter walking on the opposite sidewalk. The little girl as often little ones do, wanted to run ahead through the streets to her friends waiting at the bus stop. She was quite perturbed when her father made her wait with him until he was sure the road was safe and had received his hug and kiss goodbye. My heart ached for I saw myself in the little one. So restless and ready to run ahead regardless of the consequences.
I wanted to yell to her, “No! Stop! Enjoy these moments. Enjoy the time with those you love you. Stop trying to run ahead. Ahead will always be there.”
To the father I wanted to say, “Keep on holding her!”.
“Keep her close because some day she will be grown up and wish you could still protect her and protect her more from this terrible world. Don’t give up, keep enjoying watching her grow. Get a bigger cup of coffee sir, keep standing there, waiting and watching. She won’t forever think it’s embarrassing.”
Intentionality. Intentional living.
These are common words being thrown around lately. And to be perfectly honest. They have caught my attention. I have read many books, blogs, articles and opinions on this subject of intentional living. It has caught my attention because I have become discontent. Discontent with my life being more about survival and less about living. More about putting in the bare minimum and less about giving my all.
Because of various health issues over the past 5 years both physical and mental, going to school at university, living in 4 different states over those 5 years, getting married, moving away from everything familiar, beginning a career in a somewhat unfamiliar field, my life has been in survival mode.
I do not believe this is how I am intended to life.
“Life is not an emergency.” –Ann Voskamp
This has become my motto. Quite literally it is the first thing I see when I open my eyes every morning because I have labeled the alarm on my iPhone with this very motto in attempt to quickly squelch the rising panic in my gut that I cannot handle just one more day. I am burned out. This is why the idea of intentional living appeals to me.
What is intentional living?
Often it comes with the idea of noticing raindrops, tickling little toes, preparing meals with whole seasonal foods in a way that an Italian great grandmother would approve of, traveling to see other cultures, giving oneself to humanitarian work and other things. I am inspired by these ideas and attracted to them but one thing is often glaringly missing from these intentional ideologies– a radical love for Christ.
What does Christ say about intentional living, if he even does at all? What does this idea look like through the lens of Scripture?
To be honest I have no idea but I sure intend to find out. We have a plan and we understand that this is a process. We as a couple have come up with goals for our family that have steered us toward intentionality.
1. Live Simply: We are to strive to not bring earthly investments into our marriage but instead to invest in the marriage itself. 2 Corinthians 4:7 &1 Timothy 6:6-10
2. Provide Sanctuary: Our hearts and our home are to be places of safety, openness, freedom from judgment and love. Proverbs 31
3. Cherish trials: Our trials past, present and future give us an invaluable opportunity to show grace. 2 Corinthians 12;9-10
4. Impact through investment: Using our home, time, money and resources to invest in the eternal soul.
5. Sweet and Sound: Words from sweet lips and actions from sound minds. 2 Timothy 1:7
6. Thorny Soil: Continual pursuit of spiritual growth through difficulty, regular time in God’s word, and fellowship with other believers.
This is our mission statement. This is our plan. I have to remember this is only a direction not a destination.
What does intentional living look like for us in the future? I have no idea. But today it means taking a walk, taking the time to brew in the French press instead of the Keurig’s instant I want it now and I want it quick button, it means leaving the dishes in the sink and the bed unmade for a little longer to write this, it means ignoring the incessant ding of the tiny life runner called an iPhone..
It means taking time to create and breathe and set aside pressures for a time to refocus my eyes on my God and on my goals.