My daughter had her first official babysitting experience recently. A couple of days later, it struck me that my husband and I should be able to go on a date any time now. If she is old enough to babysit other kids, she is mature enough and capable enough to watch her younger siblings.
This is a new era for us and one that I am ready to embrace!
And so, Dave and I went on a spur of the moment date and it felt a lot like college to me (even though we have officially known each other for half of our lives- this is a very weird thought and a comfortable one all at once!). We ate dinner in the city and then walked hand in hand to a coffee shop where we enjoyed the best latte I have ever had in my entire life (and I have enjoyed a lot of lattes!).
As we talked, one of the main subjects we kept returning to was the idea of intentional living. We tend to be spontaneous people, but God has been teaching us to live with intention and purpose these past few years. As we pondered the work that God has been doing in our hearts, we both could see that writing in my blog for 5 1/2 years has forced me to be deliberate and to desire to live my life with intention.
Those who know me well (and even casually!), know that I am a bit of a mess. My crazy, creative brain never quite shuts down. I’m constantly spinning many little balls and I drop important ones quite often. There are people who will only experience the ones that I keep spinning and they are amazed. How do you do it all? they ask and I cringe inside. I don’t! I want to cry out. I will let you down. My battery will die on my phone when I am supposed to return a call. I will inevitably be late to most appointments (and I can give you the myriad of reasons for my tardiness, but that’s not the point). I will forget to send the birthday card and gift until it’s ridiculously late and then I will feel embarrassed and not send it at all. I will forget to call on important occasions.
If you could get inside my head, you would know that I am constantly a little bit irritated with myself and my inability to keep it all together.
This is why living intentionally is so important. Too often, I let life happen to me instead of determining how I will happen to my life. As we have sought to live with intention, it has opened our lives to possibilities we would not have been prepared for had we not sought purpose and meaning in all that we do.
The biggest result of intentional living has culminated in our decision to homeschool our children. Our lives had become crazed, tied to schedules that were beyond our control. Even with the limits we had placed on the number of activities our kids could be involved in, we still felt a push and pull on our lives as we desperately tried to get from one thing to the next. We felt frantic rather than intentional.
When we moved to Rochester five years ago, life slowed down for me in an amazing way. I stopped trying to please everyone (to be clear, this was self imposed as much as it was pressure from those around me) and was given the opportunity to rest and recover. I discovered that God didn’t need me to do His work. Rather He invited me to be a part of what He was doing, but when I got those two things confused, my life would quickly derail. The past five years have been a relinquishing of the control I have tried to have on my life and trusting in God to lead and direct my paths.
After a ridiculously busy time in our lives this past Spring, my husband and I decided that we would never allow our lives to get that busy again. We knew we needed to make some changes, but didn’t realize that God was already changing us! And then one night, I had a conversation with one of my children that broke my heart. As I told my husband what had been said, he responded with I think we need to consider homeschooling. My immediate response of I agree surprised me, but upon reflection, I can see how God was preparing both of our hearts.
A sweet couple in our church recently welcomed a precious baby boy into their family. I signed up to bring a meal and promptly forgot, because I didn’t write it down. I remembered as soon as I received a text from a very gracious friend after the time I should have delivered the meal. My heart sank. Of all of the things I could have forgotten, this should not have been one of them!!
It was a reminder to me that even my best efforts will not be perfect. I still have a ways to go in my desire to live with intention. But as I was pondering these things and beating myself up a little, my friend sent me a text and in it she said life-giving words- you are deeply loved. What a gift to be reminded that my worth is not tied up in what I do or don’t do. I will continue to mess up and fail. This is something I know for sure.
I am free to fail and free to get it right, because the way my friend loves me is how my God loves me. His love is not based on how good I am. He holds no record of wrongs. I don’t have to jump through hoops to please Him. I don’t have to wonder if there is an end to His patience with me. His faithfulness is great!
My response to this kind of love is a deep desire to live with intention, because this kind of love compels me to live well. I want to grow and change, because pleasing a God who will never fail me has become my heart’s desire.
I want to live with intention!