How to live a more intentional life
Updated: May 23, 2021
Have you ever felt like your circumstances dictate your mood?
Maybe you're stuck in traffic, and suddenly the day feels hopeless. Maybe, your kid is having a melt down and then you suddenly feel out of control. Maybe, you get a frustrating email and you start to doubt your entire career.
Circumstances are constantly changing. Sometimes, we find ourselves in great circumstances that would be the exact list of things we would put on a list to form our dream day.
But a lot of the time, things don't go as planned and life is unpredictable.
Within this unpredictability of life, you have the opportunity to still live an intentional life.
In the past, I have felt like my circumstances control me. Someone else's negativity in a conversation would pull me down into a spiral of negative and toxic energy. But I realized this was because I was living in a way that was reactive instead of proactive.
Instead of living a life of intention and being proactive to be prepared and equipped to face any circumstance (not on my own but with the power of the Holy Spirit) I was simply responding and reacting depending on how the day went.
This leads to a life without intention, one where you'll feel constantly out of control as if you're getting tossed around by the waves and things just keep happening to you. I think that's what the enemy wants for you, but I think God offers us a better way.
The process of sanctification, or becoming more like Jesus, doesn't happen on accident.
You can't stumble into sanctification. Your circumstances won't move you to be more like Jesus, but living an intentional, proactive life will.
It's a combination of the power of the Holy Spirit and the intentional, disciplined actions you might choose to take in order to grow in Christ-likeness.
The best example that I have of this in my own life has been practicing rest. For me, rest doesn't come naturally. I generally prefer to be busy, and I prefer to be in motion. I get bored being in one place for too long, and I like to be be moving toward or at the very least daydreaming about the next thing.
For me, rest is something that takes both practice and discipline. I don't stumble into being my very best, well-rested self.
I have to be intentional about creating rhythms of rest and giving God the opportunity to restore my soul through rest.
One practice that helps me to be intentional about rest in my life is keeping the sabbath. This helps me to devote one day a week to rest and allow God to use that day to restore my soul and speak to me.
Another has been learning to say no to things. There are a lot of wonderful ways to spend time with other people, but as an extrovert I've had to learn that sometimes it's more important for me to say no and get some real rest.
My husband and I are also intentionally about using lots of vacation time, and this year we've been going on one trip every month for the year. It takes a lot of work and sacrifice to plan around trips and to consistently take time to rest on our trips, but it allows us to cultivate a life with intentional space to rest.
To live a more intentional life, you have to first recognize what areas of your life lack intention.
Then, start to create practices or become more disciplined in those areas. God will bring breakthrough as you intentionally approach Him in those areas.
If you feel like your friendships lack intentionality, set realistic goals for activities you want to do or conversations you want to have with your friends. If you feel like your career lacks intention, prayerfully consider ways you can pursue honoring God within your career.
Spiritual growth won't happen on accident. But you will grow spiritually when you set up practices that are intentional and lead to transformation with the power of God.
What disciplines or practices have you found helpful in your spiritual growth?