“Walk with purpose!” Those are words I’ve said more than once to my kids. In the past, as they moseyed along. I was not a fan of sauntering, lollygagging or walking at a snail’s pace. I was about purpose an intentionality.
I am a fan of being intentional. As I’ve written about in a past post, I was a collegiate All-American swimmer. Just letting things happen is not the way I roll. I’m a planner, goal setter and go getter. However, I am also a recovering type A personality and hurry-aholic.
Today, I still love the word, “intentional.” Yet I have found that there is far more to being intentional than the aggressive pursuit of tasks and dreams.
If we look at our lives and think about each thing we do, how much of it is intentional? When my kids were younger and my life felt out of control, I would not have agreed that very many, if any, items in my daily schedule were created intentionally. I honestly felt like someone else had hijacked my life. I felt I had no control. I felt like someone caught in the rapids, being washed down stream, totally incapable of fighting the current. It was a helpless, hopeless feeling.
I was caught up in the day to day life of a home schooling mom. Besides educating children in four separate grades, I did what all other dutiful moms did. I was chauffeur to kids with very healthy social calendars. My time was spoken for, every moment scheduled. In my desire to provide my children with opportunities in the arts, sports and recreation, the things I desired for myself and for my family were quickly being washed down stream with me in those uncontrollable rapids.
I am throwing you a life raft. Grab it! Don’t let the current take you where you don’t want to go. It is time for some intentionality. It's time for some purposeful living.
In the past when I heard the words intention and purpose, I would get all stirred up ready to take on more. Whoa Nellie!! Hold your horses!!Being intentional and living with purpose is not about doing more or about accomplishing more. Being intentional is about being deliberate. It’s about purposeful planning and not allowing life to just sweep you downstream.
Although being intentional toward your dreams and work goals is wise, and although being intentional toward your children’s futures is admirable, I’m not referring to those areas of life. I’m talking about the areas of life that are left out of life. I’m referring to the neglected parts of living, ones that hold great value but have been lost in the busyness.
Be intentional toward your relationships. One of the great casualties in the war for our time is our friendships. We don’t have time for friends. Gone are the days when a friend or neighbor stopped by for a cup of tea and to chat. Our relationships now are quick shallow conversations with other moms whose kids are involved in the same activities as our kids.
Intentionally pursue relationships. Make time to spend with friends you enjoy. Set aside time for more than a quick lunch at a restaurant. Purpose to invite people over for fellowship. Relax together. Share your heart with another. Determine that relationships are important to your life and make room for them.
Our children need relationships too. They don’t just need team mates. They need time to play outside. They need to discover board games, tree houses and shared interests with someone they enjoy.
Intentionally set time aside for rest, relaxation and play. Not every moment of our lives should be scheduled. It’s bad enough that our entire calendar is full, but it is a serious mistake for our children’s lives to be non-stop activities. Studies show how vitally important unstructured play is to the development of children. Children are being harmed by the constant stimulation of activity and technology.
We and our families need unstructured time for COUNTLESS reasons. We need time to fellowship as a family. We need time to allow our children’s imaginations to exist and develop. We need time for our bodies and minds to rest and recover. We need time to enjoy simple pleasures in this life.
Be intentional. Do not allow down time to be what is leftover after everything else has been done. Purposely set time aside for sitting on the porch, for your children to run around outside, to piddle in the garden and to stroll with no where to go.
Pursue time as a family. Set aside time to enjoy each other. We are in danger of losing relationships within our own families. The constant use of technology has threatened the closeness of even the most loving families. Our faces are glued to our phones. It happens in my own family and I am guilty. I never thought I would fall victim to the phone induced destruction of family relationships. Yet it has happened.
I’m fighting back. I want a relationship with my family not my phone. It won’t just happen. The phone is a siren singing sweetly and luring us to the jagged rocks and our death. Extreme image, I think not. We must be intentional in this situation because our default setting is our faces to our phones.
Establish no-phone hours and no-phone zones. The dinner table must be a no-phone zone. It’s essential that the master bed room be a no-phone zone. The evening hours after dinner and before bed should be free from phone use. Talk to one another. Sit in the same room even if you are involved in different activities. I enjoy evenings when my family is together while Emily works on her puzzle, Anna sits and draws, I’m writing and Steve slips in and out of cat naps. We may not be totally engaged, but we are pleasantly together.
Bring back family nights. These are intentionally set evenings spent in togetherness. Do something fun that involves interaction.
Be intentional toward the most important relationships in your life.
Rediscover meals around the table with family and friends and be intentional about making sure it happens.
The fast food industry is booming and it has busy families to thank. When the school bell rings the endless list of activities begins. Monday night soccer practice, Tuesday is piano lessons then straight to basketball practice. We’re dropping one kid off at one practice then rushing to pick up the other kid. Dinner is done at 55 mph.
Be intentional about meal time. Plan ahead. Use helpful gadgets such as crock pots and the new-fangled Insta-pot. You don’t even have to remember to defrost something.
Dinner at home, around the table, eating real food is a goal worthy of your intentionality.
It's Worth It
Last year I decided that I was going to be intentional in these areas. I made progress in some, didn’t do so good in others. I’m not giving up. I fight hard against my natural nature to be productive. I fight even harder against laziness. It’s so easy to just continue with the status quo and much harder to fight for what is important in life.
Relationships with friends and families, down time and dinner time are all worth fighting for. Let’s all decide to be intentional this year. Go ahead and mosey. Stroll without purpose. I’m going to work at it, will you join me?
Photo credits go to Anna Spence and Bobbi Jasay.
Anna - Emily Sitting in the Creek and Couple holding Hands
Thank you to Bobbi Jasay for all the other wonderful photography. http://www.bobbijasayphotography.com/
All photos are featured in my Simple Pleasures books. Check out my shop for my Seasonal Pleasures eBooks. https://www.debbiespence.com/shop/
COMING SOON! "Spring Pleasures - 50 Simples Pleasures for Winter-weary Souls"
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"Seasonal Pleasures - Summer"
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