by: Megan Sinisi
Have you ever made “a theme” for the year, or is this a new idea? “A theme” is unlike the “New Year’s Resolution,” which many people do at the start of a new year. This can be done at any time, so you think about a particular word and that becomes “a theme” for the year. It is a different perspective for people to focus on, one facet of their life that they want to strengthen, improve, grow, or deepen. Maybe this is something you did and have done before. Perhaps you recently saw something on Instagram, and you love the idea, so this year is your first go at it. Maybe you’re like me and are somewhere in between.
I know I am in good company when I say that my life is full and there is always something to be done. Everywhere I look, everywhere I go, something needs to be done. Right now, I have three baskets of laundry that need to be put away; a sink full of dishes that need to be done; paperwork that needs to be completed for my private practice; a grocery list to be surveyed and then shopped for; my oldest child needs raisins for a school project; my youngest daughter needs medication picked up from the pharmacy; our child care provider is ill and took the day off, so when I get back to work tomorrow, there will be so much to do. I like it that way as I enjoy being busy. But it can be overwhelming at times. Honestly, it can steal away the enjoyment in life, as I am hyper-focused like a laser beam to move on to complete the next task.
When I was thinking about what I wanted to focus on this year, it was an easy realization for me to make that “being intentional” would probably be beneficial. And, as my “I need to dissect this and figure it out” mind typically does, I started to think about, “What does it mean to be intentional?”
The concept of “being present,” “being mindful,” and “being intentional” all run in the same vein. They are concepts that have been a part of religions, world belief systems, and therapy concepts that are now spilling over into mainstream culture. It is quite trendy to use one of these phrases. You can search on any cute cyber boutique shop and buy bracelets, necklaces, keychains, coasters, sweatshirts, and phone cases that have some variation of this on them. But while it may be a hot word and trendy saying this year, I find it interesting that most people, myself included, struggle to identify what it means in real, everyday life to be intentional. What does it look like when I am actually living intentionally?
There is a difference between being “intentional” and “intentionally” doing something. I know, I know. You think I’m crazy that adding a “ly” to the end of the word changes it. Well, it does. Being “intentional” refers to a thought process. Think of it as “I am thinking about what kind of coffee I would like to order,” “I am weighing my options about whether this piece of chocolate is worth the calories on my diet right now,” or “I need to make a choice about which direction my blog is going to go and if I really want to try podcasting.” Just a real-life glimpse into the thoughts of Megan right now. However, to do something “intentionally” means that you have already thought it through and made the decision to go for it. You’re all in. Dedicated. Jumping in the deep end.
So, if I want to live an intentional life, there are two parts: I have to do a lot of thinking about what and why I want to do something, and then I have to do a lot of thinking about how I am going to be intentional. And then I have to make the decision to follow through, and then I have to do it.
This is the bane of my existence and the existence of pretty much every person alive. I intend to do so many things. I intend to eat healthily, work out, spend time with my kids, love my husband until death do us part, be financially savvy, change the world, invent Keto pasta and bread that tastes like the real thing, write a blog that gets followers, write a book people (besides my husband) will buy….. But all of these ideas and dreams mean nothing if I don’t put in the work to actually make them happen.
So the question I have to ask myself is, “Am I willing to put in the work?”
Am I willing to discipline myself to: eat healthy for my body, and work out, so I can loose the weight I need to?
Am I willing to spend time with my kids even if I have so many things to do?
Am I willing to love my husband even when we go through difficult seasons of marriage and life?
Am I willing….?
This is where the rubber of my thoughts meets the road to my dreams. I, along with every person on this earth, was created for a purpose.
Proverbs 16:4 (NASB): The LORD has made everything for its own purpose. Even the wicked for the day of evil.
If I want to live an intentional life, I need to figure out my purpose. And I can either walk in the purpose that God created me for, or I can walk in the opposite direction. It’s a pretty black-and-white decision that each of us has to make.
But how do I figure out my purpose? I like how Dr. Tony Evans says it, “The highways of experience, opportunities, passions, and abilities are all designed to lead you to the intersection of your purpose in God and your calling for your life here on earth. Where these four things intersect—experience, opportunities, passions, and abilities—your purpose starts.”
When I look at the experiences, I’ve had in my life, the opportunities that have been given to me, and the passions that have grown inside my heart, I find my purpose: I believe that I was created to speak the truth, encourage others, and allow God to use me as one of His many tools and vessels to bring healing to people. It is why I became a counselor. It is why I am passionate about drug court programs and the accountability they can provide for people who really need it. It’s why I can be so blunt and honest. It is what guides me when I interact with my husband, my children, friends, and strangers. And it is why I am walking in the gifting of writing and speaking.
I think it’s beneficial for me to look at the experiences and opportunities I have had in my life. To take a look at the passions that are deep within me and the abilities that I have been bestowed as well. I think it’s beneficial for all of us to do this. Once we get that piece somewhat figured out, the road becomes a little more clearer to see on this journey of life.
All my experiences and opportunities have led me to this point. They have either fueled my passions or hindered them, but I have learned so much from what I have been through, and each piece is a stepping stone to where I am now. And the same is true for you. You may just not realize it yet.
My focus this year is to be intentional in my health, my marriage, my children, my blog, my counseling practice, and my friendships. These things are my passion. I want to be intentional and achieve the dreams that I have in each area of my life. If that is the goal, then I have got to be intentional in my thinking, planning, the choices I make, and then actually following through.
Lucky for you my friend, if you find yourself wanting to dig a little deeper on how to start this process, I’ve included some journaling activities that can guide you on your quest.
Points to Ponder:
• Who is someone you know that lives an intentional life? What does their life and interactions with people look like?
• Do your experiences, opportunities, passions, and abilities match up to what you are doing in your life right now as an occupation? As a family member? As a believer in Christ?
• If you could do “that thing” as your job right now and know you’d be okay, what would it be? Why? What is a step you can take today to move towards it? What is hindering you from being intentional and moving forward with doing something you love?