Four Steps to Live Intentionally Today
By: Kristen Oliver
There have been times in my life that people thought I was snobby, thought too much of myself, or that I was simply fake. When I realized this was a perception people had of me, it completely crushed me. Since I was in elementary school all I wanted was to be friends with everyone, not ruffle any feathers and just be a part of the group. But I was also shy at times (which reminds me of my 4-year-old now). So even though I wanted those things, I didn’t vocalize them, unless someone made an effort to include me. I was kind of socially awkward and I wouldn’t say much. In turn, people “assumed” (there’s a dangerous word) I was, “too good” for them. In reality, I just didn’t know how to strike up a random conversation, like my younger brother John.
As a teenager I also assumed that people knew my character and my intentions, but they didn’t, unless I told them! I remember my first day of High school, I met Ashlee, she went to my church, we knew of each other but never had an opportunity to become friends. I remember she walked into class wearing a veggie tale shirt and I thought, she looks nice hopefully we can be friends, but being me I wasn’t going to be the one to introduce myself first. During class we sat near each other and Ashlee offered me a pretzel and I will never forget my response, in my total awkwardness I said… “I love pretzels!” She invited me to sit with her at lunch and the rest is history. That first day of high school Ashlee saved me from impending awkwardness.
Now, I am a much more confident person at 29, and I think that makes sense. I have had a lot more life experience and time to learn from them, but I don’t think God wants us to wait until we arrive at a certain age, until we become confident in our identity in Christ. God wants us to live everyday intentionally for him. Through my devotion time I learned 4 ways we can start living intentionally.
1) Pray and ask God for help to live intentionally
Sometimes we make things too complicated when the first step we need to take is to simply stop what we are doing and PRAY. Isaiah 25:1 says;
“I will exalt you and praise your name for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things.”
When we pray according to God’s will and claim his promises, he hears us and answers our requests (vs.8). I am what you would call the extroverted introvert. I feel alive around people and love including people in my life, but at the same time I need space and alone time to reflect and recharge. When one of these areas in my life is out of balance I struggle with feelings of anxiety and depression (that is a whole other post!) This has been a learning process for me throughout the years. One way I have realized I need to be more intentional is in my relationships with family. I want them to know that I care and love them and want to spend time with them, not just on birthdays and holidays. However, we all have a “busy” life and sometimes go long periods of time without spending quality time together. When this happens feelings of resentment, anger, bitterness may arise. This is the devil taking his shot when we are most vulnerable. I have been praying for more ways to be intentional in my relationships with my family.
What is one area you need to be more intentional in?
2) Prioritize your time
A lot of times we get overwhelmed with all the things we have to do which creates stress and anxiety. After you have prayed and asked God to help you. Start to prioritize your time because if you don’t, someone else will. If you are anything like me though you will try to change everything at once. I get inspired and I’m motivated to change my life and move on to bigger and better things, that I have an all or nothing approach. When I have done this I always get burnt out and end up back at the beginning. If I could encourage you in anything it would be to change one thing at a time.
What has helped me to prioritize my time is to utilize my phone calendar. This is helpful because no matter where I am I can always check my calendar before I commit or schedule something. With being an extroverted introvert I love building relationships and being included in events and parties. What I have learned is sometimes I need to say, “No.” I know when I look at my calendar if I have flexibility to add anything else to my schedule. We have to remember friends, God is looking for a heart change, not perfection!
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.” -1 Corinthians 10:23
What do you want to allow in your life?
What do you need more or less of?
3) Surround yourself with like-minded people
Every year I get excited to go to District Conference of the Florida Wesleyan Church. Which is basically 3 days of meetings. I know, why would I be excited for that? The reason is I know that there will be breaks and meal times and you know what happens at those times? Conversations with other like-minded people. Mike and I always leave feeling energized, empowered and excited for the future. Surrounding yourself with people who are excited about what you are excited about, will build you up. It will help you to be more intentional with your day-to-day. We heard a speaker yesterday and he said, “Everything I know I learned from someone else.”
How can we learn if we aren’t around other people who can teach us and pour into our lives?
4) Start today
Taking the first step to change is always the hardest part. So I would encourage you, in order to live more intentionally start with prayer. Maybe you don’t know what you need to prioritize, or you don’t have a group of like-minded people around you. Start praying for those needs TODAY. You will not receive if you do not ask.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7
Take a few moments and pause. Reflect on your life. Answer these questions for yourself:
Where are you?
What are you doing with your life?
What do you want to do with your life?
What do you think God wants you to do?
I want to pray for you. Leave a comment below on ONE thing you plan on changing in order to live more intentionally for Christ.