In "Other" Words...Living Intentionally

Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion.
You must set yourself on fire.
~Arnold H. Glasow

Karen chose this week's In "Other" Words quote, and added this note: When I saw this quote I not only thought of success but it made me think of our Christian life and our relationship with others as well. They too are not the result of a spontaneous combustion and that is what I would like to write on with this quote.

When I read this week's quote and Karen's note on it, the first thing that came to mind was a phrase I seem to be bumping into a lot lately: living intentionally. It's a phrase I've been pondering often in recent weeks. Part of that has due to being in "school planning mode", which morphs into "life planning mode" because our "school" and "life" are so intertwined. As I've evaluated where we are in various areas of our lives, where we want to be (and where God wants us to be), and how to get there, I've realized that I must get much more intentional about our living, or none of it will ever happen.

Intentional living has also been on my mind and heart a great deal recently due to the tragedy our church family has experienced. Sudden, unexpected death, especially of a young person, has a way of stopping us in our tracks, causing us to realize how brief and uncertain life is and making us evaluate what is really important.

God has convicted me over the past few weeks of my need to live more intentionally in every area.

I must be intentional in my relationship with the Lord. We are called to pursue holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16), to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33), and to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27), etc. If I am not intentional about Bible Study, prayer, and Scripture memory, they are not going to happen.

I must be intentional in my relationships with my family. Being the wife and mother that God has called me to be and that my family needs is not going to just "happen". I must be intentional in those areas as well. (Ouch!)

I need to be intentional in relationships with others. Just recently this one hit hard. I had had a particular friend on my mind for weeks...even longer...and would think several times a week "I need to call her" or "I should send her a note". I even sat down and wrote a note one morning, but never got it mailed. I discovered later that this friend had been going through a very difficult time and had really needed encouragement. The fact that she had been on my heart and that I had been missing her wasn't of much help to her when she didn't *know* that. I realized God had been prompting me to get in touch with her, and I had just "not gotten around to it." I need to be much more intentional about stopping when I am prompted and obeying...right then--not waiting until I "get around to it." I wouldn't accept that from my children...why do I expect God to accept it from me?

I need to be intentional in ministry. This one has been nagging at me for a while now. It is so easy to agree to teach a class or take a position or fill a need just because there is an empty spot, without truly being called to that task. Not only are we then doing something we are not called or equipped to do at that point, but we are also possibly standing in the way of someone else who *is* called to that particular role. And we may also be missing out on what God is actually calling us to do in the meantime. We need to be intentional about seeking out what He is calling us to do and doing it...and not doing anything else.

I need to be intentional in *every* area. Of course, the paradox with that is that *just* being intentional will get me nowhere. We can't truly "set ourselves on fire". That fire must come from God in the Holy Spirit. I may really desire to live an intentional life, but as Paul said, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. " (Romans 7:15) Living intentionally is not easy. But...through Him "I can do all things"...including live intentionally. (Phil. 4:13).

"Success"...in any area...isn't just going to happen. We aren't going to become mature Christians, Godly spouses and parents, or encouraging friends by chance. We have to let Him "set the fire", and seek His wisdom to live intentionally every day.


Karen said...

Oh your part about living intentionally is so true. That very thing has been on my mind lately too. There are things in life that intentionally need to be done, they are not going to happen any other way. Success, our relationship with God and others is one of those things. Thanks for sharing today.

Tami Boesiger said...

I really like your take on this quote, Jennifer. Your reminder to live intentionally is well taken. Well done. Thanks.