Living Our “Purpose”
Hello and welcome back to the blog my friend!
Today I wanted to discuss intentional living: what is it, and how can we DO it!? I think this discussion is so important becuase we really have limited time while we are here on earth, and it would be such a waste if we ould not make the most of every day and every moment.
But today, I need us to rethink what the phrase "the most" means, when applied to our lives. What dose it truly mean to make "the most" of something? Is it about making the most money? Having the most followers? Having the most vacation destinations under our belt?
What does making "the most" really mean for modern women?
To me, making the "most" of life is living intentionally with a purpose: to have a plan for our lives as a whole, but to also engage with the purpose of daily living, and to pursue intentional living in small ways as well. Large-scale AND small-scale intentional living.
I'm sure that when you think of the idea of a "large scale" purpose in life, it connotes ideas of giving up all you have to be a missionary in the field, or perhaps becoming a life-saving surgeon, or even an incredibly impacting advocate and activist for social change.
But really, I believe that a large-scale purpose for your life doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be out saving the entire world: it just means that you have a direction and a purpose in your life, and that you make decisions and actions every day, to contribute to that overall life purpose.
This could be being the best wife and mother you can or it could be supporting those you love in their ventures, and making sure that they feel encouraged. It could be leaving a legacy as a warm and inviting member of the Body of Christ, or it could be helping things run smoothly at your company and in the volunteer opportunities you take up on the side.
A large-scale purpose doesn't mean that you have to impact everyone; it just means that you are working towards this goal in your life as a whole.
Intentional living on the small-scale however, is more about accomplishing things in your every day life that interest you. It could be seeing the Downton Abbey movie with a friend this weekend, or intentionally carving out time to give yourself a pedicure. It could be making intentional time with the Lord, or sticking to a certain food and health routine, with the intention of feeling good every day.
Small-scale intentional living is still important, even in the light of our larger purpose.
It's not necessarily about working harder and attaining more victories; it's about working towards a goal and a lifestyle that we see fit for our lives. This could be a life intentionally focused on relationships and social connections, or it could be a life focused on work-life balance, with enough time for our home responsibilities and odd hobbies. It could be a life focused on living slowly, quickly, or everything in between.
It’s important to define what we want to leave behind in our wake, and what we want our legacy to be. We must define what our intentions are for our lives as a whole, as much as what we hope for the small moments in our daily lives.
When we embrace intentional living, we are able to become much more effective and squeeze much more joy out of life than if we were to blindly stumble through life with no direction.
When I think about my true intentions for my life, "why I do what I do," I always come back to the idea that I want every decision, every moment, every word, every THING, to be lived for God's purpose. To give my life to Him insomuch that He is able to use me for His purpose.
But honestly, I think that that is a blanket statement that ANYONE could say: how generic am I! To declare that I want to be used for God's purpose... I might as well get in line behind EVERY OTHER CHRISTIAN! Lol! But all self-deprecating aside, I don't think it's wrong or bland to want to live God's purpose in life... I think it is a noble and worthy calling that all Christians should aspire to achieve.
There is no issue in wanting to live for God's purpose. The problems only appear when believers fail to flesh out what that actually means in life.
What does it mean for you to live out God's purpose? What does it mean for me!? His purpose is generally the same for all Christians, to love others and to love Him, while spreading the good news of the Gospel. But beyond that, I do believe that each person has a special set of talents, interests, and proclivities given to them by God, and INTENDED to be swirled together with the overarching mission of loving others.
What it means for me to live out this purpose will look both different AND the same in my life and in your life, on both a small and a large scale.
When I see how God has decided to use me in life, I can see that it is in a special way that uses my interests in writing, media, aesthetics, and social theory, to work towards inspiring and helping other people. He even uses my obsession with fashion and femininity to help others! What a good God.
But even in the small intentions of my life, I can see God carving out blessings and sweet moments for me to grasp. Intentional living helps me be more aware of these things, and to grasp the small moments in life in such a way that I can see the bigger picture.
I can see that intentional living isn’t just about being a missionary: it’s about glorifying God in the small AND large purposes we live out every day.
The truth is that to ultimately love others, yes we must spread the news of Christ, but more than that, we must also love them in practical was as well! I don't believe that running around shrieking about the Gospel is the right way to use our talents for God: I think that He works in powerful and mysterious ways, and can use ANYONE for His glory.
So don't feel that just because you are not an evangelizing missionary, you have somehow missed the mark for God's purpose for your life. We can all do our work for the purpose of loving others, regardless of what our profession or desires are.
I have heard it said that we are to spread the message of Christ, and when necessary, use words.
This is to say that we can spread the message and purpose of God through the actions of our lives as much as we can be verbally sharing truth. We can take time to bless others by loving them with our good ethics, our awareness, and our generosity. We can do this at a Human Resources job, or while cleaning dirty diapers, or while working in a retail position at J.C Penny at the mall.
Intentional living is of course about having purpose, and yes, that is a great purpose, but remember, small intentions matter too.
Our entire life is built upon the results of our small intentions: of our small decisions, and our small actions. Our small choices and the ways we choose to live daily will lead us to our larger truth and purpose.
Small choices don’t always have to be intense. They can be the choice to take a nap or offer to babysit. It could be to learn how to bake better or to take yourself and a friend out for coffee. Small intentional living truly makes an impact because it allows us to see the beauty in small moments, and it charges us up for the big moments in life.
Its good to be laser focused on a purpose and a goal in life, but that does not mean that small blessings and treats in life do not matter.
In fact, they matter greatly and are ways that we can engage with reality, exercise discipline, and discover the small beauties in life. We will not achieve our larger purpose through motivation alone: we must cultivate discipline, which is forged in the small moments and intentions of life.
Motivation tends to dry up, and we are often left on the couch, deep into a Netflix series with our goals long forgotten. No matter how well meaning we are, small intentions or big can be forgotten if we do not have discipline. Discipline is the glue that keeps us sticking to our goals, our task, and the focus of our lives. And when it comes to intentional living, that discipine is going to be absolutely necessarily.
So as you engage with what your larger purpose is, I encourage you to reevaluate what that actually looks like, as well as how you can add more intentionality to your day to day life. Reevaluate your own discipline, and release yourself to the joy of engaging with minor beauties in life, as well as large ones.
I wish you all the best.