Awhile back I told you all to ask me anything that's on your mind and I'd do my best to answer... so ask and you shall receive... :)
You've actually touched on this topic before but could you/would you expand on it, in a post? What does it mean to you to live "with intention?" How is "intention" defining or maybe working in your life?
When I mentioned it before it was one of my Life Goals... to be intentional in all things. Here's the thing: I really do believe that everything we do, no matter how small, carries with it an impact. The decisions we make about who we want to be, how we want to live and how we treat others affects more than just our immediate surroundings. If I come in contact with someone I either leave them feeling better about themselves or worse, but I never leave them unaffected.
I can smile and give a compliment or I can begrudgingly say hi on my way to do something I deem more important. I can remind people of their value or I can diminish their worth by saying nothing. Every one of us matters in every moment of the day. Sometimes it's even in the way we talk to ourselves in our own minds. Do you get up and decide you're not in the mood for the day or do you get up and decide you will make a difference today? Because that conversation will directly affect how you treat each person you see.
The way for me to make sure I'm living intentionally is to first be sure I'm really present in the moment. I'm not crazy enough to think this is easy, or even always possible. I have enough friends who are moms to know that multitasking is a way of life. But when your kid comes up to tell you something exciting about his/her day, are you really there when you listen? Do you look them in the eye, soak up their joy, get excited with them and make them feel heard?
One of my most vivid memories of being little is when I was sitting at the dining room table and my mom was vacuuming. She stopped, sat down next to me and helped me write my name until I got it. She left her stuff intentionally, made me important and gave me her attention. I'm 35 years old and I still remember how that made me feel.
When I'm talking to or even emailing someone, I intentionally give them my focus and try to leave an impact. My goal is to leave everyone with whom I am in contact knowing they are special... that someone cares. It can be through joking with them, through complimenting them, or just by letting them know I am paying attention to the details of their lives. For me, being intentional is paying attention to what the need of the other person may be and doing my part to fill it.
It also exists on a much broader scale for me. A lot of big changes have happened to me in a short number of years. I can no longer work. I can't travel. Reality check: I don't leave the house. I don't feel well and it would be very easy to let the world pass me by, thinking that if everything has been taken from me I might as well act like it.
But it's my intention to be open to whatever God has in store for me. My biggest fear is that He has a purpose for me and if I'm not paying attention, I'll miss it. So I pray for guidance and pray that I can be intentional in all things. I pay attention when I feel a tug on my heart or have an idea of something to do for someone else. I think those are God's ways of letting me know when I'm needed. As time has gone on and more of my own life has fallen by the wayside, I've come to realize that my biggest role in life is that of encourager. I believe in people when they don't believe in themselves... I believe in God's plan when others lose their faith... I encourage and, hopefully, leave someone feeling better than when I found them.
I only see that need in others and strength in myself when I am intentional with my habits and am paying attention to the words and actions of others. And, in a way, I've been blessed that this illness has stripped some things away from me. It's allowed me the freedom to no longer try to get it all done, usually without knowing my intention. I no longer feel the need to be the best at everything, and instead try to be my best by doing what will best serve.
This blog is a great example. I had the urge to write on a whim. I listened to the tug on my heart and I started. I am intentional with the things I say and my only goal is to write every day for all of you... so you all know how important you are, that you are worth my time and that your lives hold meaning to me. I love seeing you all show up on each others' blogs to lend support and be community for each other. That's what living with intention is all about.
I drop the ball on it all the time... I mess up with the best of them. But my intention is to always keep trying.