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12 July, 2013

On being intentional

I know I said I wasn't going to blog in July, but I just can't keep my mouth shut sometimes.  This is something that's really been on my heart lately and I have been dying to share!

Being intentional.

This has been coming to me in prayer for the last several weeks and the more I reflect on this virtue the more I see how much it fruit it has beared in my life the last few years, and how I need to lean on it even more these days.

To me, being intentional is having a plan or goal in mind and working towards it.  I don't mean this in a rapid-fire to-do list style, but more of a meaningful, purposeful plan for life in the small things.

A few years ago Eric and I knew we needed to get serious about our financial situation.  Through the grace of God we were gifted a set of Dave Ramsey CDs.  If anybody is going to preach on the virtue of intentionality it's this guy.  I firmly believe his lessons on teaching your money where to go, spending wisely and planning for purchases is what kick started my deep affinity for this virtue.

At first I thought Financial Peace was the start of intentionality for me, but the more I've thought about it the more I realize this virtue started back when we chose to use Natural Family Planning (NFP).  At it's very core, NFP is founded on intentionality.  Every time we engage in the marital act it's deliberate (but that doesn't mean it's not spontaneous!) and purposeful. Ow, ow!

So where am I currently striving to be intentional?

I am working on my time management skills. Being present where I am. Using the computer for a purpose (yes, even Candy Crush has a purpose!) instead of wasting time.  Choosing certain activities over others.  And occasionally saying no, for no purpose other than intended downtime.

Having a toddler is what has made me keenly aware of this virtue as of late.  Toddlers need to be taught a lot of things: right from wrong, that they can be independent, and that you love them no matter what!  This is serious work, at least it is for me.

Most importantly, and what should have been the start of it all, is my prayer life.  Ever since I started with spiritual direction and daily, intentional prayer time, my life has changed.  For my entire life I scoffed a the cliche "prayer changes things" without realizing how much I was being prideful and self-reliant.  Instead, it's helped me be more self-aware, dependent on others, inclusive, thoughtful, and carry a healthy dose of boldness.  Being intentional with prayer has helped me be intentional in all these other areas of my life as well.

I know that this virtue will continue to help me through my discernment of future children, possible career changes (or not), and even how I engage in my current work.  It's empowering to have a spirited-led intention and purpose in life.

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