Hi friends, I’m at our production location for my small business, having driven an hour to get here. I was listening to the radio on the way in and the conversation made me think about the intentionality (or lack thereof!) of our lives.
Sometimes, it feels like life is happening to us, like we are just passengers on a train that is out of our control. I’ve been having a few days like this where I feel like I’m hanging on for dear life. This feeling can persist for days or for a lifetime if we allow it. We all have those days, of course. But allowing life to happen to us, also abdicates us of our responsibility to ourselves and those around us.
Last week we talked about making intentional changes. The word “intentional” has long been a favorite of my wife’s. We are very different, my wife and I. I was always a “go with the flow”, relax and enjoy the ride type (classic B type). My wife is a planner and a definite A type. Takes all kinds to make the world go round ;).
This of course, is the reason I assimilated so quickly into life in Malaysia (chaotic, not very rule bound, relaxed society). My wife’s favorite countries are Singapore and Japan (VERY strict social order, and very rule bound). Over the course of our marriage, she has learned to be more flexible and I’ve learned to be more structured.
That is all by the by, because the kind of intentionality I’m referring to (and she refers to) is not a short term, making plans for your vacation kind of intentionality.
The intentional life
When I speak of intentionality, I am talking about the goals for your life, the models that we build our character towards. When I started a garden a couple of years ago, I noticed how much plants grow towards the sun. If you place a potted plant just outside of the sunshine, in a couple of days, you will see the plant lean and grow towards the sun.
That is the intentionality I am referring to. You will grow towards whatever role model you admire or whatever character you desire to grow. Even if you have not sat down and fixed a role model in your head, you will naturally start growing more like your “unintentional” role models.
Now, unfortunately, the role models we see around us in the world are often not ideal. I was watching a few TikToks (haha), and I see many influencers speaking down to the audience. They often demonstrate unkindness, and in some instances outright cruelty with their words. This world will generally elevate the worst among us as experts and worthy of praise, who tell us to live life for our own benefit.
If we desire to have impact in this world, we have to sit down and intentionally look for role models that demonstrate a life of service, a life of impact. Then we need to again, intentionally, grow our lives and our habits towards that destination. I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul who said “follow me as I follow Christ”.
We also need to re-examine our lives on a regular basis and, like with a bonsai, prune those habits and behavior that is not in keeping with our end goal. It takes time and energy to sit and think about where you want to go (in career, family life, service). Then it takes energy to change our direction.
But as I said last week, a life of intentional service, will pay exponential dividends, because there are many eyes watching us. Whatever we plant into our lives, will give fruit. Not just over our lifetimes, but generationally as well.
Let’s plant good seed, so that we can grow good fruit. And that the tree of our lives can provide shade and sustenance for others!
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”Jeremiah 17:8
Love you all, and speak next Friday!