CHALLENGE: How do we wait with intention?
There are not many things that are constant in life but waiting is one of them. We will always be waiting in some form whether in line at the grocery store, in traffic, at the doctor’s office, or at a restaurant. Waiting is a natural part of our everyday life.
So how can we live with intention during a life season of waiting? A season of waiting is much different from everyday lifestyle waiting. A season of waiting applies to those times when big decisions are involved. A new job, a promotion, a child’s college application acceptance, a weight loss plan, medical diagnosis, buying a house, marital difficulties or financial burdens.
We have learned this month with our monthly theme of Living with Intention that there is a big difference between living intentionally and living functionally.
One analogy is that living functionally is like playing pinball. The ball is all over the place. You try your best to keep the ball rolling without it getting past the flipper. It is extremely difficult to maintain control of the ball especially when the ball is rolling so fast.
The analogy for living with intention is like playing pool. After the initial break, you are only focused on one ball and use skill and strategy to get the ball where you want it to go. The game is played at a much slower pace than pinball. Pool is won with intentional focus.
While in a season of waiting, we must be focused, patient, and strategic.
Waiting brings strength. Waiting builds character. Waiting creates endurance.
For all 3 of my pregnancies, my husband and I decided not to find out the gender of each child. We wanted that amazing surprise moment of finding out at the birth.
Our decision confused a lot of people. They couldn’t understand why we would choose to wait when we could easily find out ahead of time. Everyone said we could plan and prepare so much better if we knew the gender before the birth.
Never being one to follow the crowd, I happily waited for 9 months to get the best surprise of my life. Those precious moments of finding out the gender after giving birth are memories I will always treasure. It was worth the wait every single time.
Waiting will be what we make it. We can make it miserable or we can make it beneficial. Waiting with intention means a new mindset. It means a commitment to allowing God to work on your behalf while you prepare for the outcome.
All through the Bible, God has required waiting. This isn’t to make our lives miserable but to increase our trust in Him. He wants us to trust His plan and His timing completely. Even more, He doesn’t wants us to bring deliberate sin into our lives by creating shortcuts and making our own way.
Psalm 27:14, "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
Waiting is HARD especially when we feel like our life is in turmoil. We often want God to move faster on our behalf. How does your view of waiting compare to God’s view of waiting?
What we view as the last second, God views as His perfect timing. God is never in a hurry like we are. Remember, He knows the future and sees all the other factors that are involved in our time of waiting. We have to trust His plan.
ACTION PLAN FOR WAITING WITH INTENTION:
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CHALLENGE: Learning to live intentionally instead of functionally
In his book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Peter Scazzero says "very few people have a conscious plan for developing their spiritual lives. Most Christians are not intentional, but rather functional. Our crammed schedules, endless to-do lists, demanding jobs and families, constant noise, information bombardment, and anxieties keep us speeding up, not slowing down. Eventually we find ourselves unfocused, distracted, and adrift spiritually."
As women, we tend to juggle many plates and live constantly with multi-tasking. Our lives can easily become on auto-pilot as we just try to function and get through each day. A functional day has no plan or forethought and involves putting out 'fires' all day long. An intentional day involves a plan of action, commitment and persistence. An intentional life is a focused effort of mindful living with what is most important in your life.
INSPIRATION: Keep Your Eyes Down
This past summer, my husband rented a cabin in the mountains for our family to stay and go white water rafting. The cabin was really high on the mountain. Over the weekend, my husband wanted to go for a hike. This was quite an adventure because the road was so steep and hilly. Going down the mountain wasn't a problem, however turning back and hiking up the steep hills was quite the challenge. It seemed that the hills were never ending. I quickly realized that focusing on the hills was making the hike harder and not easier. By constantly looking at the hill, it seemed that I was making no progress.
I then started looking down at my feet instead of looking up at the hill. By looking at my feet, I was focused on one small step after another. Although small steps, I was able to see progress being made. When I was looking up, the hill I was climbing seemed daunting - like I would never get to the top. Once I switched my attention to my feet, I could see the progress being made, one step at a time.
This is the same principle for changing your focus from functional to intentional. If we make the effort to change our focus onto the small steps, then we will reach the top of the hill faster than expected. So instead of living functionally and only focusing on the far off goal, start keeping your eyes down on the small steps that show steady progression.
Living with Intention does not have to be difficult. Honestly, making the change from functional living to intentional living is easier than people realize. The key is small, consistent steps including:
Plan - schedule time in your phone/calendar for when you will be implementing your small steps
Prep - figure out what has to be done before you actually take action on your small steps
Persist - take action and follow through for the area you want to change
Repeat - change happens over time; so keep repeating this process
GOD'S TRUTH: Give unto us this day our daily bread
God is faithful to give us enough strength for each day. He doesn't give us lots of strength to distribute throughout the week. He gives us enough strength for ONE day. This is because He wants us to rely on Him every day not just when we need the strength. The Lord's prayer says "give unto us THIS day, our DAILY bread." His strength is readily available for us to use each day. Remember to keep your eyes on your feet (small steps) and not on the big hill.
Would you describe your days as functional or intentional? Living with intention is a choice that has to be implemented. The most important aspect is that you don't rely on your own strength to make changes. God's strength is readily available, so use His strength!!
1. Choose one area of your life that you want to live with more intention. Be sure to pick an area that will have the most impact on your life right now.
2. Make a PLAN and schedule the time for implementation
3. PREPARE all the necessary items needed to succeed
4. PERSIST with your goal of intention by following through on what you have scheduled
5. REPEAT the Process
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