Living Intentionally

Today's guest post is by Ashley of L.I.F.E. by Ashley Pichea.

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Living intentionally.

It goes against every fiber of my being. My nature is to sit back and let life happen to me.

If I had my way, my kids would parent themselves, my blog would write itself, my marriage would magically be perfect, my house would always be clean, and I would be able to sit in front of the TV all afternoon watching Gilmore Girls on DVD or curl up in a chair reading the latest Karen Kingsbury novel. Life would not require work or be stressful in any way.

Life, according to Ashley, would require little effort and would be all about responding and reacting.

And yet, this is not life. And if I am honest, this is not what I really want my life to resemble. It’s through struggles that we grow, and growth is what makes life interesting.

 

'Bible Study 2' photo (c) 2008, George Bannister - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

 

James says it this way:

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” {James 1.2-5}

We are not to run from struggles and trials, but rather, we are to welcome them, knowing they are for our maturity.

We are all called to live intentionally.

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” {Philippians 3.14}

Our daily walk with God and with others is to be met with intentionality. We are not to let life pass us by, but we are to make the most of every opportunity.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” {Ephesians 5.15-16}

As I have journeyed with God over the past year, He has lead me in a path of intentional living. From focusing the content of my personal faith-based blog to co-founding the 3in30 Challenge, God has led me to begin doing life intentionally - to begin living intentionally by faith everyday.

In order to live intentionally, though, I need help. On my own, I will quickly fall back into default mode and simply be content to sit back and watch as life passes by.

I need accountability, and this fits in with how God has designed the Christian life to be… one full of relationships that spur us toward righteousness.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works...” {Hebrews 10.24}

Doing LIFE {living intentionally by faith everyday} is not something we can do on our own. We need accountability, encouragement, and community. We need to set goals for ourselves, tell others about our goals, and work toward our goals with the help of the Holy Spirit and our faith-based community of friends.

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How will you live intentionally today? Do you have a friend who will keep you accountable? Do you need a community to encourage you?

 

Ashley Pichea invites you to join her in living intentionally by faith everyday and making your goals reality. Connect with Ashley on Facebook and Twitter.

The Foundation Of My Schedule

I've known it for several years now. After having 3+ children, the most important foundation for a smooth running day is rising early, before my children. I am able to wake up, spend time in God's word, and enjoy my morning coffee while it's hot. (I can't tell you how many cups of coffee have gone forgotten!) obx sunrise by jonimcp, on Pix-O-Sphere

Last summer I joined up with the #HelloMornings group on Twitter. It was so awesome! I was able to get up just about every morning and prepare for my day. Then I had a baby. It is now seven months later, and I have been struggling with Hello Mornings ever since. Until this week. God has given me a gift by allowing my baby to sleep through the night 3 times this week. This has enabled me to sleep and rise early. Which is ironic since this was my challenge for this week.

Here's how my mornings went this week:

Monday {Day 1} - This morning I woke up at 5:45am. I almost didn't, but because I knew I had to "answer" this week to the Homemakers Challenge, I got up. {amazing, huh?} I read my Bible {Blogging Through the Gospels} and did a little journaling. I checked in with Hello Mornings on Twitter (#hellomornings). What an encouragement, let me tell you! I was also able to read a bit of One Thousand Gifts, get dressed, brush my hair, and put on some Burt's Bees lotion because the fragrance makes me smile. :) The hardest part was getting out of bed--a mere 5 minute battle.

Tuesday {Day 2} - I was again tempted to sleep in. I gather this will be a daily temptation. I have to admit, this challenge has been my accountability to get me out of bed. I am so glad--I may have to make this a more permanent solution, hmmm? I read two chapters in the Gospel of Matthew, paying particular attention to Matthew 3:10. Bottom line? I want to be producing fruit, so I must be sure my roots are planted deep in Christ, and not shallow self.

Wednesday {Day 3} - Was able to get up about 15 minutes earlier (so about 5:30am). I cannot tell you the difference this makes on my entire day. I am more motivated and "ready to go" when the children wake up and I just keep going. I'm not dragging my feet and then feeling guilty the rest of the day as a result. It is so worth the tiny amount of discomfort (the first 5-10 minutes of getting out of bed) to redeem the entire day.

Thursday {Day 4} - *Sigh* OK, today was a FAIL. But, I did get up at 5:30am (with the baby)and turned the computer on to "check in" via Twitter. I didn't set the coffee last night. I didn't set the coffee last night. So because it wasn't readily available for my groggy self, I went back to bed. But, I won't make that mistake again and I'm moving on!

All in all, this week has been much more productive as a result of my getting up early. The Homemakers Challenge helped get me out of bed. Each morning I have been tempted to stay in bed, but knowing I was doing this challenge made me get up. :)

What part of your schedule did you work to implement this week?

If you're new, or didn't join the HOMEmakers Challenge this week, share with us what you would like to see implemented from your schedule to help with smooth running days.

You can now link up on today's post. I am moving the linky to Thursdays post so it is easier for you to link up. The challenges will still be posted on Fridays. :)

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Link Up Below!

Refocusing My Energy From Keeping House to Keeping Hearts

I've been thinking lately and I realize something. While keeping house is important, I put way more focus and energy into it than I should. Don't take that wrong. It is very important we keep our homes running smoothly. But I have put more focus on doing that than I have nurturing my children. All my "good" energy has been focused on the wrong thing; on things that are seen. the heavens 4 by marsha, on Pix-O-Sphere

Just as a profession outside the home has priorities of work/tasks, so it is inside the home as a mother and homemaker. Mother comes first [after child of God and wife]. Mother comes before cleaning. The duties of cleaning never end. I mean never. You work hard and long at scrubbing and wiping and folding and dusting. The next day it comes back again. Cleaning can be very discouraging work, indeed.

But children? Our efforts to keep their hearts and wipe their tears, and dust their knees....it builds upon itself. It builds relationship.  To hold our anger and push aside (not bury) our negative emotions for the sake of training our children; to lead by example, that is what is lasting. That is where I want to put the majority of my energy.  Not in perfecting the appearance of my house, but in building the love of Christ in my children.

Automatically I default to wanting to do those things which others [including myself] can tangibly see---right now.

There are days when my 2-year old follows me around, raising her hands for me to pick her up. She just wants to snuggle and be near, and I shoo her off with the excuse that I'm busy and there is work to be done. And then I feel a check in my spirit. No amount of work can be more important than filling up the [love] tank of my needy child. Her needs go far beyond the physical. She needs me to be present. All my children do.

If you notice why I do not write on this blog everyday, [even though there are days I want to], this is why. My children need me and they get precedence over my blog. It is often a challenge to put up a quality post. Most of the time? I write a post a paragraph at a time, rather than sitting down and producing the whole thing at once.

I share things like this with you to give you a glimpse into my not-so-perfect life. :) My heart desires many things, but I am in a battle for all of it. Sometimes blogging serves more as a distraction than a ministry, so I must be very careful. I cannot have a ministry without first having my home (God, husband, children, homeschooling, and cleaning) in order.

No, I am not quitting blogging. I am merely giving you a peek inside my heart, at some of my struggles and real life experiences. Everyday I wake up and everyday I battle to do what's right; what's lasting. Mothering and homemaking do not come without a battle.

The question is, are we fighting for it?

Linked with:

Raising Homemakers

Purposing to Slow Down and Live

It is no secret that we live in a fast-paced, impatient, instantaneous world today. Technology has made us want things done as quickly as possible. I would not doubt if this has lead to some of our own behaviors of constant, want-it-right-now mentalities. We don't realize we're doing it or that we've even fallen into this trap, because immediate gratification is what we have come to expect. When we click on a link, we expect it to load in .253459 seconds otherwise we grow impatient. We've become addicted to instant indulgence.

Nathans Birthday Weekend 6.6.09 003 by tinkerbell1972, on Pix-O-Sphere

How can we slow down amidst the constant urge to keep up with the rest of the world? To keep up with life. I don't recognize how precious my time really is - and I won't, until I'm looking back at all the time that has gone by. Do I really want to use it poorly with the false notion that there will always be more? Friends, there isn't more. Once it's spent, we cannot make it back again.

I am challenging myself with this because I don't want to waste anymore time on things that simply don't matter. Even more, I don't want to be too busy to stop and look at life happening around me. So, what do I do? I am purposing to slow down and live. I am going to invest in my priorities and leave everything else behind.

Even now, I find myself rushing through this post for no good reason. I have nothing to rush off to, but my mind is reeling with the urgency to just "get it done"; to hurry through so I can move on to the "next thing". This is precisely what I want to change. Something like this doesn't happen over night and there are many ways to accomplish such a feat.

Me? I'm going to follow in the footsteps of some wise women, yet personalizing it for my life. Ann Voskamp is my hero. She truly is. Her words have done nothing less than draw me closer to the Father. Her embrace was a moment in time I never thought I would see. It's those moments that God has created for me that seem to slow time down; pause it so I may live in it a little longer. I don't relish over meeting Ann because she is considered a well-known, even famous author, or blogger. I savor it because she changed my heart and helped me know myself better through words I could not find. And to be able to embrace someone who has changed my life from afar was nothing short of a miracle. That's God. Those are the moments I want to slow down and live in.

IMG_1185 by christin, on Pix-O-Sphere

The One Thousand Gifts series she began on her blog has helped me slow down, but I am still learning.  Now, her book has even taken me to a deeper level in many aspects, not just time.

Three things I purpose to do in order to fully live--

  • Mark the moments. My children are growing up before my very eyes. It wasn't long ago my first born was just 3 years old, with the sweetest little voice. She is now 8 and she is changing in so many ways. I don't want to forget the little things. Journal the joys. Count the gifts.
  • Define by decreasing. Only by removing the unimportant will I see what's truly important. It will be further drawn out and more easily defined. Prioritize and pour into.
  • Intentional Intimacy...with all of life. With all of the things that are important in my life.

Amy of Blogging With Amy has a wonderful e-book out which I have had the pleasure of reading and am in the process of implementing. It's called Tell Your Time.  It's simple, practical, and a quick read, so as not to take up too much of your time. I recommend it if you need help in this area.

Linked with

Titus2days [Time Warp Mom], and Raising Homemakers __

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{Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means if you click and purchase an item, I will receive a small percentage, at no cost to you. Please read my full disclosure policy here. I have, and will only recommend products that I personally use or those that I see as bringing further value to you, my reader.}