I do not so much happen to my life as my life happens to me. By nature I'm a bit passive, wont to fear of trying anything in which there is a possibility of failure, prone to finding the easiest way out or through a situation, and likely to ignore problems instead of facing them. The good thing is I know this about myself and feel constantly armed with fresh candoitiveness. Mondays are my favorite, tomorrow mornings are too—"fresh, with no mistakes in it, yet." I love Januarys and also Septembers. Any chance for a do-over, I say.
It is strange to me then that I get asked the question (often): "You seem to live your life so intentionally, how do I do that?" Oh dear, she said, I have no idea.
The truth is I am less intentional about my life than I am introspective about it. I think it is easy to confuse the one for the other. The former means coming at life well and the latter (for me) means to look behind at what happened well. These are two very different things. One is active, determined, and disciplined. The other is insightful, thoughtful, and optimistic. The former knows failure is imminent and plans for it, the latter muddles through the aftermath of failure for the lemons and makes lemonade. I make great lemonade, but, dear reader, do not confuse this with growing a great lemon tree. I am introspective, but intentional I am not.
"I think, therefore I am," the old philosopher said. He didn't mean, of course, exactly that when we think we become what we think about. But, as the old physician said (kinda), "You are what you eat." So what we think about, or eat, becomes what we are. So if you're introspective enough you will become a form of intentional. So when you ask me, dear reader, or observe some element of intentionality in the way I live, be assured: I am near constantly making up for lost time, wishing I'd done better yesterday and just fumbling through today with faith.
There are a lot of type-A, planner central, smart women out there. They're writing blogs and making print-outs available. They're the queens of check-lists and goal-making and Big Idea Spreading. I am not that person. I will never be that person. I do not exist well in foreseeing the details, I exist best in the exploration of them afterwards. I'm the person you want at the table after the poorly planned party, not the one you want in the room for the planning meeting.
So when you ask: "How do I live an intentional life (with the subtext: like yours)?" I just want to say get that illusion out of your head. I'm muddling through life just as messily, regretfully, haphazardly, and winging-it-ly as most of you. My only counsel is that we become good and honest inspectors of our lives.
Life passes us by so quickly, more quickly than every before. There is hardly a moment for breathing or praying or thinking or stopping or stilling or being. And we make ten-thousand excuses for why that is in each of our lives (the kids...my spouse...my church...my job...my body...). But if we're wondering why any semblance of intentionality eludes us, that's why. We're so busy planning and planning more, that we don't stop to reflect, relearn, rewire, and repent.
If you sniff intentionality in what you read on Sayable or know of the Wilberts, please know it's because we fight hard to have intentionality in one area: space. We know the importance of stillness. We know the importance of remembering we are not God. We know the importance of awkward silence, making room for the quiet ones to share after the loud ones have gotten all their talking out. We know the importance of walking in faith instead of just wisdom. We know the importance of true reflection and repentance to one another and to God. And we won't let anything infringe on it.
There is an inordinate amount of pressure on God's people from God's people these days to Look Busy for the Kingdom of God is at Hand (and it is), but busyness is not the way of the kingdom, faithfulness is. And if we're looking to our rights and lefts to see what faithfulness is, we've got it wrong. We've got to look at our Master, the one who entrusted us with a home or a family or a church or a job and a future. He's the only One who measures our faithfulness.
The life of intentionality is a life of faithfulness to God. A willingness to confess we messed up. A willingness to say no to what is good for what is better. A willingness to cheer others on in what God has called them to, and to stay faithful to what He has called us to. That's an intentional life. It has very little to do with planning or house mottos or how we spend our holidays or our Sabbath rhythm, and very much to do with looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.