This blog is about modeling the intentionality and simplicity of Jesus. But there’s a problem I’ve noticed with our views on intentionality.
Intentionality posits that we follow a direction, but sometimes, we don’t know where we’re heading. We don’t have a goal or a dream we’re dying to make possible. We don’t know what our “calling” is, if there ever is such a thing. We’re just trying to live life.
If I’m honest with you, I don’t know what I exactly want to do with life yet, but I still consider myself living an intentional life. That’s because being intentional does not mean we have everything figured out; it just means that wherever we do walk, we go there with purpose.
One of the best discoveries I’ve made about life is that you don’t have to have it all figured out. You’re allowed to make it up as you go along. Life is sometimes better that way.
But if you don’t know what to do with your life—what job to get, where to move, who to be with—there are certain ways you can still be intentional, still live with purpose and passion.
Here are the ways, I’ve learned, you can still be intentional though you have no clue what you’re doing with your life.
1. You know who you are.
It sounds simple, but in action, this is the most difficult step of them all. Knowing who you are means mining your story, looking for clues to your personality, and searching for what fits you the best.
Before I knew what I wanted to do with life, I was unsure about who I was. That’s when I took a class that involved me sifting through my story, from my childhood to where I am today. In my story, I honed in on specific moments that spoke something about what I was passionate about. For instance, I saw that I was interested in writing at a very early age. That passion never left me; it just got buried. Not only that, but I’ve always been captivated by the idea of helping people. Knowing those two things helped establish my passion for writing to help people.
How well do you know yourself? Do you know what activities best fit your personality? Do you know what you love and what you hate? If you don’t, I suggest you start finding this out by searching through your story.
2. You follow an example.
The great thing about humanity is that we have the ability to learn from each other. It’s how I believe we build off one another. We watch others, perceive the rightness or wrongness with their actions, and see if it works for us.
The truth is, if we don’t know what to do with our lives, we have the ability to learn from those who do. And that is an intentional action.
I believe this is how it happened for the disciples. In some ways, they knew what they wanted to do. They were settled in their jobs, yet something was lacking, something that was telling them that they weren’t living up to their potential. And then, Jesus said for them to follow Him, and once they followed this example, their lives fell in order. They were given a mission that played itself out, even after Jesus’ death.
I think following an example—someone who we know, love, and respect—helps us be intentional with our lives, because so often what happens is, we learn more about ourselves as we follow in the positive footsteps of another.
On this blog, you’re reading of how I’m following an example. The example that really allowed my life to be intentional was Jesus. So though I might not know what I want to do with life, I’m following a positive example, so I know life won’t turn out bad.
Who is that example for you?
3. You set goals for your betterment.
I haven’t met a single person who didn’t want to be the best person they could be. By striving for this goal, I think we can live an intentional life, because we’re showing that we truly do care for how we turn out. The person without purpose would be apathetic toward their betterment; but the person with purpose would press on toward betterment, even if they don’t know where it’ll lead them.
Once I started following the example of Jesus, I learned to set goals for myself—to be the best person I could be. To me, it was an act of not wasting my life to idleness. I set goals of writing every morning, waking early, and not ever feeling like I was worthless. Once I set these goals, the pavement of my life started smoothing out into a purposeful road.
Like I said, you can figure out life as you go along, but this doesn’t mean you’re not intentional. Intentionality is not about absolutely knowing what job you want to work, where you want to live, who you want to marry, and how many kids you want. On the contrary, intentionality doesn’t exactly need neatly defined plans in order to work. It just needs purpose. By knowing who you are, following an example, and setting goals, you can live with purpose, even if you have no clue where that’ll lead you.
And in my opinion, that just makes the journey even more fun.
Photography by Mikaela Hamilton