We only have one life to live, so we better make it count!
If you’re anything like me or most people I know and work with, you care deeply about living a purposeful and effective life. You long to have a tangible impact on your community and the world around you.
The problem is, living a purposeful and effective life takes some serious intentionality. It’s not a simple task, but rather requires you to take deliberate aim and action.
Here’s are a few pain points we can all probably relate to:
- You’re tired of living distracted and disconnected from a greater and grander version of life.
- You would change the way you’re living, but the process of achieving change and impact is unclear.
- Because you don’t understand your greater vision and purpose in life, you can’t set up the structures and systems you need to ensure maximum effect.
- On top of all this, you’re not even sure if you have what it takes to make the effort.
You know what I think the pain is… a gut-wrenching feeling of living a distracted life of missed opportunities.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always struggled with feeling like I’m just missing out on life. Like, I can never really fully partake of and enjoy each moment. It’s weird, hard to explain really, but maybe you can relate. In my conversations and experience with others, I’m guessing you can.
There comes a point when you say to yourself, “I simply can’t live this way anymore! I want something different.”
You see, we humans are built to want to live meaningful, effective and productive lives. That’s why there’s so much out there on the topic! Or let’s put it this way – no one in their right mind wants to live a meaningless, ineffective and unproductive life. That’s just not what people want to be known or remembered for.
And as a result of all this, we’re constantly trying to find new solutions, quick fixes, and workarounds to improve our workflow and quality of life. We want to optimize or maximize on everything we can – every experience, every purchase, every relationship, etc. We all set out with good ideas, intentions, and motivation but can rarely achieve long-term success no matter what life category the original idea or desire fit into.
Though there are many reasons why each of us at various times and in various ways have struggled with living distracted, unintentional, ineffective lives; I believe most of the obstacles and core problems are:
- Lack of Framework
- Lack of Purpose
- Lack of Vision
- Lack of Belief
- Lack of Structure
- Lack of Focus
- Lack of Tools
- Lack of Community
- Lack of Commitment
- Lack of Consistency
Don’t get me wrong, I had fragments of these things in my life but I never really put them together as a cohesive whole or had a mentor or coach sit down with me and walk me through a solid process and plan for personal planning, focus, and growth. I know the same is true of most people I meet and work with.
It’s probably safe to say that we all wish we could…
- Focus more on what matters most; our relationship with God, family, friends, service to the needy, personal growth and development but instead we’re always feeling behind and just trying to get caught up!
- Know exactly what we’re living for – our vision, purpose, and calling – at any given moment.
- Wake up every morning excited to know that every action counts and has meaning; even the mundane and menial.
- Build simple structures and systems, habits and routines to achieve a better rhythm of life rather than always being crazy busy and just trying to catch up and survive.
Here’s the Good News!
These desires aren’t merely a dream. This life isn’t a fantasy. Living on purpose can be achieved. Taking intentional aim and action toward accomplishing what matters on a regular basis can become a reality. Living a life of purpose, mission, intentionality, strategy and tactical execution is possible.
So what changed the way I was living my life?
What strategy made me more effective in achieving my ambitions?
What vision transformed the way I approached planning, productivity, and personal growth?
I call it Intentional Living – it’s a Jesus-centric approach to how people change, live effectively, and impact the world around them.
It’s pursued by taking deliberate aim and action toward achieving what holds the most value in this life and in the life to come.
Intentional Living is a simple name that points to the deep concept of having a Jesus-centric framework for life. It helps us avoid trying to take too much or too little control of our lives. Rather, the concept of Intentional Living is a biblical and balanced way of taking the right amount of control of our lives, the amount of control that God calls us to take and Jesus demonstrates for us.
So here’s the point: I had to make a decision. I had to choose how I was going to live and commit to it. I realized that if I wanted to really make progress I had to choose to pursue an intentional life. No matter how long it took, no matter the obstacles, no matter the setbacks, no matter how many mistakes, I had to just keep fighting, keep getting back up, keep making the decision to do the next best right thing.
Little by little, more and more change took place: more results were visible, more victories were won. That’s when I realized why intentional living mattered, because God designed it to work that way – deliberate aim and action produces achievement. In other words, you harvest what you plant.
I realized that God wasn’t calling me to sit around and wait for him to strike me with a lighting bolt revealing to me what I needed to do; rather, I was to simply begin obeying his clear directives in Scripture by faith – faith that he had given me what I needed (Empowering Grace) to begin obeying, working, and building. Basically, he had given me what I needed to begin living intentionally. In other words, just do something, do the next right thing by faith in his empowering Spirit. The same is true for you and for every Christian.
As we begin 2017, instead of making a few New Year’s Resolutions that are disjointed and disconnected from a larger framework for life that likely won’t be followed through on, make the decision and commitment to pursue an intentional life.
Reflect on who you want to be and how you want God to grow and change you by the end of 2017. Make it a mission to live a more intentional life (deliberate aim and action at what matters most) in 2017, and watch what God will do to bring more meaning, more focus, more impact, and more joy. I’m willing to bet your year will be visibly different from 2016.
After you’ve made the decision, it can be hard to know where to go next. Check out From Decision to Execution: why crafting a framework is key to intentional living for some tips on taking the next steps.
If you have any ideas or thoughts about how to live more intentionally for Jesus please leave a comment below.
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