Sometimes when we think of simple living it means crossing everything off our to-do list and sitting around a fire, reading a book while sipping tea. You haven’t thought of that? Maybe it’s just me. Yet, simplicity doesn’t mean you just bow out of daily demands and sip warm tea all day long. That might be nice, but that’s not what it means. There is truth that you may start saying “no” to certain activities, but the way I’ve been thinking of simple living and how we spend our time is the word “intentional.” AND, it just so happens that my recent reading was also on this very idea.
Intentionality with our time means we bring awareness to what we’ve been saying “yes” to that doesn’t serve us in the proper way. It means we become aware that flipping through social media actually leaves us feeling more depleted rather than energized. Or, that saying “yes” to casual online shopping cuts into time we could have been restored by a walk outside. Or that rushing to get started on our endless to-do list first thing in the morning pushes our slow, reflection time with God.
Jan Johnson said, "Intentionality is about responding to the longing of God inviting you into a different kind of life." What do you think God's inviting you into right now? One thing I've written about before that caught my eye this week while reading (Abundant Simplicity) is that intentionality that comes from God wooing us in a new direction is different from gritting our teeth, putting our head done, and sticking to a commitment. I've noticed in people I work with (and with myself for that matter) when we go in a direction because we feel like we "should" or if it's from a place of low-self esteem (I should lose 20 pounds...then I'm attractive...then I will be worthy of love) we just don't stick to the plan, or it's just a miserable process sticking to that plan. Intentionality, rather, is about responding from a heart-place. It might not always be easy, but it just is coming from a whole different place.
Let's journal together:
1) What's God calling you to? Not based on "shoulds," where do you see God stirring in your heart?
2) Is there any part of you that can relate to gritting your teeth and checking things off the list because of the "shoulds" you live by? Think about how you set intentions. When do you allow yourself to follow the way God leads you, even if it goes against popular culture, societal roles, or even what others tell you in your life?
3) Is there anything you've been investing your time or money in that seem to be losing interest in your life? What areas do you have the opportunity to shift from that distract you from what matters most?
Maybe it's time we respond to God's leading out of a pull of love, rather than a sense of duty. When I think of love, there are times when we do things just because they are the right thing to do. But the times when we first focus on connection, the actions of love are a natural outflow because we are woo'd in a new direction. In the remainder of this week, maybe we just spend a little more time connecting with God, and allowing the love-relationship to blossom. Happy rooting, everyone!