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I recently stumbled across a phrase that I hadn’t really given much thought to in the past. At first I truly thought that it was something new to the scene like minimalism and KonMari. But as I dug into it more, I realised that I already live my life this way. What I’m talking about is living with intention. If you think about it, when you live your life with a purpose and you follow through with your daily activities, aren’t you living with intention?
What is intentional living?
I found many different definitions of living an intentional life. To act with intention, simply means to act on purpose. But I believe that living with intention means that you’re living out your faith by following God’s commandments of loving God first and loving everybody else as you love yourself.
Matthew 22:36-40 KJV tells us “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
When you ask, what is intentional living? It means you are being intentional about your choices. You make the conscious choice to do more of what’s important and less of what is not.
How do we live the intentional life?
First we need to take a look at God’s purpose for your life and use that as the guideline for your living with intention.
Roman’s 12:2 KJV tells us “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” In other words, live by God’s guidelines, not worldly ones.
Spend time with God daily, through prayer and Bible study to get closer to Him. Learn His thoughts, ideas and commandments. Then when you commune with Him in prayer and Bible reading, He will show you the paths that you should take.What is intentional living? It means you are being intentional about your choices. You make the conscious choice to do more of what's important and less of what is not. #LivingIntentionally Click To Tweet
Is it wrong for a Christian to plan?
The Bible is full of examples of making plans and goals. Even Jesus made a plan for us to spread the Gospel, preaching, baptizing and teaching new disciples as he tells us in Matthew 28:18-20. But what about goals that don’t have to do with prayer, faith and service? Look, as moms we have duties to care for our families. But even something as mundane as laundry and grocery shopping (I’m sure those are on your to-do list, right?) can be goals. The point is that we do all to glorify God and for His honor.
Consider this scripture below in Proverbs which tells us to be wise and work. Plan for the harvest. Because if you don’t, you’ll have no way to provide for your family. Then Proverbs 21:5 reminds us of the importance of planning.
Scriptures supporting the intentional life
Prov 6:6-11 KJV “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.”
Proverbs 21:5 KJV “The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.”
However, James 4:13-16 reminds us “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.”
God desires for us to live on purpose, not by accident. The most important part of planning is to do it with God. We can make goals and dreams and plans all day long, but ultimately, it’s the Lord’s will that matters. So be sure and keep God in the planning process. So when it comes time for implementation, you’ll be doing things His way and you’ll have a much better result. So set some goals, but do it in accordance with God’s plan for your life. Remember that it’s all about pleasing the Lord in all that we do.
1 Corinthians 10:31 KJV “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
What does living the intentional life look like?
For help in the planning and organization part of living with intention, Cultivate What Matters is a great Christian company that has created some incredible goal planners that will help you put living with intention down on paper. As an avid list-maker and planner myself, I am so very impressed with this company and the products that they offer. In addition to the 2020 Undated Power Sheets Intentional Goal Planner, they also offer journals, and notebook sets, and greeting card sets and calendars for all of your personal needs. What I love about the 2020 Undated Power Sheets Planner is that they offer a free goal coaching video series to show you how to get started with their fabulous resource.
I highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with Cultivate What Matters, because if you’re like me, (and I think you are), you’ll fall in love with these products as much as I have. But it’s not just the products, the blog has a ton of great ideas and living with intention is a great theme of their company. Regardless, whether you use the Power Sheets or a plain blank sheet of paper, writing your thoughts and plans down is a necessary part of the intentional life.
Planning for living an intentional life helps to narrow your focus. There are many areas of our lives where living with intention will make things better and easier. Start with picking one segment of your life that you want to be more intentional about and go from there. Ask yourself, what is the best use of my time and resources that will bring glory to God?
Here is a list of categories to help you in narrowing your focus of a more productive and intentional life.
Living with Intention through Spiritual and Personal growth
Making God a priority in your life is essential to living with intention. After all, if we don’t put God first, our lives will get all caddy-wompus and you’ll give a foothold to the devil to come in and lead you down all sorts of paths of unrighteousness.
Here are some ideas:
- Spend time daily in God’s Word
- Pray often and always
- Add the YouVersion Bible app to your phone so you can read your Bible anyplace, anytime. Their plans are great and you can pick any topic to dig into with some guidance. Then choose a Bible reading plan.
- Attend church regularly. This is where you can hear the Word of God and fellowship with people who have the same faith as you. Your church family should be your closest relationships.
- Spend time with your church family outside of Sunday morning.
- Listen to worship songs when the radio is on
- Memorize scripture
- Read a book that grows your faith
- Write in your gratitude journal
Here are some related posts that I know you’ll enjoy:
Living with Intention for Better Health and Wellness
If you don’t feel your best, you are not living an intentional life. Eat well, get plenty of rest, and get some exercise to be your healthiest. If you struggle with some type of chronic illness, acknowledge the little victories as they come.
Here are some ideas:
- Add a vegetable to every meal
- Take your vitamins every day
- Invest in a Fitbit Versa 2 or some variation of Fitbit to measure your steps and set a daily goal
- Join the gym
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night
- Say No! to the things that don’t fit in with living with intention
- Find something beautiful in every obstacle
Living with Intention with Your Spouse and Children
These are the most important people in your life. What are we doing to intentionally develop those relationships? Are you spending quality time with the people you love? Are you present? Do you make time for them?
Here are some ideas to help you develop those relationships.
For the entire family:
- Pray with and for each other
- Sit down to meals together
- Show gratitude to each other
- Brainstorm TV-free activities to do together
- Create traditions for all sorts of seasons. You might enjoy annual Christmas tree lightings, adopting from the angel tree at Christmas, cookie making, care kits for the homeless, or travel kits for the kids for every trip. You get my point!
With your spouse:
- Go on monthly dates, you might also love one of these subscription boxes with things to do during your at-home dates. You could try the Date in a Box or the Agape Love Box to simplify things.
- Date night doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. Go for a drive, play a game together, recreate a special memory. The point is to spend time together. Put it on your calendar. But whatever you do, don’t cancel because you’re tired. Prioritizing your relationship is important. Not only for the two of you, but your kids need to see what a healthy relationship looks like.
- Write out your marriage story
- Plan for your next anniversary
- Cook a new recipe together
- Take a class together
- Take turns answering these 36 Questions that Lead to Love. Even if you’ve been married for almost 30 years like we have, you’ll learn some great insight to your partner and it makes for great conversation on private time together, like Date Night.
- Watch movies together and snuggle
- Pick your favorite type of food and go in search of a new restaurant that serves that food.
With your children:
- Teach them about Jesus and teach them to pray
- Show your kids what a relationship with the Lord looks like and teach them early to love Him and about salvation
- Enjoy time together outside
- Do crafts together
- Laugh together
- Perform Random Acts of Kindness together
- Go on dates with your kids, one at a time. They need one-on-one time with Mom. I always did a Mommy and Me day on their birthdays. They would pick a restaurant. Then we would go shopping to buy an outfit or something they want, then finish off with lunch.
- Teach your kids to cook. Include them in the kitchen as soon as possible and foster that love of making food for loved ones. Doing that with my kids created a skill that will last them forever.
- Read to your kids and teach them a love of books
- Ask them about their goals and help them investigate what they’ll need to do to reach those goals
Living with Intention with Your Other Relationships
If friendships and family relationships are important to you, and I believe they should be, then make it a priority to develop those friendships. I believe that if you want good friends, then you need to be a good friend. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t made friendships a priority and in my quest to live with intention, one of my goals this year is to work harder on my friendships. You don’t need a ton of friends, just work on developing the ones that you have.
Here are some ideas:
- Be a generous friend in all that you do. In other words, intentionally love and care for that person.
- Have another couple over for dinner and game night
- Bring together your friends for lunch every month or two. The goal is prioritizing regularity.
- Keep track of their birthdays. Send cards with personalized notes.
- Keep in touch by text, phone or email
- Go shopping or out to lunch
Living with Intention with Your Finances
There is no greater freedom than having your financial house in order. Living with intention means that you have a budget or money management system in place. It means that you’re taking charge of your finances and ruling them, instead of them ruling you. Are you confident in your income? Do you need to cut back on some things or if you’ve cut back as much as you can, is it time to bring in another source of income? Money causes all kinds of stress and nobody wants or needs stress in their life.
Here are some ideas:
- Be a frugal steward of the money God has entrusted you with
- Set up a budget and review it monthly
- Use cash
- Cut up all your credit cards and if you can’t afford to pay cash, don’t buy it!
- Live within your means
- Sign up for Financial Peace University or read a Dave Ramsey book like The Total Money Makeover, which has been a great source of info for me (and I was a Finance major)
- Make a plan to fully fund an emergency account. Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps recommends $1000. Check out the rest of his super popular baby steps.
- Pick an amount that you will add to your savings account. Even $5 per week is better than nothing
- Use rewards cards wherever you can. Your grocery store may offer a reward card. I use my store card as well as free cash back rewards programs, like Ibotta and Checkout 51 each week.
- Save your receipts to earn free gift cards with Fetch Rewards. It’s super easy. Click the link and you’ll get $2 in points when you snap your first receipt.
- Set up an Acorns account, which when linked to your debit and credit cards, rounds up your change to the next dollar every time you make a purchase. When the roundup reaches $5, they withdraw it from your account and deposit that money into an interest bearing money market account based on your requested level of risk. This has been an incredible and easy way to save money that I don’t even think about. You can even add a monthly contribution if you like. Plus they give you $5 just for setting up your account. Be advised, there is a $1 monthly fee for this service. But I have made many times that back in dividends and gains.
- Sell unused items on Ebay
- Plan a No-Spend monthGod desires for us to live on purpose, not by accident. The most important part of planning and living intentionally, is to do it with God. #LivingWithIntention Click To Tweet
Living with Intention at Home
Your home is your safe haven. It needs to make you feel calm and safe. When things are cluttered, it feels chaotic. So make sure that your living space feels welcoming and warm.
Here are some ideas:
- Create a to-do list
- Declutter a closet or a drawer
- Declutter one room at a time
- Create weekly menu plans to simplify cooking and a shopping list and to prevent that last minute panic over “what will we eat tonight?”
- Develop theme nights for your meals. Pasta Monday, Taco Tuesday, etc.
- Clean out a filing cabinet
- Share household duties. That includes the kids. They need to be a part of your home maintenance team.
- Have a system of organization, for homework, bills, mail and important papers
- Go paperless as much as possible to save a tree
- Declutter your life
Living with Intention in Your Career
Let’s face it, everyone needs to have some source of income. Do you have plans to advance in your job? Do you want to start a business? Do you need to increase your skill set? Regardless, it’s important to have a work-life balance.
Here are some ideas:
- Find your ideal balance
- Keep a system of organization
- Be wise with your time
- Don’t bring your work home with you
- Focus on your family when you’re away from work
- If you want to advance or start a business, take a course to develop new skills
Living with Intention in Your Down Time
What are we filling our time with when it’s time to play? You owe it to yourself to spend time on fun things, hobbies and extra curricular activities. But again, if you’re not living with intention in your free time, your hobbies may fall by the wayside.
Here are some ideas:
- Social media can be a fun distraction. But time can surely get away from you. Set a timer and stick to it.
- Read books that help you grow
- Serve in your community
- Find a hobby that makes you relax
- Play with your family
- Relax, hang out and let go
I hope that by going through these 8 categories, you can narrow down your focus of living with intention. Your priority is to make sure that you are keeping God first and foremost in every goal and activity. Because remember, living with intention doesn’t mean living a perfect life. It means that you are living on purpose, not haphazardly.
Most of all, it means you are living out your Godly purpose. That doesn’t mean that every day is planned and scheduled out to the hilt. It simply means to do all to the honor and glory of God. In all things, show gratitude for your relationships and all the blessings in your life.
Moving Forward in Living an Intentional Life
Where do you start? Personally, I would grab a planner like the 2020 Undated PowerSheets Planner, or even a piece of paper and start writing your thoughts, goals and ideas. Journal your thoughts, your wins and your losses of living with intention. Just move forward from where you are. You may be interested in the book, Cultivate: A Grace Filled Guide to Growing An Intentional Life, written by the founder of Cultivate What Matters, Lara Casey.
I also recommend checking out these 20 Inspiring Scriptures on Living an Intentional Life. There’s no better resource than the Word of God for information on anything. Ultimately, the answer to what is intentional living, is living with purpose. And as a child of God, your purpose should be, to serve the Lord and His people. So, how effective are you? Do you need to make some changes in your life? Remember, progress is more important than perfection. Prayerfully, pick a topic from my recommended categories in this post, or make a list that best serves your needs and that of your family. Figure out how to fine tune what you’re doing and move forward.
I would love to know how you are living with intention. Please share in the comments your best tips. I’m curious and I know that our readers would also benefit. Or if you have them, leave me any questions. May you enjoy making the small changes necessary to create the intentional life that Jesus wants for us.