Living an intentional life draws from many elements. Simplicity, thoughtfulness, and self-awareness come immediately to mind. As I continue to seek to live a more intentional life, I find that I am almost always on the upward slope of a learning curve. Certainly, I’ve had my share of setbacks. We all do. It’s not an easy and natural condition for most of us, this intentional living.
I am reminded of a scene from The Empire Strikes Back, in which Yoda describes Luke’s lack of focus. “This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. What he was doing.” Focus is a major aspect of intentional living.
It is a good thing, to plan for the future and to be prepared. The inverse is, it isn’t good to ignore the present in favor of the future. If you are going through a tough time seek support and help if needed, and persevere, rather than ignoring the issue and hoping tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow can be a better day for any of us, but in my opinion it takes an intentional effort on our parts for this to come to fruition.
I enjoy listening to and reading from John C. Maxwell’s works. I’ll close with a quote from him: “Intentional living always has an idea. Unintentional living always has an excuse.” I urge you to have ideas, not excuses.
We all have principles by which we live. Some folks have very high principles. Some folks have very low principles. Most of us are probably somewhere in the middle. Even so, if we do not live by the principles which we claim, then they are little more than empty words. Last evening I had a committee meeting at my church. I stopped at a Walgreen’s to get a juice and some nuts to hold me over until I got home for supper. Even though it was only a little past 5:00 PM it was already quite dark.
As I was leaving with my purchase I could not help but notice an attractive young woman in the vestibule. She was sitting on the floor, huddled in a corner, watching the parking lot. She was not dressed remotely appropriately for the outside temperature, in the high 20s or low 30s. I don’t think I have ever seen someone look so forlorn and defeated as she.
I made it about five steps outside the door before I told myself “no”. I could not ignore this young woman so I turned around and went back inside the vestibule. I asked her if she was OK. It was heartbreaking how that simple question lit up her face. “Do you have a cell phone I can borrow?” she asked hopefully. I told her I did, and I dialed the number she gave me and handed the phone to her.
The long story short is that her boyfriend was supposed to pick her up an hour earlier when she had been released from the nearby county jail. Having no cell phone she was adrift without options. Using my phone, she called someone who could get in touch with her boyfriend. A few minutes later she called again and was told that her boyfriend was on his way. I don’t think I have ever seen someone so happy from such a small (to me) gesture.
I don’t know or care why she was in jail. I only pray that her path forward is a good one. And I can’t help but think of Matthew 25:40 “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” So you see, it wasn’t about me at all.