Monday, May 5, 2014

practice pausing & be intentional

Yesterday, the sermon that i had heard at church wafted in and out of my mind all day long. for the last several months, our series at church has been about "choices." we all make choices, some better than others. some choices are made out of fear, franticness, and emotions, while other choices are made because we are following what God as called us to do. one of the things my pastor said was really thought provoking. we need to wait for a "green light" from God before we act on or do something. he explained that if we just took time to pause, that the pause would allow us to hear Him, allow us to really ponder the choice we are about to make, and more often than not, we would probably proceed in a matter than might produce a different outcome. i think we live in a society that doesn't like to pause. i'm guilty of it myself.
do we really take the time to pause and see if God wants us to do this our that?
or do we let ourselves do most of the shot-calling?
hmmmmm...i need to pause more in my life.

i love when God brings two or more things together to grab my attention. over the last year, i've been learning a lot about myself and the way i want to live out my life. i've been really focusing in on the choices that i make for myself and the choices for my family. the word "intentional" has been popping up in my head, my conversations, and what is at the core of who i am. i desire to be intentional. this comes after a season of intense busyness,where i was doing too much. all good things, but just too much.
the last 6 months have been an unraveling period and filtering through what i should be doing and what i shouldn't be doing. all good things, but just too much. so much that it prevented me from being as intentional as i wanted to be. i talked about it here.

so when i saw this book, i quickly checked it out from my library and read it in a few days. the subtitle drew me in "The art of living intentionally in a chaotic world." the author and i have a very similar past...we both lived oversees, trying to slow down in a world that says do more, go faster, and making daily choices so that our lives line up with our passions and values. this book is not a how-to book, because really how do you write a book about being intentional, when it will look different for each person and each family? rather, it's her experience, as her and her family gradually took steps to live a more intentional life. i love that she took the time to pause and really thought about how they wanted to live out their lives.

it's caused me to dig deeper into what i want and desire, and what God desires for me. ultimately, i want what God wants. i think we miss some of the things God has for us, because we are too busy or not as intentional with our time. living intentional requires us to slow down. it's not the easiest thing to do when we are swimming against the cultural current of fast-paced, have-my-kids-in-every-activity, do more, sleep less, and hold it all together with a nice smile and gentle voice. somehow we all fall into this trap. a trap that wears us out. are we really fulfilled living this way?
at the end of last year, i felt worn out. i felt lonely, even though i had lots of friends. my friendships weren't the deep relationships that i was craving for. i wasn't very patient with my kids over the little things that really shouldn't bother me. i came to the conclusion that it was my own fault. i was too busy and had let too much busyness fill our lives and there wasn't time or energy for the things i really wanted to be intentional about. this caused me to pause and really examine where i was going. i'm blessed to have a heavenly Father that waits for me! He waits for me to pause so that He can speak to my heart and show me where i need to be intentional and where i just simply need to let go.