**I am beach-bound this weekend, so I am re-publishing one of my very first posts. This is a repost from 10/28/2012.
I am passionate about making choices that point toward action, toward life. I want my attitude to be on purpose; I don’t want to be oblivious to myself and to others and miss an opportunity to learn, to laugh, to experience something real.
A current buzzword is “intentional”. I hear it in education (“Be intentional about your teaching”). I really hear it in the church (“Be intentional about your faith”). Buzzwords get old real fast for me, but this one is pretty important. Intentional can mean different things to different people and under various circumstances, but consider this:
Living intentionally is about making a conscious decision to eat a banana for breakfast because I pay attention to the fact that it doesn’t hurt my stomach and it gives me energy. (Even though if I had my choice, health concerns aside, I’d have a toasted, buttered bagel every morning). It’s about investing in relationships that aren’t always easy-as-pie because life is better together. It’s about having a mantra and actually using it to encourage yourself; it’s setting goals and wholeheartedly attempting to achieve them; it’s not stewing in self-pity or anger or irritation because life isn’t perfect; it’s choosing to forgive your spouse when they forget to refill the toilet paper and you’re left high and dry in the middle of the night.
I teach my students every day that every move they make is their choice: listening to their teachers, the quality of their work, the words they use, how they treat their peers. I so often wish I could do my guidance lessons for adults because adults tend to think, “I know all the rules, but those are for kids. I can do what I want; I’m a grown-up.” But living like that leaves us in disarray, in chaos. If we live with intention, with purpose, and pay attention to the conscious choices we make on a daily basis, maybe our world could be better. Maybe our frustrations wouldn’t seem so bad. Maybe our relationships would be stronger. Maybe our children would learn to model behavior that makes them stronger, healthier persons.
I’m certainly not the first one to say this. (Google “live on purpose” or “live intentionally” and you’ll see what I mean). And this can all sound pretty cheesy. But if you really think about it and let it set in, there is some good truth to it. And if you’re like me and you don’t want to read a whole book about the topic, here’s the good news: I think the key is just paying attention, to yourself and to the world around you. But if you do need some guidance, I recommend the following:
1. Write it down: What gives you energy? What brings you joy? How can you work those things into your life on a regular basis? Write these things down (or put them in your phone/iPad) as a way to reinforce and remember them.
2. Come up with 5-10 rules for your life. Example: Make no decision out of fear. No excuses.
3. Set a goal and reach for it, even if it’s small.
4. Share your life with other people. Friendships provide encouragement, outlets, feedback, and accountability.
5. Write a mantra and/or a life mission statement. Here are mine:
Mantra: Standing on God’s promises and hoping for the best.
Life Mission Statement: My life mission is to honestly and courageously live a full, healthy life of love, faith, dreams, and adventure.
Now go. Live!
What do you think? Easier said than done? Too cliche to take seriously? Too heavy to think about?