The season I'm currently in has been dripping with the theme of living intentionally. If you've been around me much over the past month or so, you may have heard the word "intentional" come out of my mouth a time or two. It's been weighing on my heart - I've been bothered by lack of intentionality (I'm officially making that a word) and passionate about seeing it change. How fruitful our lives would be if we filled our time with intentional moments. How beautiful our encounters with others would be if we spoke intentionally; if we made conversations uplifting and listened to hear, not judge or reprimand. How joyful we would be if we lived an intentional life; if we were purposeful and thoughtful with our words, acted on our passions, went after what our hearts beat for and encouraged others to do the same.
Cameron and I were driving back from spending Christmas in Indiana yesterday when he said, "I think 'intentional' is your word for this year." I smiled and said, "Yeah, maybe." I hadn't really given it much thought, but as I looked back on 2017 and all that God had shown and taught me, I knew he was right. Over the last several weeks, God has shown me the areas in which I can grow through being intentional, both with myself and with others. I want to share them with you because, while they are my goals and revelations for this next year, I believe they truly can benefit anyone. We can all grow from being intentional.
As we grow older, good friendships are harder to come by. Life happens and all of a sudden, we become busier and more distracted. In turn, our relationships and friendships fade and become more distant. It’s harder to find the time to chat and catch up with friends, let alone get together with them in person. For a while now, the fact that I don't live near most of my friends anymore has dictated how involved and present I am in their lives. But my relationship goal for 2018 is to be purposeful and more intentional with growing, cultivating and tending to the friendships that I have, really giving them the attention and time that they deserve. To reach out as often as I can and let them know that I'm thinking of them and am there for them, always. True friendships are special, and I am so thankful for mine.
I’ve been on quite the health journey over the past 4 months, and it has already drastically helped my arthritis inflammation and swelling. I’ve begun to lose weight, my energy levels are higher, and my sleep has improved. By cutting out gluten and most added sugars (minus a huge lack of will-power over the holidays, because... desserts), I’ve been able to make a great start at getting my health under control. My health goal for 2018 is to continue to be more intentional with what I choose to put in and on my body. That means cleaner beauty and skincare products, and cleaner ingredients, recipes and food choices. That means drinking more water and working out on a regular basis, and it means taking care of my mental health just as much as I take care of my physical health. What we fill our minds with has a huge impact on our health and well-being, and that is something I am striving to give top priority this year.
I can fully admit that I am not always the best at communicating. I don’t return phone calls well, and I don’t respond to text messages in a very timely manner. I get very overwhelmed in social situations and don't handle crowds well. But I find myself getting better at it every day. My communication goal for 2018 is to be more intentional with my conversations with others. To be kinder and more gentle with my words, and to be intentional with how I’m communicating them. To be more thoughtful in my communication, really putting others' hearts and feelings above my own, making sure that what I am communicating is being presented in the best possible way.
Cameron and I had amazing counseling prior to getting married. We tell everyone that we would not be where we are today if it weren't for the incredible counsel we received, and still do our best to live by everything they all shared with us. One of the biggest themes we saw throughout our counseling was intentional pursuit – to never stop dating each other, never stop pursuing a strong relationship, and never stop working on the foundation that holds us up daily. Now more than ever, with busy schedules and the season we are in, intentional pursuit of one another's hearts is extremely important to focus on. My marriage goal for 2018 is to be intentional with our marriage and how we do life together. To be fully present, ensure that more of our quality time is not controlled or dictated by technology, and to constantly strive to improve our marriage and relationship in any way and any chance we get.
I generally have quite a bit to do each week, and I found myself pushing things that I wanted to do or learn to the side because I wasn’t making the most of the time I had. As we enter into the New Year, I know that there is a lot of room for me to be even more intentional with how I spend my time. My time goal for 2018 is to be more thoughtful of what I’m choosing to fill my time with. To make sure that what I’m giving priority to is life-giving and productive, and that it is bringing glory to God. Our time in life is precious – we don’t get it back. So this year, I’m going to strive to make the absolute most of it. I'm going to learn how to play the piano, learn photography, plant an herb garden, and crochet a blanket. I'm going to read the books on my book list, open my Etsy shop, dedicate more time towards what God is calling me to, and do all that I can to grow in my relationship with Him. I'm going to get as much as I can out of the time God has blessed me with, and I'm going to use it well.
This year, and forevermore, I will love, speak, connect and live intentionally.
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ME TO YOU!
I pray that 2018 is intentional, and filled with growth, happiness, clarity, health and abundant blessings!