intentional, routine, growth, balance, effort,

Being More Intentional

In recent days I have been thinking much about the importance of living intentionally. We are all have a natural tendency to get caught up in the routine of daily activities that we begin to drift along in our spiritual life without taking positive steps that will help us grow strong in our relationship with Christ. We may continue to ask a blessing at meals, go routinely to church, and try to read the Bible when we can squeeze it into our schedule. We pray primarily when we feel desperate. But I believe we have a deep down longing for more. I've been seeking to be more intentional about my daily choices and my walk with the Lord. This has to do with intentionally choosing activities and attitudes that promote growth. I have set a regular pattern for Bible reading daily, using a sequential plan that includes reading in Old and New Testaments, Proverbs, and Psalm. Right now I'm using a Bible that is laid out that way so that in two years I get through the whole Bible. You can find a one-year Bible also that may help you which I have also used in the past. I think this provides a well-balanced daily diet. Yes, there are occasions when something unexpected comes up, but I determine to plan ahead more carefully so I can be consistent. I'm also being more intentional about what I read. Since I love to read, and I use books as a part of my daily life, I have to plan how to balance my work and my relationships with my reading. Right now I'm reading aloud to Roger a biographical book describing the marriages of outstanding Christian leaders from the past. As I read to him, we stop and discuss the concepts, laugh over some of the funny stories related, and see how their marriages related to ours. I'm also reading a wonderful book on Heaven. Yes, I still read books for recreation--British mysteries (like Agatha Christie) and other fiction--but I make sure I am balancing that reading with books that make me think or help me understand spiritual issues. We are more intentional about TV watching, reading magazines, and even reading the daily news. I ask myself, "Will this help me grow, give me new information, help me relate to others, or will this simply depress and discourage me?" For example, sometimes we find a wonderful nature program, or a historical program. We often choose to eat breakfast outside, just to enjoy the bird songs, the flowers, and the greenery that makes our backyard an oasis of rest. Does this take a little more effort? Yes, but it is worth it. I'm being more intentional about spending quality time with family, accepting opportunities to baby-sit, having planned times for conversation with my husband, my sisters, and my friends. Well, I don't know what changes you may want to make to be more intentional about your choices, but I pray that all of us, like Paul, will remember, "Forgetting those these which are past…" (Philippians 3:13-14) and "running the race with patience...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:1-2). Enjoy your summer and the beautiful world God has created. Make the most of time with your family. Reach out to hurting people around you. Make choices to grow! Keep praying for us. The Joyful Woman Conference in Chattanooga will be coming October 14,15 with Mrs. Adrian Rogers and Reba Bowman as keynote speakers. God willing, all of us Rice sisters will be there, joined by Carol Parks and other workshop leaders and musicians. We're having a special pre-conference track on Friday for women 50 plus, dealing with some of special issues of life we face in those years. So make your plans to join us, and please pray with us!