New Year, New Words: “Intentional”

I love reading. I always have, especially fiction, and from there, historical fiction. Jane Austen, one of my favorite authors, who basically defined the English romance genre wrote in Mansfield Park: “Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.”

Busy nothings. This. Is. Me. So often I feel like I have been working all day; I’m exhausted, stressed, maybe a little cranky…yet I feel like I didn’t accomplish anything. Obviously I did, but it was all in such a blur….and makes my head hurt just thinking about it.

When I feel like this, I know I have not spent my day with intention. Have you ever heard that word, “intentional.?” It means doing thing with purpose and focus. If you’re writing a paper for class and taking breaks to check Facebook, check your phone, etc. it is very likely the quality of the essay won’t be as good as if you just hunker down and do it. And even if it is still a good paper, it’s guaranteed to take way longer than if you just focused.

I am a multi-tasker, which in some cases is a great skill but in others it is exhausting. For example, I have never liked working in silence. I like music or TV on, or even to bring my work to Starbucks just to be around noise and energy of people. Most of the time I can focus on what I need to do but a lot of times I get distracted. Sometimes it seems like the more I need to do, the less I get done…do any of you get that?

I need to-do lists. I make one at the beginning of every week, usually Sunday night, and even put little things I know I need to do like go to the post office. You know why else lists are awesome? All of the sudden everything I am thinking about is on paper and I no longer need to try to remember it all and, oui la, stress is gone! As the week goes on, I try to focus on one thing at a time and cross it off. It is a GREAT feeling when at the end of the day I look to see everything I did and I do feel accomplished even if there is still a lot left!

Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Time well-spent is a wise choice because you never know when you wish you had more of it, whether it is small, like before a deadline of a homework assignment or something bigger, like a lifetime.

When you focus on something, it becomes better. When you make it a priority, it becomes one. I wanted to give you a little preview about what it means to make intentional choices. We are going to do a whole series about intentional choices when it comes to faith, rest, time, and yes, dating. You can’t do it all, all the time, so spend your day with purpose today and just see how much better you feel.

Make a to-do list just for today. Don’t just put “homework.” Break it down: “Math, History, Reading…” etc. Add other things and be specific. That way, you will have more to cross off as you go! Organizing your life like this makes you feel in control of your time and energy, which ultimately will make you feel more productive. Write about how you feel after the day – what did you get done? What should you have done differently? What wasn’t as important as you thought? What did God reveal to you about your time?

If you felt like the list helped you, keep doing it every day or even every week.

Ephesians 5:15-16, 1 Timothy 4:12-15



  1. Lauren Seville

    January 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    So many wise words Julie. So far all of your blogs have been so great and helpful. Thank you!!!

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