Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How to Live Intentionally and Stop Going Through The Motions

In my last post I shared about how I started living more intentionally and stopped just consuming.

So how did I go about doing that?

This isn't a formula or the "right way" but these are things I (we) did and have led us to where we are now.

After reading, and meeting with a few close friends, being challenged by God... I tell you it was like I was seeing for the first time in my life. Things hadn't changed with WHAT I believed, it was about HOW that looked. How all the stuff I knew needed to look a whole lot different than it had. Church needed to look different, our lives needed to look different....

1) Read.

 Pick up some or all of these books and start reading. Some you may love, some you may struggle with and that's okay. It's okay to wrestle with things and disagree and also find out you've been wrong.
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Love Does by Bob Goff
Radical by David Platt
Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker
7 The Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
Barefoot Church by Brandon Hatmaker
Sacrilege by Hugh Halter
The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

2) Intentional Relationships.

If you are going to do this life and do it well, you need people in your life who not only love you and accept you, but challenge you and hold you to a higher standard. When God began shifting stuff in us, we were in friendships with people that were feeling the same thing. We began meeting intentionally to pray. Weekly. We said it was happening every week at the same time, no matter what. Sometimes it's quiet and the kids play outside, sometimes the kids are crazy and in our faces, sometimes we eat sometimes we don't. We pray for one another, we share the real gritty stuff and we dream together. We dream about what we hope God will do and we speak truth and love. It's not a weekly get together without a purpose. It's intentional. And it's overflowed into our everyday lives. It's like family.

If you have friends who are on the same page as you, get real about it. Be intentional about your times together and seek more. If you don't have anyone like this in your life- pray that God would bring that about. It can't be forced or manifested- it's just gotta be Him.

3) Do stuff that matters.

Take all that head knowledge, all that stuff you know- along with those relationships you have and look at your life. Are you really doing stuff that matters, or are you filling your days with stuff that just steals time away.
If your days are busy but there is nothing real to show for it, stop doing it. Start doing the stuff that you love, that you are called to do, and stop doing the rest of it. (Read Love Does)
When God first started stirring in us this change, we jumped at it all. We were serving at the Mission, handing out food to homeless people, giving our money away to anyone who held up a sign, looking into moving to South Sudan. I mean we just were so ready for change that we were jumping at everything! It was good, it was just doing something until God began to shape and form in us exactly what that looked like for our family, and He's still doing it.

4) Be the change.

Don't wait for your church to change. Your friends to change or your family to get it. Your friends might think you're crazy, and your family might not get "it"- sometimes that's what it's gonna look like. Start the wave of change. Change up how you do holidays and parties. If you're in a small group, speak up about being more service minded instead of "study" minded. Get your hands and feet on the streets and do. Speak up and don't settle. It may take awhile for anything to catch on, but don't give up. I almost did.

5) Find out what you were made for.

I'm a stay at home Mom and a wife of a full time pastor. I have a unique set of gifts and talents that don't get put on the back burner because I'm a Mommy. I don't have to choose or sacrifice either. Like I said in this post.... find out what you were created to do, where you should give your time to. And then do it. It's good for my kids to see me heading out to meet with teen Moms, or to go to a Trades of Hope party. They see that Mommy isn't just a Mommy and that the world doesn't stop and start for them. There is a bigger picture and it's important our kiddos get that. I want nothing else than to teach my boys this life is not about them, and that we are to give ourselves away.

Read, pray, be intentional with your friends and your time, serve, step outside your comfort zone, forget that you've grown up in the church and start looking through the eyes of someone who has no clue what church is about, love more and talk less, find out what makes you tick, be challenged, make change and don't settle.

Don't settle for comfortable church and a million Bible studies. Don't settle for surface conversation and self-centered talk. Don't settle for the American Dream, it's not what Christ intended anyway.