The Imperative of Intentional

I can already feel the lazy days of summer kicking in.  Yes…even me…the uber-scheduled, obsessively planned and annoyingly obsessively compulsed can feel myself relaxing a bit.  No school schedules to contend with, nowhere to be at any certain hour, no strict bed times and nothing but time to spend with my kiddos.  Being the not-so-gracious, nonmorning person that I am NOT having to get up between 6 and 6:30 every morning is just splendid.  There are a few things however that I have been lazy about in the past that I need to intentionally kick up a notch…or two…okay a lot!

Now that we are almost [insert sniffle here] out of the baby stage and our older two children don’t have to be fed or sleep at any certain time I find myself having more time with them…which is wonderful.  I also find that they LOVE to play outside.  Getting them to sit down and listen to a bible story everyday and do their homework isn’t always at the top of their list.  In fact it’s something that until now I didn’t really stress…let kids be kids, right?  But I really feel the Lord telling me to be intentional in this area…especially in teaching them about Him…and not just in our bible time…but when they are arguing with one another…or not sharing with one another…or throwing a temper tantrum.  Talk about being on your toes!  Sometimes it’s just easier to say “Work it out, kids!’…than to actually sit down and explain to them biblically…in black and white…and sometimes red…why what they are doing is wrong and making sure they ask one another and praying to Jesus to forgive them.  It’s easier not to sit with Max and drill him on his numbers and letters and let his teachers do all of that and just pay the tuition and be on the board at his preschool.  It’s easier to hand Emalynn her homework sheets and just let her have at it.  It’s easier to just let Jackson get by with pointing and whining instead of insisting he say “please” and “thank you“.  But I am their parent.  I can’t blame the fact that I’m a “do-er” not a teacher as an excuse not to intentionally take the time to teach my children all day, everyday.  And the wisdom to actually know what to do?  That I have to constantly pray for because I am just not very smart!

It wasn’t until recent years that the Lord also convicted me to intentionally be a good spouse.  Before that I was just at best medioce…but for the most part not a very good wife with an extraordinary husband.  A husband who affectionately loves with all of his great big being…a husband who forgives instantaneously…a husband who forgets all of my past mistakes and gives me a clean slate everyday.  There is more to being a good wife than meeting physical needs.  There is more to being a good wife than doing the cooking, cleaning, decorating, laundry and child-birthing and caregiving…and grocery shopping and being the social secretary.  There is more than to being a good wife than having dinner on the table when he walks in the door and making sure the house is picked up and that I make sure I look beautiful for him.  My husband is the head of our house…but the Lord has shown me that I am the heart of it.  The phrase “if mama’s not happy…nobody’s happy” sure rings painfully true.  My attitude and reactions to almost any situation set the entire tone in this house!  The responsibility that I have to be intentional about being Christ-like as a wife and mother is far more important than I ever realized before.  No matter how hard my life is it doesn’t give me an excuse to be aloof or too tired or short or harsh.  And how I say something is just as important as what I say.  Being intentional about being a good wife is imperative…because my wonderful husband deserves that…and even if he didn’t…it is what God requires of me.  Praying for him, being available for him, helping him however he needs me to is my role and I need to be present…not just going through the motions.

It was also in recent months that the Lord revealed to me that I need to be intentional in my friendships.  I don’t think I am a very good friend.  I am an introvert at heart and for a very long time essentially lied to many people I am close to who had no idea what I go through everyday.  Many…even my closest family members…had no clue.  It’s ironic that my biggest pet peeve is when others are not genuine.  Hmmm….funny how that works.  I need to be a better friend.  I need to be open and honest and share with others what God is doing in my life.  When I am struggling…I need to stop being Miss Independent.  I need to admit it.  I need to ask for prayer.  I need to be much more aware of what others are going through and not just pray for them…but offer them love and support however I can.  I cannot be wrapped up in my own suffering or I will miss the battles others around me are facing…because we’re all battling something.

In recent years the Lord has also impressed upon my heart the importance of being an intentional follower of Him.  Not just a Christian who stores up my faith and pulls it out and dusts if off when I need it.  Not a Christian in name only who says one thing and does another.  Not a Christian who has faith…a Christian who lives faith.  Not a believer…but an intentional follower of Jesus.  It’s not a choice I can make today and be done.  It’s a continual, constant choice I have to make daily…hourly…by-the-minute…just like being intentional about being a mother, wife and friend…I need to be a follower and deny what I want for what Jesus wants.  In this I have failed miserably just like everything else.  The good news is…just like my husband gives me a clean slate daily…Jesus is even more gracious.  He sees the depths of my heart and He loves me…and forgives me anyway.  Now that is Someone to be intentional for.

It is so tempting…even for me…the over-organized taskmaster extraordinaire to do things as my Grandma used to call it “the lazy man’s way”.  During the time of year when things are supposed to slow down, I see our calendar filling up and my seemingly endless time with my children already slipping away and we’re 4 days in.  I want to make sure I am present and spending it wisely.  This may mean you won’t see as many posts…it’s not because I’m being lazy…but when you do see them…it’s because I’m being intentional.  Happy summer my friends! 

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.   Luke 9:23

 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  James 3:17

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