Sometimes, I wish I could simultaneously view all the lands and people in the world. I wonder what a satellite/panoramic view of earth would really look like. As I ponder the typical lifestyle in a modern world (at least, in America) I feel saddened. I immediately think I probably would not really like to see it all unfolding at once. So many people are merely going through the motions of living. They are more like laboratory rats on tread mills than people living life abundantly. Jesus said He came that we might have life and have it, abundantly. We need to get back to intentional living.
First, we need to understand how we lost it
Life is a series of ever-changing events. People evolve alongside those changes. Looking back on life in America some 50 to 100 years ago, we see that there was a whole lot more intentional living going on. Where did it go? Well, for one thing, political correctness has stripped away innocence, conviction, purity, faith and traditional family living. It’s not 100 percent obsolete but a loud minority has begun to inculcate extreme liberalism and relativism, which often go hand-in-hand. Moreover, many people have turned their backs on God. Living for Him has been replaced by living for power, money, prestige and luxury.
God gave us senses to enjoy intentional living
As a Christian, I believe in an omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient Creator. I believe life is a gift, even when circumstances make it feel more like curse than blessing. God wants us to use our sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell to live life abundantly. Not everyone has full function of all five senses. The point is to use the senses we have to their fullest potentials. If all we ever do is jump in a car to commute to a cubicle where we stare at a computer screen all day, we are not practicing intentional living. After work, many people drive three or four more places, then spend an hour or two at home. Perhaps, it is more like a visit than a lifestyle, just long enough to shower and sleep. Then, back at it the next day, same as before and same as it will be tomorrow and the day after.
Intentional living can’t happen if you never stop
When is the last time you used your eyes to really look at the magnificent world around you? There are millions of species of birds, flowers, trees, animals and other beautiful parts of creation. We hardly ever see them because we’re too busy rushing past to get the next item on our to-do lists done. Spring is here. Sit outside and listen! An early morning’s silence can be symphonic. One of my favorite sounds in the world is the sound of a gently babbling creek. This is God’s music. Add in a little birdsong, a cricket or two and distant giggles of children playing outdoors and you get an audible masterpiece!
Intentional living can help fight anxiety attacks
So many people today suffer from anxiety. When a full-blown attack hits, it can be difficult to breathe and can wind up being a medical emergency. Allowing your senses to do their thing can provide immediate relief. Next time you feel an anxiety attack coming on, stop and use your eyes, intentionally. Name five things you see. Don’t stop there. Name three things you hear, even if one is the sound of your own heartbeat. (It’s beating! You’re alive!) Then, reach out and touch something (or someone) and name each item you touch. Describe how it feels. Taste something and smell something. By the time you’re through, you’ll likely feel a lot less anxious. In fact, you might even feel peaceful or invigorated.
Don’t forget that God made us for relationships
Life is all about relationships. It was only when God made Eve that Adam felt complete. God wants to have a relationship with you and He wants you to have relationships with others, in His name. Pour some tea or lemon water or healthy green smoothies and sit outdoors with your family or a friend. Have a conversation. Really listen to the thoughts your loved ones or companions are sharing. Feel the sunlight’s warmth and brightness on your skin. Smile. Take a long, leisurely stroll. Plant something. Pray. Hug someone you love. This is intentional living.