Four weeks ago, we began creating an intentional life. Intentionality is when we live in alignment with our core values. This alignment might help us reach goals, but only because it unsticks our gears so we can enjoy the ride. Life becomes more than goals and tasks. It becomes an expression of what we hold dear.
First, we explored our values to identify the ones that, when lived, make us feel true to ourselves. If you’re like me, you’ve refined your original value statements somewhat. Individually, we’ll continue to refine and even switch them out as we grow and our priorities shift.
Next, we challenged the beliefs that limit us or hold us back. We used our own power to determine why we behaved contrary to our values. We questioned the assumptions that were grabbing the wheel. We challenged the logic of our limiting beliefs and replaced them with ones that were more accurate and effective.
Today, values in one hand and power in the other, let’s live with intention. How does that work?
The goal is to incorporate our core values in such a way that our actions and reactions reflect them. Your primary values may differ from mine, but intentional living will require the same things of us:
Maintain space in your life. If every waking minute is filled with activity, media or people, we’re swept away in the tide. Life becomes a ride on the waves of an unpredictable ocean, and we lose our ability to steer or even stay afloat. Make time to spiritually prepare for each day—I grab coffee and my Bible app as soon as I awake. I ask God to show me what He wants me to see from that day’s chapter, and I prepare my heart to use what He’s telling me, during the day. Make time to reflect periodically, at least by bedtime. What made you feel really grateful to be YOU? Did you encounter a conflict between your actions/reactions and values? Question unproductive beliefs and replace them with effective ones before you close your eyes. Say them out loud, because you’re in charge.
Choose your activities, and manage your time. Choose where your energy goes. If you find your energy continuously drained by something that is not at the top of your value chart, then challenge the belief that says you must do this. Could you delegate? Could you reduce your time and require more reasonable expectations from yourself or others? Could you say no? If you set limits, what is the worst that could happen? Is it likely? If the worst happens, would you cease to exist? Who defines your worth?Alternately, if you find yourself continuously procrastinating or not doing things that are on your value list, ask some questions. Is this a should that was put there by someone else? Is this a real value that is being blocked by limiting beliefs? Is there a tactic you could employ, to help you over the hump? There are times of year and times of month when I am completely unmotivated. Knowing this, I schedule things into my life that will get me out of the house and around people who inspire me.
Live your values but accept that others may not. It’s human nature to seek the middle ground when dealing with others. If we morph to fit a situation or someone’s expectations, we often regret it later. The world needs people who live with integrity, people who are who they say they are and live the way they feel is important. At the same time, when we live in line with our values, we might be tempted to believe others must live them as well. This is likely to cause serious frustration and land us in a place where our inaccurate expectations cause a wreck. You and your values are still worthwhile, even if others don’t live the same way.
Be present. Notice the smells, sounds, feel and taste of where you are. Notice the faces, the eyes and mouths of the people around you. Notice when their body language says they’re insecure, excited or content. Listen to what people are saying right here in front of you and not just on your electronic device. Find something in each scene of your life that makes you grateful and appreciative, even if you’re just happy that blue is a color and blues is a musical style. Be present.Living with intention, we make space for awareness, choose how to spend our energy, own our values and experience the present.Just saying that makes me look forward to today!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series. I highly recommend Jennifer Owens’ audio course, Truly Me. With a Masters in Social Work and years of experience, that girl knows how to walk you through change so smoothly you don’t even know it’s happening.
If you’d like to help someone else build values, overcome limiting beliefs and live a life that is pleasant to be present for, please sponsor a child today through Compassion International.
God bless you! Enjoy your week!