In the hopes of being intentional, we make lists of things to do with our children so that each season leaves them with memories of things that Mom and/or Dad did with them. We intentionally work at ignoring the distractions around us so that we are more present in our marriages and with our children. We attempt to limit the technology usage so we are fully engaged with what is going on around us.
Because times have changed.It is no secret here on the blog that Charles and Caroline Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie) are role models for Brian and me. Just to exist, they had to be intentional. Every aspect of their lives was done with a purpose, the end goal, in mind. After the winter, Charles would buy a pig, and the family raised that pig with the intent of using every part of it for meat to feed the family thru the next winter. Vegetable gardens were planted and tended with the express purpose of feeding the family thru the winter.
In some ways, we have lost the need to live intentionally due to the modernization of our world. Brian does not have to go out and hunt in order for our family to eat thru the winter. We have Publix. I don't have to keep a vegetable garden to feed my family. Thank God, because I am not much of a gardener! Again, thank God for Publix! I don't have to sit and make our clothes by hand with the plan of passing our clothing down to the next child.
Being intentional is having a goal that we are shooting for, and then planning what needs to be done in order to achieve that goal.
So what are the things that we have to be intentional about?
1. Our walk with the Lord.
Relationships do not just happen. Time has to be carved out of our day in order to spend time with the ones that we want to grow a relationship with. And if everything else in our lives are going to fall into place, then spending intentional time with God is not a luxury, it's a necessity. Sitting with Him and His Word, talking to him, listening to Him, learning to recognize His voice, that takes time. Time that we often would rather spend doing something else.
When we were dating, we rescheduled the world just so we could have some quality time with our sweetheart. Once the wedding bells died down, it was fairly easy to fall into the rut of life with work, taking care of the place we now live, and social obligations. Once children come along, it can be very easy to push your relationship with your spouse to the back burner because you have more pressing, more urgent, things to do.
After our relationship to the Lord, our relationship with our husband is the next most important relationship that we have. If we are not intentional about being a wife, our marriages can die or end up being lifeless. When our children are grown and gone, we do not want to be left with a total stranger- the husband that we knew so well before marriage. Be intentional about serving him, spending time with him, and loving him the way he needs to be loved, not the way we think he should be loved (The Five Love Languages is a great place to start).
The Bible calls them arrows. If you are going to shoot an arrow, you need to have a target. Once you have your target in your sites, you aim and let go. If you aim at nothing, chances are that is exactly what you will hit.
Being an intentional parent means having a goal or target in mind for your children and setting your aim and sites on that target. For Brian and me, our target is to raise our children to love and serve the Lord with their whole hearts and have convictions that will cause their relationship with the Lord to bloom and flourish throughout their whole lives. This goal has influenced the choices we have made in regard to how we are raising our children.
Being an intentional parent also means being mindful of the amount of technology being used in our homes. It is so easy for our children to get caught up in the high speed world they see us racing in. Being very present for them during mealtimes and after school, lets our children know how important they are to us.