Intentionality: Whatever you allow
July 13, 2014
I am still not use to the surprises that the internet brings to my life. At a July 4th celebration, in another city at a friend’s house, I introduced myself to someone who said, “Oh my gosh. I read your blog. And I’ve noticed that you haven’t posted anything recently. I’ve really missed your posts.” I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. “Thank you for reading my work,” were my first words. But then I wondered, do I launch into an explanation of why I haven’t been writing, all the teaching and the traveling and a woman can only do so much? And do I tell her that I had to move my entire blog to another server with only one week’s notice and that my web-master is traveling around the world all summer and that it won’t all be fixed for another month or so? Thankfully the topic changed and I didn’t have to figure out what to say to this person I didn’t know but to whom I am very grateful because she reads what I write.
What came out of that conversation for me, though, was the realization that I had not been intentional about getting back to writing. I knew April and May would be problematic because I was teaching, and adding that to my schedule precluded time to write. But when June came, I let my “writing time”, which had become my teaching/prep time, become my catch up the finances time, my taking a new coaching course time, my surf the internet time, my meet with new colleagues time, my talk with a friend time, my run errands time. You get the idea. It’s one of Murphy’s Laws, I believe, that whatever time you have will be filled with whatever you allow to fill it. Whatever you allow.
This can happen to any discipline we have. If you are trying to eat in a new way, and then you go on vacation and eat whatever you want, when you get home, if you don’t make an intentional decision to reset your eating habits, it may take awhile before you can eat in that new way again. If you have a spiritual discipline of praying, reading scripture, or meditating and you allow other things to slowly creep into that time, your discipline may be gone before you know it. Just this morning I was filling the bird feeders and watering the wilting hydrangeas and when I sat down to pray I realized I only had ten minutes before I needed to be in the shower. If I continue to do this day after day, my prayer time will certainly be compromised. I either need to get up earlier or tend to the garden at another time, a time that isn’t prayer time.
Intentionality has many facets. Goal setting. Accountability. Values. Life-style. Being intentional is different from wishing or hoping. If I had said to myself, “I wish I could get back to my writing.” Or, “I hope I will have time to write today,” I can promise you this blog would never get posted. I had to make it an intentional act. And why would I do that? Because writing is a creative act that feeds my soul. Writing often clears my head. Writing is a way I can share with others. Writing is a part of my vocation that I value, and apparently given the July 4th conversation, some other people do, too.
What is it that you need to be intentional about? Is it paying more attention to your health? Adopting a spiritual discipline? Setting some financial goals? Connecting with certain friends or family? Making amends with someone? Getting more sleep? Doing a better job at work? Remember and re-state your values. Find a way to be accountable. The world will pull of you in so many ways. Your time will be filled with whatever you allow. Whatever you allow.
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