I.LOVE.READING. It is one of my absolute favorite hobbies. Of all the books in the world to read, though, I love faith-based non-fiction. I’ve written before about my favorite authors and reviewed some of their books…and I think I may have even written about the time I met one of those authors at a local coffee shop here in Dallas.
One of the best books I read last fall was The Power of Purpose: Breaking Through to Intentional Living. Living a more intentional life has been a standing goal of mine. Some days I can do it, and some days I fall short. Last year, I analyzed the numbers in my life in order to gain a greater perspective on intentional living and to say the least, I realized that I had some work to do. I did a lot of things that weren’t aligned with my purpose, my calling, and I wasn’t passionate about. I said yes when I should have said no, and as a result I was miserable.
In The Power of Purpose, author Michael Catt uses his experiences in church leadership to discuss intentionality. While the book is written for religious leaders and churches, it helps lay individuals (like you and me) as well. According to Catt, there are key components about living an intentional life that we all must be aware of:
- Purposeful Prayer
- Purposeful Consistency
- Purposeful Servanthood
- Purposeful Relationship With Christ
- Purposeful Truth
- Purposeful Praise and Prayer
- Purposeful Contentment
After I read the book and committed even more to living intentionally, I made some changes. The large numbers that represented all of the things I did in my life needed to be reduced. Here’s what I decided was critical to my newfound life of purpose and intention:
2 – the minimum number of hours I need to immerse myself in the word of God each day. I know it’s a lot. From my personal bible study time to the work I do at my church, two hours really isn’t enough, that’s why it’s the minimum. When I have my quiet time with God, which is typically very early in the morning, I am so much more productive during the day.
10 – the limit to the of tabs I have allow myself to have open in Google Chrome. Cheryl and I banter about this one all the time. More tabs on my screen makes my adult ADD kick in and I cannot focus on anything.
6 – the average number of teenagers who are in and out of my car over the course of a weekend. One thing I appreciate about this season of parenting is the community of friends my kids have. One thing that I don’t appreciate about the season of parenting is the community of friends my kids have. School friends, church friends, neighborhood friends surround our family with love and give my kids a sense of family outside of blood relatives. Last year I learned how to take naps with my bedroom door open and roars of laughter and singing coming from the living room. This ultimately makes my heart happy and my life much more intentional.
45 – the number of years in my miraculous life. I turned 45 this year. At this point, I’m seeing the deaths of people who are my age. I am blessed. My family is blessed. And as long as I am still here, there’s work that needs to be done. The opportunity to do that work is a blessing.
15 – the number of people that entered my life this year and have made it better; despite me saying “I don’t need anymore friends.” Y’all know the church story. You know the dreaded 2016 story, and you know the baptism story. The bottom line is that these people have made my life so much better and I am ever so thankful they are in my life.
1808 – the street number to the church that has been the grounding force of love, acceptance, and biblical teaching for me and the kids. I learned this year that I can’t do it all by myself, and this place reminds me constantly that I am here to do life with others.
0 – the number of new clients I took on in 2017 my consulting/ freelance writing business. Was it profitable? No. Was it necessary? Most definitely. I refined what I do and who I am and I revisited my worth. I took that needed time to get great business clarity and rebuild my brand. Part of that included changing the name of this blog, what I consider my career, and how I can best glorify the gifts God has given me.
3 – the minimal number of items I’m thankful for each morning. I think I’ve mentioned my prayer partner on the blog before, and one of the things we do each day is to name three things we’re thankful for. Sometimes the things are silly, sometimes they are deep and profound. Sometimes we are so sad or tired or frustrated that the other one has to step in to name the three things. No matter how bad life gets, we should always, always be thankful – and be intentional about doing so.
23 – the number of years I’ve been a Texan. To think that almost changed last year is scary..really scary. My tagline for life is that I’m a native Chicagoan, a transplanted Texan, and a heartfelt Mississippian. While I thought I was leaving Texas to go to Mississippi (and Mississippi is amazing), I’m glad I’m still here. And I’m even more glad that since I decided to stay here, my relationship with God strengthened and I became more fearless in my pursuit of Christ.
If you’re looking for a way to jumpstart your year, living intentionally is the best way to do it. Here are a few more books that will help you on your quest:
Choose Joy by Sara Frankl
Awaken by Priscilla Shirer
She’s Still There by Chrystal Evans Hurst
Never Unfriended by Lisa Jo Baker
Gospel-Centered Mom by Brooke McGlothlin
Don’t Settle for Safe by Sara Jakes Roberts
Do you have any reading suggestions for 2018? Share them in the comments below.