Intentional Living

Intentional Living

The concept of intentional living is something that I have been thinking about for years. I learned at an early age that “stuff” stressed me out a lot. I grew up in a family where we had a lot of stuff –everywhere!

I started recognizing that when I was in a space with fewer things in it, I felt different than when I was in a space with a ton of things. I didn’t know what to call that feeling I got in the cluttered spaces when I was a child but as an adult, I can put a name to it — anxiety.

Anxiety is an interesting emotion.

We all feel it and have experienced one time or another during the course of our lives. I feel that Americans (including myself) deal with a lot more anxiety than we need to. I also feel that cluttered homes can be just a part of what is causing anxiety in a person and there are many other things that cause anxiety as well. I have learned that it’s not all about the stuff that we accumulate in this life but the people and experiences in it.

It’s interesting because studies show that people with cluttered homes are unable to focus and are more likely to be fatigued and depressed. These studies show that the physical stuff in your living space actually grabs your attention away from the task at hand.

Material Possessions

But, our material possessions can become an idol and it is very easy for that to happen. Possessions don’t have an eternal impact, heck, we can’t take them when we go. We have to retrain our brains to stop scrolling on Amazon or “just browsing” stores to see the next new item. I know when I do this that when I find that shiny new item it’s all I think about. My thoughts are then consumed by it and I am not focusing on God as much. Isn’t it easy to get caught up in what the world offers about material possessions?

In the midst of focusing on the wrong things, I am forgetting about the people that God has entrusted to me. People and relationships have an eternal impact. We need to have that in the forefront of our minds so that we can invest in those around us.

People and relationships have an eternal impact. We need to have that in the forefront of our minds so that we can invest in those around us.

It is so easy for us to forget this because of the culture we live in. We don’t need another thing to “try” and please us. We have all that we need if we have a relationship with Jesus and He provides for all our needs.

So how do we change?

First, it starts with our thoughts. We have to get a fresh perspective on this and retrain our thinking by going to the Word and see what God has to say about it. Research verses that speak to you about this subject and meditate on them.

I really like this verse…..

“God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me — my whole life long, obedient response. Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway! Give me a bent for your words of wisdom, and not for piling up loot. Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way. Affirm your promises to me –promises made to all who fear you. Deflect the harsh words of my critics –but what you say is always so good. See how hungry I am for your counsel; preserve my life through your righteous ways!” Psalm 119:36-37 MSG

I love this verse because it shows an honest conversation that David is having with God. He is yearning to want to know God’s ways for living the life God has called him to.

Wisdom is worth more than anything on this earth that we could buy instead of possessions that will fade away.

Next, we have to take some action…..

What if we cut out all the excess in our lives starting with our material possessions? I bet we would be happier and feel more focused and productive. We could also feel like we could truly rest when we are at home instead of thinking about what needs to be cleaned when we are trying to rest.

I have been on a journey for a while now trying to purge our home of any unnecessary items that we don’t use. The rule for my family is that if we haven’t used in it in 6 months we will either sell, donate or throw it away. The only exception is things that are sentimental or heirlooms which are only a few things.

We have done several huge purges in the past but we are not so good at doing this on even a weekly or monthly basis. I challenged my husband recently to start taking a look at all the stuff we have and be mindful of what we don’t use.

Luckily, I have a husband who is also seeking out a more simplified, intentional life. We both know the value of having more time to be intentional with each other and our family instead of worrying about always having to clean our house and put things away.

Starting this week, we will be going through one area of our house and going through our stuff. We will get rid of anything we haven’t used in 6 months. When we have done this before, it felt so good to have our space not cluttered with all that stuff.

I was also amazed and had peace when I would walk into stores after we purged. I realized I didn’t have to think about any organizational items such as storage bins, tubs, etc.

The possessions I had all had its place and there was no need for bins which means money saved!! It’s really a win-win situation!!

I am writing this post for myself and I hope that this post will help someone who is struggling with the same thing. I truly want to be better in this area and I would love for you to join me on this journey.

My prayer as we embark on this journey is this:

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 NIV

Action Steps:

1. Recognize how your current space makes you feel. Does it make you feel happy, overwhelmed, anxious, peaceful, etc? If there are any negative feelings, what is one thing that you can do today to change that? Journal your thoughts.

2. Spend some time this week in the Word. Ask God to help you to retrain your thinking around material possessions and help you to focus more on things that are eternal. Allow Him to bring verses to mind that you will be able to meditate on.

Leave a comment below! I want to hear from you!!!

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