Routine. I always craved the regularity and consistency of it. Waking up, a fresh cup of coffee in hand and onto the gym, class, work, meetings. Going to bed early with enough energy to do it all over again. It would have been a simple and beautiful way of living, except it wasn’t all that fulfilling.
I think we all like rhythm, but there are little pieces of us that want to redefine ordinary for ourselves. It’s easy to get caught in the lull of what we think we “should” do and not take time to learn what it means to soak up the beauty in every day and make room for things that matter. I wouldn’t say I’ve figured this whole thing out yet, but here a few ways that have helped me grow towards living and loving with intentionality:
#1 Be Present
This seems like the simplest thing in the world, but the truth is that most of us fight a constant battle with distraction. Distraction robs us of life’s sweetest moments and replaces them with a “what’s next?” mentality. At their best, our phones, computers, agendas, and deadlines are good for organization and connection, and at their worst, they keep us from developing deep relationships with people and leave us a little disconnected from the world around us.
Sometimes being present looks a lot like being selfless. Seeing and listening to other people, showing up to live and love freely. But mostly, it means laying aside distraction and finding what it means to really live. Because it’s surprisingly easy to forget.
#2 Become a Hunter
I laughed out loud when I wrote this one because I knew that no one would expect it from me. Trust me though, there’s something to this. If we are going to live intentionally, we have to be hunters of beauty. We’ll completely miss it without this type of vivid intensity. If we aren’t willing to wait with a skillful and steady patience, hearts ready to be moved, then we’ll pass by it every day in people, in our work, in nature, and in the way that God gently shifts and rearranges the course of our lives.
The importance of this idea has become so real to me ever since I picked up a camera. That’s really what it has become for me. Hunting for something altogether beautiful and moving and full of the kind of inspiration that changes the way we all look at the world.
#3 Be a Lover of the Mess
And this is really how you make room. The very practical, down to earth, action plan. We have to learn to be a lover of the mess. Because our lives are rarely as neat and perfectly planned as we imagine they could be. And I’m becoming more grateful for that every day. Because it leaves more time for going where we are called and loving the little interruptions that pave the road for our sweetest memories and greatest adventures.
I honestly love when things are clean, organized, and beautiful, but I’m learning to let go of perfection because it’s a pursuit that steals too much time and energy. I’m learning to lay that one down in favor of messy hair, bright eyes and rain-soaked skin. Windows down, the long way home, and laugh out loud moments with friends. It’s hard to put into words how free and soul-filling it is to live with the goal of being real, authentic, and resting in Jesus to make something beautiful out of all of those moments of intention. It’s a slow process, but I like where it’s heading.
#4 Become an Adventurer
This is one of my favorites because it pushes me right to the edge of where I’ve always wanted to go. Let’s all commit to this one together because no one ever says that you can love both wild adventure and the simplicity of stillness. But, I really think we need both. And doing both takes courage and boldness to break boundaries and the humility to know that we often need to live within them. Our ordinary lives have more opportunities for this than you might think. It really is all about seeing them, not settling for comfort or security, and knowing when and how to change the way that things are done.
#5 Be Resilient
I like the word resilient because there’s an element of strength to it. For me, this looks a lot like dependence on Jesus. Because He takes our brokenness and transforms it into something brave and strong and genuine. And that’s what we really have to see, that our plans and hopes and dreams are not ultimate.
They have no give, and they are easily shattered. And really I think this makes us desire something more sure. Something that allows us to live, really and fully, no matter how or if our expectations are being met. God knows our hearts so well. And when we have faith in Jesus, we have the sweetest gift of purposeful living that ebbs and flows with the current of His plan, not our own. This kind of resilience, the kind that allows us to walk through fire and come out stronger, is something that is forged in dependent humility, in moments of weakness, and creates beautiful, full hearts of gratitude no matter what life brings.
Something Like This…
I squeezed in the back of my little sister’s Toyota Tundra with four of the sweetest friends, a camera and ukulele in hand. We were going to watch the sunset, sit around laughing and talking and singing on the edge of the highway overlooking the prairie. As we were driving, windows down and all, it started to rain. The dusk looked darker and more ominous than inviting, but we kept driving until we got to a section of road that wasn’t flooded quite yet. And, right on the edge of the road, was a wild horse, free and untamed.
Something beautiful and strong, something I would’ve missed without the interruption of the rain. So I jumped out, camera and all and let the warm rain kiss my skin as I walked over to see something so close to home. And nothing about me screamed put together or responsible in that moment, but it was one of those moments where I was right there, living fully, and choosing something messy and beautiful and adventurous all at once. And I just really like how that feels and how those moments move me to live with more intention and with more people and with a purpose that is so wildly outside of my control or ability to plan. Don’t ya’ll just love those moments? Let’s make room for a little more of that.