Let’s get intentional, intentional!

(Last Updated On: June 4, 2014)

“Intentional, intentional. I want to be intentional about my love for you, Lord. Intentional, intentional, I wanna get intentional in my home for you, Lord. Let me show you my Godly walk, let me show you my Godly talk. Intentional, I wanna get intentional.”Olivia_Newton-John_Physical

If you didn’t just have a horrible 80’s flashback of Olivia Newton John’s ‘Physical’, I am sorry. Your life must have taken some horrible turn or you are simply too young to appreciate the power of 80’s music. You may also have missed the memo about my super power – taking random songs and making up words to fit any scenario. I am the Weird Al for the juice box set. Never underestimate the power of a silly song belted at an alarming volume for calming children.

This post started forming in my mind a few weeks ago (before my hard drive went to Geek Squad heaven). I read a great blog post about how to home-school without homeschooling. Author Jamie Martin writes that it isn’t about creating a structure for learning as it is about cultivating a love of learning within your home intentionally.

This isn’t about implementing a structure for home learning; this is about cultivating a love of learning. It’s about filling your home with learning tools based around your child’s interests and passions. Books, good food, good conversation, well-chosen media–they can all work toward this goal.

Ask yourself this question about each activity and item filling your home and your days: Does this point my family toward or away from a love of learning?

– See more at: http://simplehomeschool.net/afterschool/#sthash.TIklGoqs.dpuf

This isn’t about implementing a structure for home learning; this is about cultivating a love of learning. It’s about filling your home with learning tools based around your child’s interests and passions. Books, good food, good conversation, well-chosen media–they can all work toward this goal.

Ask yourself this question about each activity and item filling your home and your days: Does this point my family toward or away from a love of learning?

– See more at: http://simplehomeschool.net/afterschool/#sthash.TIklGoqs.dpuf

This isn’t about implementing a structure for home learning; this is about cultivating a love of learning. It’s about filling your home with learning tools based around your child’s interests and passions. Books, good food, good conversation, well-chosen media–they can all work toward this goal.

Ask yourself this question about each activity and item filling your home and your days: Does this point my family toward or away from a love of learning?

– See more at: http://simplehomeschool.net/afterschool/#sthash.TIklGoqs.dpuf

There were maps, globes, number lines, books, etc. as the decor and art around the house. Everything pointed toward asking questions, prompting discussions as designed intentionally to point children toward wanting to learn.

My immediate thought was, what if we parented for Christ with this level of intentionality? or lived for Christ this intentionally?

Somehow, in the past, I got the idea of planning to be Christ-like in my life wasn’t right, that if I truly wanted to follow Christ I just would, and wouldn’t have to plan it into my day. You know how that turns out? Yeah, I’ll get to it, I’ll do it in a minute, after I check this one last Facebook post . . . and doesn’t get done, or is half-hearted once I’m already swamped with my day.

Intentional is defined as deliberate, conscious, calculated, planned, meant, studied, purposeful.

When I think about being deliberate and conscious in my walk with God, that doesn’t sound forced or false. It sounds exactly right. Taking care that my each and every step and attitude is of Christ isn’t just a good idea, it’s biblical.

Ephesians 5:15-17 (ESV) 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

When I plan to start my day with prayer, my day starts with a God-centered focus. When I plan to spend specific times of my day focused on Godly interactions with my child and husband, my love for them flows from God’s heart, not mine. When I plan to spend specific times focused on Bible study, those times are blessed with His Spirit. When I leave it to my emotions, physical feelings, I end up letting sin creep into my life and rob me of great opportunities to grow as a Christian myself and to witness to people around me.

Being intentional starts with making choices based on the desired outcome. We want our children to know a loving heavenly father and go to Heaven. Do the things and attitudes I’ve chosen to have in my home point my children toward God or draw them away? Are the activities and priorities of my home directed toward serving and loving God?

Joshua 24:15 (ESV) 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:15

“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

– See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Intentions#sthash.tkgQVQKR.dpuf

Our ‘gods’ today might be different, but we have to choose God, not the ‘gods’  (television, books, selves, etc.) of our parents, friends, or the world in which we dwell.as-for-me

Being intentional as a parent means making sure that what I feed, give, teach my daughter is the best I can offer, not just what’s easiest. Or making sure what is easiest is something good.

Like snacking. I will snack on whatever is easiest to eat. If a bag of M&Ms is the handiest thing in the pantry, that is what I eat. So my intentionality has to start with grocery shopping, with choosing the right things to keep handy. Sometimes that means a bag of M&Ms, not gonna lie.

Like what books are within arms’ reach at bedtime? While we might forage in the living room cabinet or check the bookshelf across the room, many times when bedtime is late or rushed, we just grab what is easiest. I keep her children’s bibles next to our reading chair. Additionally, she has the story of Noah or the Christmas story or God Gave Us Easter, etc.

If we’ve been intentional about leaving Christ centered books handy, then that is what she’ll flip through when she “reads” to herself or when I read one last story before bed, giving me opportunities to share God with her very casually, just as a natural part of our day. Because God should be part of all the parts of our day.

I’m pretty intentional when it comes to what my daughter watches on television. I can set the dial on PBS or Veggie Tales or YouTube “Beginner’s Bible” episodes (we’ve watched David and ‘Giant the Goliath‘ 100 times at least) and leave it there for her allotted viewing time. I keep a stash of appropriate movies and shows in the entertainment center and recorded on the DVR. I’ve got stuff recorded from a year ago. In the moment she is melting down about watching something, and I’m on the phone with Geek Squad :(, I can quickly turn on something that has already passed mommy muster.

I read the books I buy before they come into our home. Even the most recent purchase, a Jesus Storybook Bible, was read before I purchased one. If I can’t read it because I’m ordering online, I read it alone before she sees it, which is good because God Gave Us Easter is so wonderfully written that I cried reading it in my closet before it was going in her Easter basket.

But what about everything else? Have I created a home that points toward our Heavenly Father first and foremost in everything?

I don’t think the decor is the most important part of creating an intentional home, but if God is truly central to our lives, I don’t think he should be relegated to a dusty corner in our houses. Is there evidence of a faith centered life? Kids’ church art on the fridge, memory verses posted for practice? Where is the Bible? I know when I wasn’t listening to God, when I was rebelling, it sat dusty and unused on my bookshelf. Doesn’t do anyone any good there. It is supposed to be directing our every action.

Psalm 119:105 ESV Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

If I want her to see that reading the Bible is something everyone should do, she has to see me do it, like praying. When she sees me behind a computer screen, she doesn’t understand that I can be doing Bible study on Bible Gateway and using parallel text to understand Ephesians 4. It looks the same as posting to Facebook from her perspective.

I have my Bible out all the time. I don’t know that I’m always reading it in front of her, and need to make that a priority to be more aware and intentional about. I have Godly books and Bible studies and my memory verse notebook lying around the living room. You could say that I’m just lazy and don’t pick up, but I prefer to think of it as letting my living room have that Holy Spirit lived in look.

Creating a home that just points to God in everything is about our attitudes, our service toward others, our choices, our prayers, even what we do when we get angry or frustrated can point toward God. Some of the most real moments have been when I shouted awfully at her and demonstrated true remorse, asking her forgiveness. When she smiles, stroking my hair, saying “Of course I forgive you, God forgives you too if you ask.” I know that with all my failings, all the GMO’s and BPA I have fed her, the days I forgot sunblock, the temper tantrums (mine), the days she watched television all day while I slept through the flu on the couch, despite all that – she sees God in me; she is starting to understand who He is.

I love seeing how the little moments of being intentional about reading the bible with her over lunch, or praying in the car when we see an ambulance, or talking through some tough emotions with a Godly perspective are starting to sprout wings in my little one’s heart.

Although tonight while we were reading and discussing God Gave Us Easter, when I asked her if she could hear God’s voice in her heart, she told me, “No, but if I get my stethoscope I could.” Love her little mind and her sweet heart.

With all the world banging at our children’s mind and hearts, creating an environment of praise and worship in our home, intentionally pointing our children toward eternity could be what protects and directs them.

Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) Start children off on the way they should go,and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

 

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