making the shift to intentional living

It's been such a fun month focusing on being intentional in every area of my life. I hope you have been inspired and encouraged through this series! The more I write on this subject and make changes in my life, I realize how much this is changing my heart. I already knew that God was doing a big work in this area of my life before I wrote this series, and now I've been rocked by it! I've cried a lot of tears this month over what God is doing in my heart on being intentional. I'm broken over some major ugly parts of my heart and my life. The areas of my life where I struggle in this have been so strongly pointed out, highlighted and circled with a fat red marker.

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How am I making the shift to intentional living?

Prioritizing is a big part of this. What are the important things? I've actually made a list in order of importance to me. So, if there is ever an issue of choosing which to be more intentional about, I know what comes first.

My God

My Marriage

My Children

My Community (Local & Online)

My Ministry (Blog, Thrive & Influence Network)

My Compassion (the extra areas outside my specific ministries)

It's become so overwhelmingly clear to me that relationships are the most important things. When I think about what I want to be intentional about, it's relationships and how I pour into others that matters the most. All the other things are just tools that are used to cultivate those relationships.

 Now, take those tools and use them intentionally. Have a rich and full life. Life freely. Full of life, full of intentional relationships.

 

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dreaming big intentional dreams

I'm a dreamer. The funny thing is, I'm also a planner. I'm such a type-a person and love order, but I also love some flexibility and spontaneity. It doesn't really make sense, huh? Well, I never claimed to be normal. I dream big dreams. I plan big plans. But how do I keep myself from just floating away in the cloud of dreams, and finding intention in what my dreams are?

How can you be an intentional dreamer? 

Set attainable goals. Things you can accomplish yourself. What are some things you want to accomplish? I want to publish a book. That's a great dream to have, but it's not attainable for me alone. It takes a publisher, editor and a lot of factors to come together. But an eBook? That's something I can write and publish myself. Attainable goal.

Don't overdo it. There's nothing worse than a burned out dreamer. Set limits for yourself and what you can actualy do. Can you take on 4 projects at one time? Maybe so! Go for it. Do you struggle to even answer an email and still remember to feed your children dinner? Then maybe you should back off a bit for what you are doing. That doesn't mean throw away your dreams, it just means to be intentional about WHEN things happen. Different seasons of life bring different dreams.

Don't be afraid to dream outside the box. Even though I talked you off the cliff a bit in those last two points, I want to push you back out there a bit. How can you dream outside the box? What stirs your heart? What is something big AND attainable that you can go for? Maybe you've always dreamed of opening a home for women at risk (a dream of mine), but I can't do it in your current season of life. Find somewhere you could serve once a month, or write letters to encourage some women in a home that is doing what you dream of!

The Lord puts specific ideas, dreams and passions in each one of us. For a specific purpose. And maybe sometimes our dreams don't mean what we think they do. Seek Him for what each of those mean. He is the keeper of our dreams and puts His desires in us.

jess

Bless and be blessed.

Take a risk or two.

Dream.

Dream big.

 

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making memories

My husband and his siblings always joke about how many pictures their mom took of them as kids. I've always heard people say that the James kids sure knew how to pose and smile for pictures. This was funny to me, because I knew I would be that mom too. And I totally am. 

Now I hear people say that those James girls sure know how to take a picture! This makes my memory making heart so happy. Every night when I go to bed, I look through my pictures from the day. I want to be reminded of all the little memories we made that day and how special the good (and not-so-good) times were. I want to be intentional about creating and remembering moments with my family.

I had this idea a couple of years ago to take my favorite family picture from our year and frame it on a wall. So in 20 years we would have a ton of pictures to remember each year from. It took me forever to actually get around to doing it, but I'm so thankful I finally did! I love looking at this wall of memories every day and I'm so excited to watch it continue to grow!

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How can you intentionally cherish memories in your home?

Choose some things that are special for you and keep it up! Get in FRONT of the camera and in some pictures with your kids. Give them something to look back on and love when they are grown some day!

Go make some memories!

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when you get burned

We are so close to the end of of this series. I'm going to go full disclosure here today. I'm being so attacked in this area of my life! I have tried so hard to focus on so many of these areas that I have been writing about. I want to be an intentional being. I want to thrive in so many areas of my life. I want to make relationships a priority. I want my husband, my children and the people in my life to get the best of me.

I've started feeling burned out. I've allowed myself to believe some of the lies that we talked about early on. I feel a heavy burden to see a change in our culture in the way of being intentional and what that means. I've been hurt in a lot of areas of my life, just like we all have. When I get burned, it's not something I easily brush aside. I carry bitterness and anger. I shut people out and hold on to my hurt.

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

When you get hurt? Keep going.

When you are tired? Keep doing good.

When you are frustrated? Keep your head up.

At just the right time, we will reap a harvest of blessings IF WE DON'T GIVE UP.

Keep going, sisters.

 

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intentional encouragement

I'm an encourager. I don't say that to brag on myself at all, it's just how God molded me. Nothing makes my heart light up more than to pour life and encouragement into someone else. But I'm not always good at it, especially when I'm feeling down on myself. It's so much easier to throw my own little pity party than build someone else up! Earlier this week I was having a hard day. I was discouraged and feeling depressed. I posted this on Facebook:

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The responses were all the same: "Do something for yourself". About 20 different people telling me to go get myself ice cream, or coffee. Now, I don't think that's a BAD response. It's usually what I would tell someone when they asked the same question. But something about that day, and maybe the fact that I have been pushing myself to be super intentional, something stirred in me.

What if when we were discouraged and had the urge to treat ourselves...

...we instead treated someone else? 

I loaded up the girls and we headed out for ice cream. But this time was different. We went with the intention of encouraging someone else. So along with two tiny cups of chocolate chip ice cream, we also delivered some ice cream to a friend who I knew had a tough week.

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My heart was more full after blessing her with something than it ever is from simply buying myself something.

Can I encourage you to do that? The next time you've had a rough day, go bless someone else instead of yourself. Go through the line at starbucks and simply buy the person's coffee behind you in line. Deliver a treat to a friend. Make cookies and drop them on someone's doorstep. Make a sack lunch and take it to the homeless woman on the corner.

Let's be a culture that actually puts others first.  Wouldn't that be an amazing thing to see?

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