As I started 2013, I chose “intentional” as my goal, my word for the year. It’s been a great word that has really helped me to focus specific areas of my life and to live more intentionally. But as the year winds down and it gets closer to the holidays and the new year, I wanted to spend a little bit of time in review, looking back on the year and those intentions, evaluating whether or not the goals were met. I hope you join me in focusing our hearts for the holidays and looking forward to the new.
Probably the area where I’ve seen the most significant improvement in being intentional has been in my Bible study and prayer routines. For a year now, I’ve been able to continue a faithful habit of early morning study and prayer—through a huge cross-country move and the unexpected ups-and-downs of mothering. I’m so thankful for God’s strengthening and enabling in this area. This year, I’ve journaled through all of Hebrews and Galatians and half of Romans, pausing in the journaling to really dig deep and ask the hard questions when they come up (i.e. Romans 6-7).
Though I no doubt have room to grow here, I’ve been encouraged in the strides that I’ve made this year, intentionally inviting people into our routine, regularly hosting people into my home and daily life. Seeing hospitality as sharing life with people rather than entertaining them has made a huge difference in freeing me to serve people in my home. I’m freeing myself from my own set of unrealistic expectations.
One of the first things I did as I planned to be intentional in this area was to look over my schedule and already have in mind times during my days that would work for having people over. Then, rather than the ambiguous “we need to get together sometime,” I had a specific time in mind. The kids’ nap/quiet times were an especially good time for inviting women into my home for a chat and a cup of tea or coffee. Another opportunity were lunch/playdates with moms of young kids.
Already having a few plans in mind made spontaneous invitations a little less stressful. Having specific menus in mind that were my go-to meal ideas for hosting people has also helped. The more we had people over, the more routine it has become, and the less stressful it has become. That doesn’t mean that it all comes off without a hitch or that I never get stressed out. But knowing that hospitality is as much inviting people into our unexpected upsets as it is treating them to a special meal has helped me to embrace those moments more freely. It’s not about impressing them, just serving them.
Stay tuned. Next Monday, I’ll be sharing my un-intentional moments.