Intentional living is what I first became interested in several years ago after I had a major shift in my faith tradition. Born and raised in a tradition that has an answer to every question, a right way to live each moment of life and a long to-do and not-to-do list that gave me spiritual security and an unrecognized feeling of elitism, those beliefs eventually led me to question the correctness of that path, and my own feelings towards those around me.
I didn’t start out interested in minimalist, simplicity, or even intentionally living, but without the security of my former faith, I was in a period of transition and redefining of my self and my beliefs became absolutely necessary as I have three young children that depend on me to teach them. In short, I had no base to rely on, or to tell me what to do and what was important, or should be important. I was finally on my own.
That was the defining moment for me, when I realized I had to start over, and redefine who I was, what was important to me, and what would be important to our family. I had to intentionally look at my life and what I wanted out of it for not only my family, but for myself as an individual. That is when intentional living entered my life without me realizing it.
I came to the following conclusions over about the course of a year that have guided my actions-
- My relationships with my family members and my friends, and also everyone else who I come into contact with throughout my life, (including those people in the checkout stand at the grocery store) is the most important thing to me in my life.
- Having a lot of possessions causes me a lot of anxiety and stress in the form of expectations, money spent, time spent on upkeep and guilt about whether I am ‘getting my money’s worth’ out of what I paid for.
- Less is better. The less I have, the more peaceful and content I feel. Fewer clothes, less possessions, simpler meals, spending less money, it all makes me feel much more contented and at peace with my life. I am still in transition in these areas, as my husband and children are not quite as intentional as I am, but, that’s okay, they are wonderful the way they are.
- Accept everyone where they are in life. I have come to love and embrace the idea that every person is on their own personal journey through life. Depending on how they were raised, where they were born, what opportunities they have available to them will determine where they are on their own journey. Some of our journey’s are easier than others, and filled with more opportunities. We should be grateful for our own place in the world and do our best to make the world better and accept each person for who they are.
- My beliefs and perceptions may change over time, and that’s just fine. I would have never dreamed in a million years that my beliefs would have caused me to eventually leave my childhood faith tradition, but here I am. It was a very hard time for me, but very freeing and enlightening as well. I have come to appreciate that our experiences in life shape us, change our thinking, provide us with new perspectives, and with these changes, we may change our beliefs, what we used to think was ‘wrong’ may now be ‘right’, we become understanding of new ideas and why people around us are different from ourselves. Best of all, we learn to love ourselves and others in the midst of all these changes.
So, what does all this mean for me? Truthfully, I have found a new excitement and peacefulness in life that I have been craving for as long as I can remember. Through living with less and intentionally making decisions based on what is important to me, I have found so much happiness and contentment. I used to be anxiety ridden and fearful of things that may, or may not happen. Now I find myself embracing uncertainty, while simultaneously choosing my future. Life is an adventure, I can prepare as well as I can, but prepare for unanticipated change as well, it is wonderful!