Living Intentionally

It’s almost the end of August. School has started back. Everyone is staying up too late and waking up too early. Moms are running their kids around from school to sports practice to friends’ houses. Traffic is terrible. Family dinners are rare. Everyone lives for the weekend, when they can finally slow down and catch their breath.

Such is life.

But where is the meaning and the motivation for getting up each morning? Shouldn’t there be more to life than this repetitive cycle? How are we supposed to live as the hands and feet of Jesus if we barely have enough time to sleep at night?

Of course you can’t drop out of school, quit your job, or tell your kids they can’t go to soccer practice today because you have more important things to do.

But you can take a different approach to every-day life. Every waking moment, every interaction you have, every decision you make, can be intentional and for a purpose—that purpose being Jesus.

You don’t have to be a missionary in Africa to live a meaningful, purpose-driven life. Whether you are an “ordinary” high-school student or a stay-at-home mom or a business man, you have a unique and important purpose that was designed for you and you alone.  

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Jesus is the ultimate example of bringing extraordinary, supernatural meaning to every-day life. He was born in a stable, grew up as the son of a poor carpenter, and died the death of a criminal; yet he lived every moment to honor the Father and to serve others. He spent his time ministering to the poor and the outcasts. He made friends with the broken and rejected. Most of Jesus’ life was spent in ordinary places with ordinary people, but he accomplished more for the Kingdom of God than any wealthy ruler, missionary, or pastor in history.  

So wake up tomorrow and go about your ordinary day with an extraordinary purpose—to shine light in the darkness and be an example of Christ’s love to everyone you come into contact with.

Smile. Start conversations. Be encouraging.  

Love people, even when it isn’t easy.

Be careful with your words.

Know that even the smallest gesture of kindness or a heart-felt compliment can turn someone’s day around.

Live every moment intentionally.

Bring the love of Jesus into your home, school, and workplace, and watch as that love transforms the hearts and minds of those around you.

 Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.” ~Saint Teresa of Avila

New Chapters

Sometimes God asks us to close certain chapters of our lives. It can be painful to let go and move on, but it’s also exciting to see what the next chapter holds.

This summer marks the end of the biggest chapter in my life so far…

I put on my first pair of ballet shoes when I was three years old and immediately fell in love with it. Ever since then, I’ve thought that I would dance for as long as my body would let me, and after my performing days were over I’d teach ballet and maybe run my own dance company.

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Ballet has always been how I identified myself.

“Hi, I’m Sarah. I’m a dancer.”

A year ago I couldn’t even imagine ballet not being a part of my life. Not being a dancer would have practically been like changing my name.

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But here I am. I’m putting dance behind me and saying “yes” to the plans that the Lord has for my future. And surprisingly, closing this chapter of my life hasn’t been painful as I would have imagined. Gradually I am being redefined. Instead of “Sarah the dancer,” He is giving me a new (and far better) identity. He tells me that I am His child, I am loved, I am free, I have been made new, I am righteous, I am an heir of His kingdom, I am a temple of the Holy Spirit, I am His workmanship, I am a citizen of heaven, I am His vessel, I am a conquerer, and I am the light of the world.

Um…who needs ballet?? Is that not enough??

It’s more than enough for me. He has taken away my passion for dance and replaced it with a passion for Him. I’m exploring other things that I enjoy, like fitness and blogging. I’m enjoying school, I have a new job that I love, and I finally have time to invest in my friends and family.

So moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to surrender yourself to God’s plan. I know it’s scary to venture out into the great unknown, but His plan is so much better than anything we could come up with ourselves. Allow God to define you. Follow His lead. And don’t be afraid of new chapters.

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens…He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

(Ecclesiastes 3:1&11)