Friday, August 18, 2017

Choosing to Be Intentional...

Some of you may remember a few years ago I started talking about being more intentional in my life. Paying more attention to how I live my life and what I choose to do with it, instead of being on auto-pilot, or just focusing on surviving or getting through.

One thing that has really impacted me the most is a devotional that I got a couple of years ago. The title of the devotional was called "Choose Joy". It was just a daily email devotional that came into my inbox, at a time when I really needed to see it. Don't you just love how things like that happen-just when you needed it?!!?

The words really resonated with my heart and I decided I needed to keep it in my inbox as a daily reminder to myself, so that every time I open my email I would see that reminder at the end of the list -choose Joy!

I kept it there for a long long time but then I started to think that maybe there are other things that I could remind myself to choose. So I started a little trial on my Google Calendar. I picked several random things that I wanted to remember to focus on and to choose and put one down for each day for a month right around Thanksgiving last year.

The things I put were very simple, things like- choose humility, choose to trust, choose to listen, choose Thanksgiving, choose gratitude, choose patience, choose understanding,...and so on.

During that one month trial I can't tell you how many times those simple daily reminders were spot-on for what I was going through that day, or what I needed to hear that day. They were all put in ahead of time and I had no idea what type of day I was going to have when I assigned that choice reminder for that day.

After the one month trial, I realize that this was something that could really make a huge impact in my life for the rest of the year. So, I decided to expand it and spread it out over the whole entire year.

Last winter I spoke to the ladies who are in my Christian volleyball league and told them about this and I really felt like at the time God had put on my heart to just encourage them in their daily lives. To remind them that we're not all perfect that we don't all have perfect lives, and that sometimes we go through some tough stuff but the key is to never lose your hope and never give up.

I told them about "choose joy" and how much it has impacted my heart and my life and encouraged them to keep putting one foot in front of the other even when sometimes it feels like it's just impossible to do. I also told them that if they ever need somebody to talk to I'm always here for them or if they need someone to pray for them I'm always here for them.

I was watching their faces because we were standing in a prayer circle at the time getting ready to pray. It was hard to read their faces because so many of them were closed off. A couple were nodding, but most of them were either looking down or not making eye contact.

After we spent some time praying over prayer requests, we separated into our teams and went into the gym to play our games.  One woman hung back and she told me how much what I said had touched her, and she thanked me for sharing. I was content with knowing that it was a positive thing for at least one person. Over the weeks and months many other women came to me trickling in one by one here and there telling me that I gave them something to think about and thanking me for sharing.

Now, it's almost a year since I did that first trial month, I'm still receiving the daily pop ups on my calendar of choices to make and sometimes they're not always applicable to the day but more times than not, they are!

The reminders remind me that there are always choices, and ways to make a negative or bad situation into something positive. They remind me to pay attention and be intentional with every aspect of my life. Sometimes it involves being more present, physically and mentally for people that I love, Sometimes it involves being more kind and patient with people who are irritating. Sometimes it involves taking time to reach out to people who may need a smile or a kind word or two.

The story continues to evolve...a couple of weeks ago, I saw an ad for an online t-shirt place that was selling t-shirts that said "Choose Joy"! Of course, I HAD to order one!! I'll be wearing it a lot, to remind myself to choose-in every circumtance in my life.