intentionality – noun
1. the fact of being deliberate or purposive.
This word has been in my head for the last few days. Maybe it should be my word for the (rest of the) year? Maybe for next year too? There were a few things that highlighted the word ‘intentionality’ to me over the last week.
Last Thursday I had a video call with a friend/leader from church. We’ve caught up a couple of times since I did a course with church in the first part of this year. Basically she wants to help me to find my purpose and grow and reach my potential – all of which is really encouraging. Since the last time we chatted I’ve done quite a few questionnaires and ‘tests’ to work out what my values and gifts are. When we were chatting about those my friend was asking how I was going to make sure that these things were prioritised in my life.
Over the last few years I’ve been working out lots about who I am as a person and what is important to me but this conversation really made me realise that I need to prioritise certain things in my life and not feel bad about making time for them. By a process of elimination I had worked out what my most important values are and then we talked about how I could make sure I have these things in my life. My top five values are love, connection, adventure, growth and making a difference.
This post popped up on my Instagram and made me think again about intentionality. It’s really helpful to think about it this way. In the past it’s been easy for me to have my identity defined by what I do/did rather than the other way around. Who am I? Who do I want to be?
On Sunday morning we had some input from Bill Johnson from Bethel Church, Redding CA. during our online service. A story he told made me think about this again. He said there are three redwood trees behind his house and they each drink 40 to 50 gallons of water a day. They had a drought a few years ago and he was saying that during that time no one would resent the trees for drinking their 50 gallons of water because that’s what they were created to do. He said “It’s not selfish to behave as we were designed to be.” “Our responsibility is to discover what we were designed for.”
Sometimes I feel guilty about spending time on things like adventure and connection because they’re not things that bring in money or particularly benefit my family in any way. When I think of myself in the same way as the trees though it puts a different slant on this. If this is who I’m created to be then I need these things in my life to grow and flourish. Isn’t that enough reason to be intentional about prioritising them?
What are your thoughts about intentionality? Is it important to prioritise things that are important to you even if they don’t seem to benefit anyone else? I’d love to hear your opinions.