Thursday, November 14, 2019

An Intentional Life

"Living with intention means saying no the things that aren't important to us,
so that we can yes to the things that matter most."

- Unknown

So before I begin and really get to the focus of this post, I want to say for those of you who enjoy my seasonal, nostalgic posts, I promise, there will still be plenty more of those. But right now my heart is focused on what essentially, will make more room for those things, both in my life and in this space, and that is living my life with intention and from a core of authenticity. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and as I often process through writing, some of that ends up here in this space. If such things are not your cup of tea, I understand. Stop by another day, and perhaps I'll have something more to your liking. I won't be offended, I promise!

To truly embrace and enjoy life, you need a clear vision of who you are, authentically. It's so easy to get caught up in images and expectations, that one day you may look in the mirror and not even recognize the face staring back at you. Social media, especially, creates a facade, with our carefully curated feeds and Pinterest worthy pictures. I understand wanting your feed to be positive and uplifting, and I'm not advocating sharing your private struggles with the world, but there is a place for being honest and realistic about our day to day lives. I've actually unfollowed and unfriended people before because their social media presence was just too perfect, which caused me to fall into the comparison trap and left me feeling inadequate.

So as a little disclaimer here, let me just say that my life is FAR from perfect, and it gets messy at times. Just the other day as I was taking pictures for this post, I turned from my lovely party table to my kitchen, and this is what I saw; the cabinets were stacked with all the things I'd taken off of the table, there were dirty dishes in the sink, and a cutting board with remnants from the dinner I was making, and to top it off, my was dog eating something off of the floor! Just one step away from all of that beauty, was a big fat mess. Even now as I am writing this post (Sunday), I am pretty sure that I am battling a kidney infection and in just a few hours I will probably be sitting at an urgent care facility, and most likely be put on an antibiotic that will then wreck further havoc on my body. Not the way I had planned to spend my day, but such is life. We don't usually plan to be sick.Typically such news might make it to my Facebook feed, where most of my followers are close family and friends. But it certainly isn't blog worthy. Which is why I think blogs, especially, can present a false image that, as I mentioned above, may cause others to feel inadequate, and I don't ever want anyone to visit this space and feel anything less than inspired and motivated. So just know that is the heart behind this screen, and what you are seeing here is only a part of my life. There is plenty going on over here that does not make the cut! :)

To live an authentic and intentional life you need to identify the things that are important to you. That may sound oversimplified, and even I had the thought, "Well, of course I know what is important to me?" But I know from experience (being a pleaser), how easy it is to let other people's "important things", become your own. And before anyone jumps on the "putting others above ourselves" bandwagon, I hear you, and I get it. I'm not talking about blatant selfishness here, but I am talking about balance. Because if you don't take time for the things that are important to you now and then, at some point you will crumble under the weight and expectations. If you have a reputation for being everyone's "go-to-girl", running around putting out everyone else's fires, you will, eventually, come up dry. You can be there for some of the people, but not all of the people. And if you are a wife and mother, your first priority is standing right in front of you. But beyond those doors you have more control, and you should take it. And that is where knowing what is important to you and what you value will help to guide you. Living intentionally is about cultivating the things that matter, and saying no to the things that don't. It means shifting our attention from everything, to the best things!

For me, that typically means not going out much. I am the poster child for introverts (I'm not even kidding), and going to parties and social gatherings is just not my thing, in fact, it drains and depletes me. That's not to say I'm a snob, either. I love meaningful conversation, just one-on-one and maybe once a week, or maybe two, :). What that looks like in my life is turning down invitations, and that can be hard, because I also don't like disappointing people.  I've had situations where I've even angered a few people, and while I am sorry that it caused them to feel that way, I've come to the place where I also realize that how other's respond to me is about them and not about me. I have compromised at times, and accepted an invitation but then bowed out early. For me that is a win/win.  I'm showing my friend that I value what is important to them, while remaining aware of my own needs and realizing that at some point, I'm not going to be good for the party spirit. The key for me is leaving before I reach that point. But there are times as well, if I've had a busy week and other social engagements, when I know that it really wouldn't be good for me or my friend, if I accepted the invitation. Thankfully I know myself pretty well, so this comes easy for me. The hardest thing I've had to deal with over the years, is other people not understanding and being offended. The only advice I can offer there is to "find your tribe". The people who know you and sincerely love you will understand, or at the very least, trust you to know yourself and respect your privacy and choices. If they don't, then, there's really no other way to say it, they are not truly your friend.

And now I feel as though I'm beginning to ramble, and this post has the potential to become a short story. That being said, I'll be sharing more in the days and weeks to come, filtered into the mix of seasonal living and nostalgia! Living an authentic, intentional life is at the heart of this space, as well, and I think it helps to hear from others, what that looks like in their day to day life. And if you've hung with me this long, I thank you, and pray you've been encouraged.


pam said...

But wait. I thought I was the poster child of introverts!

I'll never forget a Christmas party we ended up saying "no" to at the last minute. Bill's previous company had lavish Christmas affairs. Over the top, actually. And it was WORK for me to attend these each year. On one particular year, our older 3 kids were probably grade school age, and we had put up our tree earlier that day. As it came near to the time we needed to begin getting ourselves party ready, I looked at Bill and suggested we put on our pj's instead, make a fire, and spend the evening sitting by our newly decorated Christmas tree. And that's what we ended up doing! I'm sure we weren't even missed at the large affair. And for me, THAT was the best Christmas party ever!

Kimberly Lottman said...

Those ARE the best parties! Nothing I love more than spending time at home in my pj's! <3