Living With Intentionality

My wife and I have been talking about a common theme lately: intentionality.

I believe that when we take a look at the life of Jesus, He lived with purpose and intentionality. His purpose was to glorify the Father. Jesus modeled for us a way to live out that purpose in every facet of life.

Some may argue that His life was characterized by sporadic acts of service, random miraculous signs, nomadic travels, and a lot of happenstance. When we dig deeper into the scriptures, we find that quite the opposite is true!

There was a method in which Jesus relayed His messages (ex. His use of parables). He was specific in the choosing of His disciples (ex. investing in the few). Jesus took every moment captive: from when He chose to meet with His father in prayer, to where He chose to break bread and with whom, etc. He lived life with a purpose, and He was intentional in pursuing that purpose.

As children made in the image of God, we exist to bring glory to our heavenly Father. In light of this, how do we fuse that God-given purpose with Christ’s intentionality in areas like relationships, finances, and work? What does it practically look like to glorify God in our relationships (marriage, children, extended family)? Finances? Work?

For me, one example with regards to our finances is embracing the “Give-Save-Live” way of managing our money (give first, then save for the future, then live). Our church communicated this idea a few years back and it resonated quickly and deeply with both my wife and I. Realizing what we have is not really ours to begin with, I want to cultivate a spirit of generosity with what we do have. Through that mindset, aside from tithing, we chose to partner with Compassion, outside missions organizations, and campus ministries–all specific areas that have impacted us at one point in our lives. Although a work-in-progress at times, this is one area that we (as a family) have committed to be intentional in.

In what areas of your life can you live with more intentionality?

59 Comments

  • Ben

    March 2, 2011

    I just realized something, I think I look at all aspects of my life, as doing “ok,” except in my workplace… Going to work to me is just routine right now, as I just go in, push some papers around, answer emails, sell stuff. I get home and I’m intentional about the time I spend with my family, serving in church, giving in our finances, etc.

    Now to change that… I need to find a good balance. Thanks for the unintentional challenge D.

    Reply
    • Adam

      March 2, 2011

      Ben,
      I have a lot of the same feeling about work… Have some things to work on in that aspect of my life…

      Reply
      • Dustin

        March 2, 2011

        Adam, like Ben said I’m with you. Thanks for the comment.

        Reply
    • Dustin

      March 2, 2011

      An unintentional challenge…. you’re welcome! :)

      Reply
  • John

    March 2, 2011

    I think I can stand to be a little more intentional in several areas of my life. I tend to spread myself out among several different resonsibilities that my commitment is about ten feet wide and one inch thick.

    In my ministry I can be more intentional about teaching the kids about Christ and trying to lead them to Him, instead of just “maintaining” a group of kids each week.

    In my marriage, I can be more intentional about truly being a spiritual leader instead of just coasting along and winging it most of the time.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 2, 2011

      John, you said a couple things that resonate with me. While I haven’t officially worked in ministry, I know what it looks like to serve in a lot of areas – its draining sometimes, and know the feeling of being spread thin.
      Re: Marriage – I’m with you! I have to be intentional in that area (def a work-in-progress).

      Reply
  • mo

    March 2, 2011

    Finances are huge man. Living on less so you can give more. I’ve had to set a lot of it up automatically, to counteract my tendencies to be selfish. It’s not till tax time that I realize how we’re perfectly fine living on a lot less than we earn.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 2, 2011

      Automatic transfers have been huge for us. Even for us, staying on budget has to be intentional. So many things we “want”… and if we’re not intentional about sticking to it, we forsake other things (like being more generous).

      Reply
  • bill (cycleguy)

    March 2, 2011

    Sometimes Dustin I feel like the son in the parable of the Loving Father. I wasted my years in unintentional living. At 58 I look back and sometimes long for to have those days back and know I can’t. So, not knowing how many days, weeks, months, years I have left I made a decision several years ago (about 6) to live intentionally. To get out of debt. To give away as much as I can but somehow start saving for the future (yeah you heard me right). By God’s grace, I am almost out of debt except for my Outlander and house. We give almost 15% away but have failed to fulfill the latter one. I hope your younger readers will choose to do what you and your wife have done and begin TODAY to get with the program. Well done article Dustin. I applaud you and your wife.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 2, 2011

      You’re right Bill … while finances is just one area, it is a big area. It can be stressful simply because it affects so many other areas of life. Thanks for sharing, Bill.

      Reply
      • Donald Borsch Jr

        March 2, 2011

        Money, like sex, makes up 5% of any marriage covenant, but can lead to 95% of its problems.

        Reply
  • Moe

    March 2, 2011

    I taught a study on Finances at my church. An eye opening study. I learned a lot about intentional giving. Most people give what they find in their pockets (which is really left-overs from their disorganized lives). I’ve been guilty of it myself.

    I can definitely live with more intentionality in regards to my finances and my extended family (wife’s part of the family). I don’t do enough there. Yikes!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 2, 2011

      I’m guilty of that. “leftovers from a disorganized life”…..
      Was it a particular study or one that you came up with? (our church has done Dave Ramsey’s and Crown Financial)

      Reply
      • Moe

        March 2, 2011

        It was Crown Financial Ministries “your money matters”. 10 week course. Good stuff!

        Reply
        • Jeff Randleman

          March 2, 2011

          LOVED Crown Money Matters! Excellent study!

          Reply
          • Dustin

            March 2, 2011

            Awesome. Yeah, we did it (maybe 5 years ago) and really enjoyed it!

            Reply
  • Jason Vana

    March 2, 2011

    I need to be more intentional in how I spend my time – not just coming up with ideas and visions of stuff I can do, but reshaping my time to actually start DOING those things. Getting off the computer more and building connections, reading more than watching TV, continuing my education, even if it’s just a course. Things like that.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 2, 2011

      I’m the same way too, Jason. So often (with my wife) I’ll talk about all these great things I can do with people (friends, coworkers, my high school students), but when it comes down to thinking practically, putting things on the calendar, and making that intentional effort…. nothing.

      Reply
  • seekingpastor

    March 2, 2011

    It’s financially for me, as well. Seems we use a scattershot approach to our money most of the time. Which is bad. Because we don’t have much. Being intentional about it would be awesome.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 2, 2011

      Thanks for the comment, Matt. Looks like you’re not alone… we’re in it together.

      Reply
  • Jeff Randleman

    March 2, 2011

    Intentionality is key. That’s something that I have to continue to make sure I implement in mny areas of my life. My relationships with my wife and kids, finances, daily quiet times, blogging, you name it… I need it.

    Thanks for the encourgement!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 2, 2011

      You’re welcome, Jeff. You also nailed a relevant one for many of us – blogging. :)

      Reply
  • Brandon

    March 2, 2011

    Great post! I like all the things you mentioned in here…! Living with intentions is something that must always do. It is easy to lose focus, but the important thing is to get back on it.

    Reply
  • Tom Raines

    March 2, 2011

    This “intentional” word has haunted me or kept reoccuring in my life for at least a year. WHEN am I going to do something about it? I just need to pause long enough to plan the intentional actions and then take them. It is easy to be captivated by the urgent or even the mundane. Intentionality requires foresight, planning and accountability! Thanks for the kick in the pants!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 2, 2011

      >>>”Intentionality requires foresight, planning and accountability!”

      That is money. Wise words for sure… Thanks, Tom.

      Reply
  • Donald Borsch Jr

    March 2, 2011

    D,

    Okay, what happened to you? Did you get struck by lightning during your softball game?

    This post is brilliant!

    Not that your other posts haven’t been good, no. But this one, D…oh my brother…this is Kingdom talk. This is son-speak. This is that which people need to hear.

    Dude. I am slightly envious. Slightly. :)

    Good stuff, D, no kidding. One of my faves so far from you, to be sure!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 2, 2011

      Donald, thanks for the kind words. I’m slowly learning the way of The Donald, right? :)

      Reply
  • Braxton Brady

    March 2, 2011

    Your post struck a chord with me because I am constantly fighting the battle to be intentional in the way I parent. Dads must strive to be intentional with their time and their conversations. Our kids are begging for time. I pray that we step up to the plate and parent intentionally with the glory of God being our focus.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 2, 2011

      Braxton, first off-thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate what you said: “Our kids are begging for time.” I forget that sometimes because I use the excuse “oh my girls are so young, they don’t understand/need me”. I want to be so intentional with my attention to them, because you’re right – that will influence other areas (like discipline, the message we communicate, etc).

      Reply
  • kristinherdy

    March 2, 2011

    I’ve noticed the intentional way you and your wife are toward your life and children in your last several posts. I think this is really a great summary of that philosophy.

    Some things in my life I’m really intentional about, other things, I scrape together. I want to apply the same intentionality to more aspects of my life. Finances is one of them – it’s difficult with only a part-time job just to have food, etc. The other is time with my children – we just sort of hang-out. I want to DO more.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 2, 2011

      thanks, Kristin… those words mean a lot. One thing we want to be is open–open to the way God wants us to speak life into our kids… changes all the time I think :)

      Reply
  • Michelle

    March 2, 2011

    I think its hard to be intentional. It takes a lot of work. And i think people tend to shy away from hard things. Well I know i do. I think that is why Jesus would walk off the scene and go pray. He was intentional, but he also needed to refocus, not that he was sinning at all as Jesus was perfect. And I bet even his prayer times were intentional – teaching his disciples and those who read the Word the importance of prayer. But I do think when Jesus prayed, it re-energized him. When I go all day without praying or talking to God, I feel depleted and am way less intentional. I just let things go by the wayside and forget my purpose.

    Good post Dustin.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 2, 2011

      it absolutely is hard. you are so right. this kind of living, requires a dependence on our Father. thanks for sharing that, Michelle!

      Reply
  • Jonathan

    March 2, 2011

    And you just wrote this post today?! Dang. Anyways, I guess for me, intentionality takes form in a different sort of way. Being a recent (and broke) college grad, I definitely have thought of the importance of the decisions that I make. For me, it definitely comes to play with how I use my time. I think it’s so easy to get caught up with “me” that I forget about others, and a lot of what Jesus did in His ministry is pour out to others. I know it also pans out into all aspects of my life: finances (a big one for me), relationships, etc. This post was definitely a great reminder on the importance of living with a purpose!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 2, 2011

      Great comments, Jon- thanks for sharing. I know I’ve said it before, but congrats on the diploma… that is a huge accomplishment. I remember the feeling when I finished school… “Must…get…a….job!” (So easy to have a me-minded focus…)

      Reply
  • ThatGuyKC

    March 2, 2011

    One of the most important areas I’m working on being more intentional is praying together with my wife and children EVERY DAY. You’d think every Christian would be good at this, but most aren’t.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 2, 2011

      That is so true. I know I personally need to be intentional in praying with the family. I mean, we have our routines (before meals, before bedtime with the kids), but to be focused and specific …. I can totally relate.

      Reply
  • Justin

    March 2, 2011

    Love the Give, Save, Live philosophy, Dustin. It has helped Lynnette and I tremendously with regard to providing a solid framework for managing the financial gifts God supplies us with.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 2, 2011

      What you said made me think of a quote from a book I just read: Practicing God’s Presence (Brother Lawrence, a 16th century french monk). Near the beginning of the book it says, “The more God gave, the more Brother Lawrence had reason to focus on the Giver rather than the gift.”

      I think that has to be the point, right?

      Reply
  • Keri

    March 2, 2011

    Right now I’m intentionally focusing on being a better mom, an excellent mom-on taking my role as a Stay at Home Mom seriously-as a job, as a career that I want to excel in, that I want to progress in, that I want to become an “expert” in. It’s not something I particulary LOVE. I never wanted to be a SAHM. But, it is where God has me right now, so I need give Him my best. And, there is no way that is going to happen by accident.

    Reply
    • Donald Borsch Jr

      March 3, 2011

      Keri,

      My sister…consider being a Mother as a ministry. Cling to Proverbs 31. It will open up so many opportunities for you!

      You got this.

      Reply
    • Dustin

      March 3, 2011

      You know, God has you where you are for a reason. He has specifically and strategically placed you in this opportunity to speak life and truth into your children’s lives. There is no one better suited for that responsibility!

      Reply
      • Keri

        March 3, 2011

        Thanks for the words of encouragement, Dustin. You’re so right-I just need to believe it and receive it! :)

        Reply
  • Keri

    March 3, 2011

    Thanks, Donald. You’re right, it IS a ministry. And, that is just another reason I need to be more intentional about it, a la Proverbs 31.

    Reply
  • Jim F

    March 3, 2011

    Been busy so getting to the party late – but intentionality is one of my favorite words and it is my word for 2011. I am trying to live my life with being intentional in everything possible.

    Good Post.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 3, 2011

      It’s a great word to “live by” :)

      Reply
  • Bryan Thompson

    March 3, 2011

    Dustin, another winning post, my friend! I love how you talked about the intentionality of Jesus. So true. Jesus had a mission – it was so clear it was a mandate. Everyone always immediately thinks, “Jesus was born to die.” But Jesus LIVED. He rose to prominence because he was SO focused on people and changing the way they thought about God. He changed the way they thought about the poor. He stood up to the Roman government and made history time and time again. You don’t do that if you aren’t driven by intentionality. Great thoughts!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 3, 2011

      Bryan, really enjoyed reading your comments. To think of that as a mandate is actually a pretty cool thing.

      Reply
  • Knox

    March 3, 2011

    LOVE this topic.

    So easy to glide through life without any real purpose but that’s poor stewardship of the time we’ve been blessed with.

    Awesome post!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 3, 2011

      >>>”…the time we’ve been blessed with.”

      You know when you consider our time to be not ours to begin with, it makes it even that much more important.

      Thanks for the comment, Knox!

      Reply
  • HarryClayman

    March 3, 2011

    I could be a little more intentional at work and on the road. Even when I’m singing along to “How Great is Our God”, I tend to get a little emotional on the road…

    “How Great is Our God! Sing with me… Hey you #(#%(@! Where’d you get your license?”

    Reply
  • Lizzie

    March 3, 2011

    Good post! You made me think about some things in a different way. I could pretty much live all of my life more purposefully, haha.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 3, 2011

      Live my life on purpose. I like that!

      Reply
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