“I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” Issac Newton English mathematician & physicist (1642 – 1727)
Deep down, we all desire to be influential and purposeful in life. But, how can we in this day and age? It seems that relationships are more shallow than ever before. Time for devotion and prayer seems less and less. With the world at our fingertips, our attention span can barely hold on for any dialogue with depth. This is why I write today. I’ve come to realize that my time on this earth is short and everyday must count. Second, I am unique. You are unique. We all have things to contribute to those around us in this world. Lastly, the people in my circle are there for a reason. The people I interact with today are people that God put into my life to be in relationship with me.
I usedto be shallow. When I was young, being popular and accepted was too important to me. I often behaved not like myself, but rather, like others I thought were prettier than me. This only worked to bring me happiness when times were good, but when I hit a low spot, I found myself to be very lonely. My relationships had no depth. They were based merely on fun. I’ve changed a lot since then. I’d like to share with you the intentional changes I made in my life in order to live each day purposeful. Living in constant aim towards my goals and also being the person I am and want to be.
Being deep, is giving all of your mind and effort towards what is in front of you at each present moment. Being deep is being present in that moment not thinking about other things, nor planning what you want to say, not looking at your phone, and not worrying about the future. Going deep means putting aside your own feelings and putting yourself in the place of the one in front of you. Its intentional, takes effort, and therefore is rewarding.
“Do not pity the dead Harry. Pity the living, and above all those who live without love.” – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
In order to be intentional in relationships, we have to be prepared mentally for what is ahead. If not prepared, we participate in our interaction with others based on how we feel at that moment instead of interacting in a way that is who we want to be.
TIP: I often start the beginning of my week thinking with excitement about those that I know I will interact with. I pray for them. I pray that I could have an opportunity to help them in some way. I focus on the good about them and about our meeting no matter what the situation is. Every meeting is an opportunity for good. Every circumstance I encounter, my Father is in control. Therefore, I have nothing to fear.
TIP: What about friends online? I live across the world from most of my friends. Therefore, I have chosen to take seriously my social media times. I am intentional at engaging others. I think about their posts and how to comment in a way that is uplifting and good. I post what I want to share with intentionality to be vulnerable yet positive for others. I have certain times of the day that I devote myself to friends on social media and I do so with prayer and joy.
Lastly, reflection is a must in being intentional in relationships. When going from one setting to another, a time of reflection and prayer is often necessary. For example, when I leave work and am returning home, I often pull aside to take a moment and think about the circumstances of work that are bothering me. I pray for each one and plan for the next day. After feeling a sense of release, I continue my way home where my family is waiting for my attention. You know what? I am able to walk in that house and give them what they need with all my mind! I have found that this time is key to living in the present and enjoying each moment. Find ways to clear your mind so that you can give your attention to those who need it.
Go Deep: Plan for it. Be it. Reflect on it.
Think about how incredible and exciting our spiritual walk would be if we treated each interaction with our Savior with the same depth described above! Are your times of devotion and meditation much shorter than they should be? Sometimes mine are too! What if we stop sitting there in guilt about the short amount of time we gave God that day and instead set apart our feelings and place every thought on Him! What about emphasizing quality over quantity this week and see the results in our spiritual walk.
Being present and deep with God is an incredible way to start your day.
TIP: When singing a song of worship, put all of your mind on Him. Focusing on the words.
TIP: When praying for a need, spend time on that need with Him taking on His perspective over your own feelings and lack of belief. Ask for His perspective on your need.
TIP: In intercession, pray for the lost in a way that takes it to a God sized response. Such as praying to feel the burden of their lostness so you can better pray better for the lost. Or that you could be instrumental in bringing that person towards salvation.
Quality prayers that are thoughtful and deep indicate 2 things: great faith and humility. Humility says I need time with you. I need your heart for this. Pride says “you got 5 minutes” and efforts are in human strength.
The first step to being intentional is being content. Without contentment, we will always long for things not within our grasp or our good. Everything is against you in the battle of contentment. The world is constantly telling you that there is more to be had and that you deserve it. How does one become content? This is where purposeful living and prayer come together. First, we have to admit our failure in being content and admit our need for spiritual intervention. The root of lack of contentment is selfishness. With selfishness, it is impossible to put our thoughts and feelings aside for the sake of another. We have to give without expecting or hoping for something back. This is contentment. This only comes through prayer.
What is shallow living? It is skipping from one thing to another without going deep. Shallow living is one of the sneakiest and most common ways to steal our abundant living. Flipping through Facebook without deeply engaging others, ignoring a friend in need, and choosing not to put effort into relationships with family and friends are a few examples of shallow living.
Shallow spiritual living is doing rituals or activities without contemplating the daily application and making the changes in your life. Shallow living may feel easy but not when the heat is turned up!
What you will find, is that the deeper you go, the happier you are. The more intentional you are in your daily activities, the more peOple will see and like YOU! The more intentional you live by planning for it, being it, and reflecting on it, the more you will meet all of your goals in life! Go get em! And, please share with me what you will be intentional about today.