Be All There

6:45 AM

Wherever you are, be all there.
JIM ELLIOT

This man went through catastrophic change. He once lived one life that was taken from him in an instant. He survived the second life, the chaotic, traumatic, second life, only to die to that and come to the third life -- the lasting change. With too many life experiences under his belt, he wrote in his book that he now lives differently -- his faith stronger, his love purer. He vowed to live life fully.

In other words, he got his SCUBA certification. And pilot's license. And in those activities, in merely doing once-in-a-lifetime things, he finally lived. 

I don't think people in general know how to live very well. Most people exist, that's all (to borrow Oscar Wilde's observation). And then those of us who do decide to color outside the lines, we do it so selfishly -- crowding our life with meaningless purpose, with mere memories, with SCUBA certifications. Certainly, being human, we come alive when we do what we love, when we do what we were made to do. No denying that. But because I'm a philosophical snob (maybe) or because I'm so unruly by nature (perhaps), I need something more than activity and sensationalism to live fully. I want to come alive in the less-than moments, the in-between times, those cracks of existence that we don't normally think to fill with life. 

INTENTIONAL. I've been thinking of being INTENTIONAL, lately. What that is. How it's done. 

I feel stretched thin sometimes. I reach the edges of human finiteness. I crowd up against the twenty-four-a-day limit. I run out of energy, passion, interest. On some days, there's a quota to smiles and say happy words, tears and depression, before I shatter. There is so much that could be and not enough me to go around. 

With everything I do, there goes the chance to do something else. That's life, the great give and take. That's not a bad thing, if I go about doing the good and important, if I'm intentional about life. So often I'm not. Usually I float around, painting purpose in broad, undefined strokes and mosying about with the details, if I ever get around to filling them in. But any artist -- or author, since things go from bad to worse when I pick up the paintbrush -- can tell you that the details matter. 

I take that broad brush of purpose -- glorifying God, proclaiming His gospel, loving with no bounds -- and I realize I've got to make some decisions. How will I glorify God? How will I proclaim His gospel? Who will I love? There's no time to fool with time. The decision must be made -- to take each moment, each opportunity and breathe into it full life.

After our homeschool play, each cast member gets three free shout outs -- little slips of paper to scribble something on and stick in another person's envelope. Normally I'd stick with my group of tight friends, repeating the things I'd written to them over the years. This year, my last year, I thought hard about who to write to -- who would need it? Who would it matter to? Who might this impact most? (Words have power.) I chose three beautiful girls God laid on my heart to write to. Whether I guessed right, whether a little slip of paper and ink actually did what I'd hoped it'd do, I don't know. 

But that was the thinking I was after and the action that followed. Being intentional. 

Sometimes it means stopping things altogether, like not staying up till midnight or randomly surfing the web. Sometimes it means decluttering and no multitasking -- fully taking in the moment and being all there. Sometimes it means refocusing -- reading good books, speaking right words, growing true friendships. 

I thought, for awhile, being intentional was about having a schedule; and sometimes it is, when I daily have a lot to do with no option of cutting anything out. I'm no scheduled person, though: I love spontaneity. But I've found that, ironically, being intentional leaves plenty of time to actually live -- going on an unplanned walk with my best friend and baby sister and getting caught in a hailstorm, praying in a bed of yellow-against-green dandelions under the apple tree, capturing memories in words. I feel deeper. I think deeper. I live deeper.

I am a girl with a great purpose and a living hope. I want to live like that, every day. Intentionally.

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5 impressions

  1. Lovely post. I've been thinking about this lately, though I couldn't quite put it into words: I want to live intentionally.

    ~Kristin

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  2. This is a subject that's been on my mind lately. In fact, I just thought of that Jim Elliot quote this morning. Let's just say I was glad when this post popped into my inbox. :) Thanks for the encouragement, Bailey.
    ~RacheL

    P.S. I have that same skirt. :)

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  3. That is incredibly beautiful and inspiring, Bailey. I'll be mulling this over in my heart and mind. Thank you so much for sharing!

    God bless,
    Anne Marie :)

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  4. This echoes everything I've been feeling lately. I've come to realize how much I waste time...whether it be by surfing the internet when there are so many other things I could be doing, bumming around when I know I have work to get done, ect. I don't want to live like that. I want to have a meaningful, purposeful, intentional life. And all for the glory of God.

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  5. Amen, amen, amen. Hold on to this truth always, Bailey - especially when culture crashes into you like a speeding train. "I know the plans I have for you... plans to prosper you and not to harm you... plans to give you HOPE and a FUTURE." Cling to it, beautiful girl!
    Cassandra @ The Unplugged Family

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