Living with Intentionality

It’s a snowy day, this first day of 2022. We’ve hardly received any snow this fall/winter season, so it has been a welcome respite from the dryness. It continues to fall gently outside my window, and my children have already been sledding twice this morning. As I’ve sat by the fire and welcomed in a new year, I’ve contemplated new years resolutions. I don’t typically make many resolutions anymore, not to say I don’t have goals, but I don’t have a set list to do, all at once, when the calendar changes to January first. A friend recently asked me about any resolutions I had for the coming year and I wasn’t sure how to answer in the moment, but after giving it some thought, this is what I would say.

I want to live each day with intentionality and mindfulness. I’ve actually been trying to work on this for a while now, and I suspect it will be a lifelong goal. I do believe that pretty much every aspect of our lives could be improved if we lived more “in the present”. What if I took the time to think about whether I really want those pretzels, instead of shoving them into my mouth on instinct, just because they happen to be sitting there? What if I push through every rep of my workout instead of dialing it back when it gets to the end of the timer? What if I choose to be fully engaged in each activity I do, instead of thinking “what’s next?” or crossing an item off of my schedule or to do list? What if I breathe in each moment a little more fully?

It might look like noticing the frozen snowflakes on my three year olds eye lashes and stopping to take a picture. It might mean giving my children more eye contact as they tell me their stories instead of always looking up from my book or phone or whatever else captures my attention at the moment. It might be recognizing my feelings and letting them be instead of trying to make them go away by eating or drinking or distraction. I hope to lean into the discomfort I might feel when I decide to pass up that cookie to achieve my goals or not react in annoyance to my children, but instead take a moment to breathe, feel the frustration or discomfort and respond accordingly.

Each day won’t be one I want to cherish. Recently, my daughter and I got sick with the stomach flu. She got sick first, and it was a grueling twenty four hours to comfort her and walk her through the misery that is the virus. At one point I played some calming music and rubbed her back and ran my fingers through her hair, and in that moment I was grateful that she was comforted by her mother’s touch and that I could be there with her. I was grateful for our relative health and prayed for the children who are frequently in and out of the hospital with chronic illness. The day as a whole was not fun, but I found a moment to be thankful.

Each day won’t be exciting. Frequently I fight through feelings of monotony and boredom and I find myself trying to fill that space with shopping or eating or a to do list to cross off. However, that can turn into crossing off my days like something to be accomplished when really these days I’m crossing off, they are what life is made of. We truly don’t know how many days our future holds, so while it’s necessary to make plans for the future, I hope we don’t live in it.

So this beautiful new year, I hope to live in each day as it comes. To take moments out of each day to be grateful for or cherish, even if those days hold grief or suffering.I hope to obey God in the millions of little choices I make every single day. I hope to gain more patience with my children and to not always react out of instinct. I hope to give my loved ones the benefit of the doubt and not focus on petty drama. I hope I learn to forgive as easily as I complain. I hope to be more mindful and intentional in when or what I’m eating and why.

Here’s to a year full of joy, gratefulness, and courage to do the right thing no matter what everyone else is doing. Happy New Year!

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