BEING INTENTIONAL.

I used to think I was being intentional. I thought I was living life on purpose. But then I experienced the ministry of Young Life. The way this organization functions and does ministry is the definition of intentionality.


I still remember the moment it all clicked for me. I was in a leadership class for Young Life staff, and they were explaining why we do Young Life club the way we do. It typically starts with kids running into the room through a tunnel of people getting high-fives and pats on the back, all to the soundtrack of a fast, high-energy song. Immediately following is a big group game that includes everyone, a skit to make the kids laugh, a slightly slower song, a smaller game, then an even slower song, another small game, and finally a Christian song right before the talk. Every piece of this has a purpose. We want them to move from the hype and going with the flow to a place where they can focus on what’s happening in that moment. All of it intentionally giving them the opportunity to hear the Gospel in a way they can truly understand.


What if we were truly intentional every day of our lives? What if we looked at our day-to-day and decided to live in a way that ensured we gave every possible effort? Life is so short; let's talk for a few about how we can make the most of it.


IT'S A JOURNEY

I like to think of life as a road trip. There's a starting point and a hopeful destination in mind. There are fun, crazy times when the windows are down, the music is up, and the pedal is to the floor. Other times it might be long and boring, where everything seems to be in slow motion. There's always a chance that something bad could happen, like an accident or mechanical issues. Sometimes there's no way to tell what comes next, and it's not always up to you. So what happens when something goes wrong?


For the past fifteen years or so—ever since I started driving—my brother has been my official mechanic. Living in Texas has made that more difficult, but every time I go home to Alabama, he takes a look under the hood. He’s really good at what he does. His ability to pinpoint a problem and fix it really amazes me. Even though I don't understand how it all works, I genuinely enjoy being beside him under the hood, or completely under the car, watching and trying to pick up on what I can. Still, no matter how hard I try, I generally struggle with understanding what is going on.


In the same way, sometimes life is complicated and we can't understand why things are the way they are. Why did this happen to me? Why did the car break down? What do I do now?


WHERE DOES YOUR TRUST LIE?

I'll be the first to admit that not knowing what to do is scary, and it can easily make you feel hopeless. However, being intentional about how you prepare for the road trip of life can certainly help in easing your mind when unexpected things happen.


The first and most important step is realizing you are not in control. You literally can't trust yourself or rely on your own feelings. All our hope, all our trust, must be in Jesus. He is the driver AND the mechanic. Taking this step requires you to be intentional. You don't “accidentally” trust Jesus with your life; it’s on purpose. It takes you and me waking up every day and making the decision to follow him again, and again.


"...not knowing what to do is scary, and it can easily make you feel hopeless."

DISTRACTIONS

I’ve made the drive from Huntsville, Alabama, to Dallas, Texas, more times than I can remember. However, a few years back, I made a crucial mistake…because I was distracted.


Right after passing through Meridian, Mississippi, the road splits into I-59 south and I-20 west. It’s pretty subtle, and there isn’t a lot of signage. Cruising at 80 mph in the left lane (like I normally do), I missed it. The first indicator was that the sun was no longer in front of me but to my right instead. Looking for road signs to give me some direction, I realized I had made a big mistake. Somewhere along the way, I made a course adjustment that guaranteed not to land me in Dallas. I thought I was heading home, doing the right thing, but I was wrong.


If you don't live intentionally, then you might think you're going in one direction when, really somewhere along the way, you varied your course. You’re now headed to a remarkably different place than you originally intended—all because you got distracted and lost focus.


Here's the bottom line: life shouldn't just happen to you. You should be proactive as much as possible, trusting that the Lord has complete control of your life. Living intentionally is setting goals, making plans, implementing those plans, and with hope, reaching those goals. But it won’t be by accident. It’s not a New Year’s resolution, or something you only evaluate on a monthly basis. It's an everyday kind of thing.


Until next time.

JT