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27 Dec '12

Accidental vs intentional living

Posted by T.J. Addington in Intentional living




All of us live somewhere on a continuum between accidental and intentional living. At the end of one year and the start of another it is worth considering where we fall on the continuum and where we desire to be.

Accidental living can be characterized by the following:

-Lives moment by moment
-Often harried
-Little advanced planning
-Does not distinguish between 'big rocks' and 'small rocks'
-Busy without well defined priorities
-Allows life to determine schedule

Intentional living can be characterized by the following:

-Lives within structure
-Seldom harried
-Significant advanced planning
-Distinguishes between critical and non-critical
-Schedule revolves around key priorities
-Mission drives schedule

Do you fall more on the accidental or the intentional side of the continuum? Are you pleased with where you are?

How intentionally we live our lives matters. From a personal perspective, the issue is whether we are using the gifts, time and opportunities Christ has given to us to the fullest advantage. We have one life to live and it goes fast. On the other side of 50, I am on the down slope of opportunity, time-wise, but have greater opportunity to influence others given my stage of life and the lessons I have learned.

I meet few individuals who want to squander their lives, yet the way they go about life does not match their desires. Lack of careful thinking about priorities and schedules, allowing others to determine them, and not living in light of the gifts and opportunities God has given us equal accidental living.

In John 15, Jesus makes it clear that fruit matters to God. The fruit of our lives is directly related to the gifting God has given us and the "work that he prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10). Seeing the reality of this fruit is directly related to how intentionally we live our lives in light of our God-given gifting and priorities.

Healthy leaders and teams are made up of people who refuse to settle for accidental living, out-of-control schedules, unfocused activity or the expectations of others. Rather, they are deeply thoughtful about what God has called them to accomplish, focusing strategic activity on the big rocks of their lives, all of which come out a deep sense of God's call and our stewardship of that call.