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Choosing to Be Intentional

21 Apr

Choosing to Be IntentionalLately, I was thinking about how much I love my hairstylist.

Because she does my hair so well? Well, she does, but that’s not why.

Because she offers kindness and seems to enjoy the challenge of shaping my mangled mess of thick, wiry waves? Well, that’s awesome too, but that’s not it either.

Because, quite simply, she lets me in.

She talks to me about deep subjects. She shares her mama angst and desire to raise a good son. And she lets me see glimpses of that beautiful Spirit God gave her…that heart she is letting Jesus shape.

I absolutely appreciate that we can talk about matters of faith together, but the reason I carry her around in my heart is more than that.

When I made the decision to color my midlife mane a year ago, I was about to launch my first book, Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day, and I wanted a good author photo. I went to my local salon chain and enlisted the help of this lovely woman. It was a completely random choice.

After the first appointment, I had several offers from friends to color my hair for me; some even suggested why not just do it myself? Absolutely. Penny-Pinching Me is all over that, except for one thing:

I felt strongly that I was to continue to interact with this woman. I was prompted to stay connected.

So, while my wallet protested, whined, and moaned all the way there and continued to make funny “I’m empty” noises while I was sitting in the chair (as if, mid-rinse, I’d just get up and leave), and the appointments meant a sacrifice somewhere else that month in terms of our budget, I continued to visit her as needed for mane maintenance.

Now, we aren’t exactly solving world hunger or setting human trafficking victims free together. From a simple perspective, we are just touching into each other’s lives. That’s it.

My goal each time I see her is simply to encourage, listen, and rave about how incredibly talented she is. It isn’t flattery. (Don’t we all see enough of that everywhere?) I am not looking for anything free coming my way.

I think sometimes we tell ourselves we need to see an end goal or even a clear purpose to engage with people around us who are otherwise acquaintances or strangers.

Or maybe we question what right do we have to insert ourselves into their lives?

Those aren’t necessarily bad questions. We certainly can’t jump into everyone’s business around us, and we never want to bulldoze people, but we can look for where there is a need or simply where we are being welcomed, even invited—where the door is being opened, even just a crack.

I didn’t ask her to join me at dinner. I don’t even know her last name. I see her once every 8 to 10 weeks, but when I sit in her chair for two hours, I make it a point to see where I can build something positive into her life in some way.

I have no delusions of grandeur. Would her life go on okay without me in it? Sure. Is there a greater purpose to the tiny friendship between us? Will we someday be brought together in some common cause? Will we know each other more than a few years? I have no idea.

But if we have a chance to speak blessing and love into someone’s life, isn’t that an awesome way to live? I don’t do this everywhere I go, but I have found that making a choice to be intentional is the difference between walking around this world in a bubble of isolation and touching lives in ways where we can leave a small imprint—and they can also leave one on us.

phonecallsI’m a socially anxious introvert. Making phone calls fills me with terror, and yet each year I volunteer to be part of the team that calls every member of our church community at Christmas and Easter. Why would I do something so outside my comfort zone and even ability level, when all I do is panic for days leading up to my calls?

Because I want to love people beyond my own weaknesses.

I want to rely on God to supply what I lack.

I want to grow in areas that fill me with fear.

In my book, I reference a time when I saw a woman in Walmart looking for BPA-free containers to microwave soup for her daughter going through chemotherapy. I didn’t know this right away, of course, but I could see she needed some help. She explained what she was looking for, and as I helped her look, she told me why. It touched my heart, so I asked if I could have her daughter’s first name to pray for her. She seemed very happy about that. Now, almost every time I go to Walmart I pray for that family and that someday I can meet her again and hear good news.

These are such tiny examples during everyday errands of how we can be a little intentional when we interact. It could be just smiling nicely to the barista having a rough day, giving an extra tip to the overworked waitress, or cleaning up some trash that someone else spilled in the movie theater.

Galatians 6:9, ESV, Apostle Paul speaking

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

I want to live my life not growing weary of doing good. And after all, He Who began a good work in us is going to finish it. My tiny part of someone’s life or day will come to purpose and completion one day—

just as I will.

Philippians 1:6, ESV, Apostle Paul speaking

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

*This blog is a featured column at Your Tewksbury Today.

**It has also been shared at Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-UpMake a Difference Mondays, Faith-Filled FridaysSaturday Soirée Blog PartyGrace & Truth, A Little R & R, RaRa Link-UpDance With Jesus, Blessing Countersand Christian Mommy Blogger.

More anecdotal stories about faith, family, and relationships can be found in Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day (includes Book Club Discussion Questions).

 

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27 responses to “Choosing to Be Intentional

  1. Andrea

    April 21, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Great post! Being intentional is hard sometimes – it’s much easier to be on autopilot. When we stop to consider how God might be using our interactions with others, we are doing exactly what he wants for us, and our lives become richer.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      April 21, 2015 at 11:01 pm

      Thanks, Andrea. That’s a great analogy…being on autopilot. So many of my days are spent in that mode, and then I “wake up” to people around me and try to make a difference, but autopilot is definitely the daily temptation in our culture of busy.

      Like

       
  2. ginabad

    April 21, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    That’s wonderful, what a great post! And you thought you were just having your hair done, LOL! This is an area I struggle in – pouring into other people. I have a tough time deciphering people myself but God has pushed me to make the effort. Nice to see it spelled out here.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      April 21, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      ginabad, I used to get so stuck on thinking I had to do something huge for someone or else it didn’t matter, but then I realized it’s the small, slow, steady collection of smaller things people did for me that made all the difference. Big things are nice too, but small efforts can show love in big ways. Thanks for coming by “Espressos of Faith”!

      Like

       
  3. msjevita

    April 21, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Love this!! I have a new Blog to follow ❤

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      April 21, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      msjevita: Thank you. That is so kind! I really needed the encouragement today. I was having one of those “Am I even making a difference writing this stuff?” kind of days. I will check out your blog too. Thank you for your kind comments (here and on the “About the Author” page)…they made a huge difference in my day! Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • msjevita

        April 21, 2015 at 11:09 pm

        It’s no problem!! You never know who is watching and being inspired! YES KEEP DOING IT! I need it if no one else does! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

         
  4. Nance @ Leaning on Jesus

    April 21, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Amen! I needed to hear this to keep on what I have been also doing. Sometimes, it’s discouraging to continue when we focus on the people we try to encourage. Sometimes, we are ignored or worse, rejected. Yet, we should continue for the sake of God’s name.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      April 21, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      Nance…you raise a good point. Sometimes, people are not receptive or do not seem to be reflecting the love we invest, and that can be so discouraging, but I believe we just don’t see what God sees, and being faithful is the hardest part. Thanks for commenting! Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

       
  5. Tai East

    April 22, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Bonnie, this was an amazing post and you are an extraordinary woman. I love that you love so freely. We need more people like you, Dear One. Those tiny acts of kindness may seem small to us, but they could mean everything to the person on the receiving end. Keep loving, sharing, and being the incredible lady that our FATHER created you to be! Thank you so very much for sharing this! Infinite blessings to you, Love! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      April 22, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      Tai, you are so kind. I feel like God is trying to get my attention to stop looking for big moments and just notice those around me. Maybe, like you say, to the person we reach out to, it IS a big moment. Maybe to him/her, a holy God is sending His love in a message only he/she could know. Our culture measures accomplishment in so many other ways, but to me, loving people is all I need to do each day. I hope I remember this every minute. 🙂 BTW, you have an incredible gift of encouragement, Tai! It must spill out all over the place like beautiful God Light. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Tai East

        April 22, 2015 at 7:54 pm

        Bonnie, GOD is using you in a very powerful way, Love! I’m praying to see more hearts like yours; people who sincerely want to please our FATHER and offer HIS love to others. I can tell from reading your words that your heart is pure, oh how I long to see such beauty being displayed in the hearts of others. You are truly HIS light and salt here on earth. May your light always radiantly shine and add HIS flavor to every heart you encounter. And thank you so very much for your kind words! I wholeheartedly appreciate you! Praying love, joy, peace, strength, and favor over you, Dear One! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

         
  6. Kelley

    April 22, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    i love this! We need to look for every opportunity to love people, show kindness and live outside of ourselves. Great article!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      April 22, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      Thanks, Kelley! I really appreciate you stopping by “Espressos of Faith” and offering your thoughts. At the end of the day, if we offer this, isn’t it also what we hope to experience…the love of God through others? Not because we have to receive from the person we give it to but because we all have a built-in need for God love. I want to be a bucket-filler even on my worst days. Oh, God, please sanctify me so that I can be that even on the ugly days. I’m not there yet. Work in progress.

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  7. Jeannie Pallett

    April 22, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    How refreshing to read your words, hear your heart. You must be a breath of fresh air in real life as you live your days seeking to love others beyond your weakness. God meets you in your weakness, giving you His strength and the dynamics in your relationships are like a powerhouse. You simply house His power and release it in love. Bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      April 22, 2015 at 8:15 pm

      Jeannie….thank you so much for that! I really appreciate you coming by “Espressos of Faith” and for the encouragement. It’s good to hear that because some days I feel like I don’t do nearly enough, and yet, that’s the point, right? He does it all. We are just willing vessels. No striving. Just resting in an easy and light yoke of Matthew 11:28-30. I love your powerhouse illustration! Blessings to you!

      Like

       
  8. Erica @ Coming Up Roses

    April 23, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    I absolutely love this:
    “Because I want to love people beyond my own weaknesses.
    I want to rely on God to supply what I lack.
    I want to grow in areas that fill me with fear.”

    Beautiful. This so speaks to me today, and is so so so important. Thank you for saying this.

    cominguprosestheblog.com

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      April 23, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      Erica: Thank you so much for visiting “Espressos of Faith”! I used to live so limited behind my own weaknesses, and really, it was like saying that God wasn’t enough, when He is! I’m trying to realize what a crippling lifestyle it is to think I have to remain behind my own fear. He is our armor carrier…He goes ahead of us. Thank you for your encouragement! It touched my heart! Blessings!

      Like

       
  9. Cheryl

    April 23, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks for the reminder. In my busy-ness I think I don’t have any opportunities to bless others but I do if look for them. Be Blessed…

    Liked by 1 person

     
  10. Bonnie Lyn Smith

    April 23, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Cheryl, thank you so much for commenting! I agree…my busy-ness used to make me feel so defeated, but really, it’s the small things along the way that make so much difference. Blessings to you!

    Like

     
  11. Ellen Chauvin (@eechauvin)

    April 24, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Oh, Bonnie, what a wonderful post for me to read – I’m a fellow introvert! I love how you are intentional in the small things! Thank so much, so happy I’m your neighbor at #DancewithJesus

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      April 24, 2015 at 10:44 pm

      Hi, Ellen at #DancewithJesus! 🙂 Nice to meet you! Thank you for such uplifting comments! Introverts unite. 🙂 It’s so nice to have people connect in different ways and “get us,” and being introverted is one of the ways I, ironically, connect with others. Looking forward to seeing your posts now that I have discovered #DancewithJesus! 🙂

      Like

       
  12. Karen Del Tatto

    April 24, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    I found this blog post so edifying and encouraging. I found myself re-reading the following insights you shared:

    “Because I want to love people beyond my own weaknesses.

    I want to rely on God to supply what I lack.

    I want to grow in areas that fill me with fear.”

    Excellent post!

    Liked by 1 person

     
  13. Bonnie Lyn Smith

    April 24, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Karen, thank you so much for stopping by “Espressos of Faith” and leaving a comment. I really appreciate your kind words. I’m so happy you found it edifying. Every time I give a weakness of mine to Jesus, I find out how incredibly strong He is. It’s beautiful! Blessings to you!

    Like

     
  14. Kelly Balarie

    April 25, 2015 at 6:19 am

    Yes, Bonnie, I don’t want to walk around in a bubble of selfishness. I want to be intentional. New focus for today! What a great word. Cheering you from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith. I love that you are a special part of this group!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      April 25, 2015 at 8:32 am

      Thanks so much, Kelly! I was very excited when a fellow blogger (Yolanda Perry) let me know about #RaRaLinkup! I’m excited to be part of it! Blessings, and thank you for the encouragement!

      Like

       

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