This was premeditated.

Willful, premeditated, purposed. Three fabulous words, all with one meaning: intentional.

This word has come up a lot lately, and at first I was chalking it up to random happenstance -- but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I'm hearing it so often because it's what I need to work harder to be. Intentional.

The irony is that even typing that word forces me to watch what I'm doing -- to watch my finger placement, to type deliberately, and not just let my brain trick my fingers into writing "international", which they just did so freely. I find it amusing that the word itself causes me to be so.

Being intentional is something that we take for granted. In a world full of flashy electronics, busy schedules, and go-go-go, we so often just find ourselves going with the flow of the current, confident that it will have us pass by the things that we need to see and do. And, because it's a powerful force, it does. We follow the flow, bobbing here and there as required, and then continue to float about on our merry ways.

But soon we find, as I am right now, that we are missing things. We are not giving the care to the people or things in our lives that they rightly deserve, and they are becoming more of a "have to", rather than a "get to". I am so unbelievably guilty of this. I sit in the living room of my house, happy to be spending time with my husband, but realize that isn't really what I'm doing. I'm spending time with my phone, or my iPad, while my husband does the same thing in the same room. That's not spending time with each other -- that's spending each other. Using our time together up on nothing important and nothing that matters. That's not to say that we can't enjoy people's company and not have to say anything -- that is completely legitimate. That is comfort, true comfort, when you are able to do that and not want to fill up the empty spaces with meaningless thoughts and words.

But if I am gifted an evening with my love, it would behoove me to put down the phone, the iPad, the book... and spend some intentional time with him. Start an intentional conversation on the goals that we may have personally and jointly. Focus some time specifically for him, and on interacting with him. Give him a real conversation and a real slice of my time, because he deserves that. Our marriage deserves that.

This idea bleeds into my whole life. I am so blessed to have a job that I adore, and to have coworkers that I adore as well. I get to interact with 200 little people every day - I hear their jokes, give them band aids, and giggle to myself when they say "Ms. Harter - I mean, Mrs. Marcellis!!!!!"... But there are days when I feel like I'm on auto pilot, and my intenationality (is that a word? It is now.) slips out the window, or doesn't even make it into the building with me. It can be hard to be intentional I've noticed in the last few days, and believe me, it's going to be an uphill climb to devote myself more to this. It's the look in a person or child's eyes when they are talking to me, giving them my full attention. It's putting down the pen or stepping away from the computer when someone comes to talk to me, or calls me.

Think about this: If every person that you met treated you like you were the only person in the world, wouldn't you start to feel great about your role on this planet? So why not help make that a feeling that someone in your life experiences.

Being intentional. It's such a simple idea, yet world-changing. And although it's difficult to direct yourself to being more intentional with the people and world around you, it just makes so much sense. Why shouldn't we all be doing it? It's going to take a lot of diligence. We will literally have to be intentional, about being intentional. What a sneaky little word that is.

I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to be intentional with one area in your life this week - to get the ball rolling. Whether that's carving out time for a friend you have been wanting to visit, or making a long phone call, or just being an aware driver who isn't distracted by the radio or other things... Just try it, and let me know how it goes. Because I can tell you this -- I'm going to need all of the help that I can get with this challenge.

Intentional. Need more ways to say it?

Mandylightfully yours. :)