Intentional Living

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How in the world is today the last day of January? I can’t even believe it. I also am not too sad about it considering February is one of my favorite months {it goes by quickly, Valentine’s day, and my fake birthday since I get skipped over again this year}. January was a good month though and I hope it was for you also.

The Bible study that I have been part of for two weeks now is called “Intentionally Focused.” When I first read the title of the study, I kinda thought to myself, well that sure narrows it down, why don’t we study a book of the bible or something more specific? However, my reservations were quickly proven wrong as I realized the importance of studying the Word intentionally and with great focus on only 1-2 verses per day. It is actually amazing how difficult it can be to write about just 1 verse. At least when you have an entire chapter to cover it gives you more material to work with. I have begun to understand how effective chewing on one verse daily can be. Which is what prompted what I am about to share with you. 

Within the last week I have read two different blogs about women choosing not to spend money on themselves for an entire year. Yes, one WHOLE year. These women blow me away with their discipline, honesty as they share the difficult journey, and reasons behind doing that. I am going to try and do a similar challenge, yet vastly different at the same time. I (we) will also be either giving something up/implementing something each month, rather than for the year.

I guess what prompted this for me is a culmination of things. 1) I think challenges teach us a lot, stretch our capacity, provide a feeling of accomplishment, and instill discipline in us. 2) We are called to glorify the Lord in everything we do and living intentionally encompasses that. 3) I am blessed beyond words with just things. I know, such a materialistic thing to say, right? But seriously, I have an abundance of technology (partly because my husband works for Samsung), a large grocery budget so that we can pretty much eat whatever we want, enough clothes to fit my small part of the closet (Yes, Jordan has more clothes than I do), and people around me who show me so much love. 4) I want to grow through this and learn about my habits, flaws, and areas needing improvement.

So you are probably wondering how this is going to work. At first, I thought about giving up one thing (each month) in my life that I have always been used to having. But then I decided that I did not want it to just be things I was removing, but rather certain months I want to implement something specific. Just like in my Bible study we focus on one verse per day, I am going to focus on 1 challenge per month. If I realize that my life is more fulfilling and rich with/without that particular thing, I will try to keep it out/in. If I think it was a great challenge, but not something that has negative impacts on my life, then I will add it back in. I can tell you right now that I could never BAN Target from my life. Come on, that’s just absurd. I will also use cash so that they can’t steal my info. Can’t stop, won’t stop (okay except for one month).

I’d love for you to join us in this endeavor, or tailor it to your specific struggles/areas of your life you’d like to work on. That way, we have more people holding us accountable and could encourage one another. Oh, and I am saying “we” because Jordan and I will both be doing this. We plan to continue this challenge until the end of 2014. I guess we were let off the hook in January. I also was a little bit strategic in the way I assigned certain challenges to months, depending on whether or not we had a trip planned or something. For instance it might be a little hard to save money when we go to Europe. Bring on the pasta, wine, and gelato! Well, here goes folks…

FEBRUARY: SEE YOU LATER LATTES: No trips to coffee shops for the entire month. Our current coffee shop budget is a little embarrassing. This is going to be a challenge because at least 2 days a week after I workout, I pick up a Starbucks Americano. It is my reward to myself for getting my butt up to workout before work. I NEED IT. But you see we don’t really need coffee shops considering we own a Keurig, French Press, and Coffee Maker. >>Already feeling ashamed for our habits<<

MARCH: PALEO-STYLE: This one was Jordan’s suggestion because I REALLY like sweets, so I avoided the diet challenge. Some of our friends have been doing the Paleo diet this month and she told me how much energy she had. I need to study up on this cave man diet to figure out how I am going to make decent-tasting dinners for us. From my understanding, we will not be able to eat any processed foods, dairy, sugar, potatoes, wheat dairy, and more things but I am already dreading it so I am going to stop talking about this one. I will need serious prayers during March.

APRIL: MISSIONAL LIVING: Everyday we are to give somebody something, whether it be tangible or intangible. It could be anything from giving them a coffee, $50.00, or even just a hug. It will be an intentional opportunity to engage others in the Gospel or merely be a light in their life.

MAY: READ: Yep, as simple as that. This month we will focus on reading for at least 30 minutes every single day out of a book of our choosing. Free of distractions, conversations, or anything else that hinders total focus.

JUNE: COUPLE PRAYER: Jordan and I will pray together every single morning or evening (most likely evening). My prayer life in general could use some working on, but I really think it is important that he and I are daily praying for our marriage, jobs, families, friends, attitudes, etc. I believe an even greater intimacy will result from doing that and this is definitely one that I hope sticks permanently.

JULY: SAVE: Besides food and the essentials, we will not shop for ourselves or house decor. So technically Target is okay, as long as I am getting food/deodorant or something boring like that. Note to self: just don’t tempt yourself by walking in there. Choose Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

AUGUST: SOCIAL MEDIA BAN: With the exception of my blog, we will not use social media. I will not publish my blogs either, so just keep checking :). I am really excited for this one and know it will be a good challenge for me.

SEPTEMBER: TOSSIN’ THE TV: Well, figuratively speaking. This one will be much more of a challenge for the mister considering I am really pathetic at watching television. We may make a few exceptions for College Football games, but no TV during week nights, or TV series’ that suck you in.

OCTOBER: CREATIVITY: I seem to always get the creative itch during the start of fall, so I thought this would be a perfect month to intentionally focus on trying new recipes, hobbies, crafts, etc. Each day we must be creative in some way. This one might be trickier for Jordan but if I survive the diet in March, I have faith that he can figure out October. Marriage is all about compromise, right?

NOVEMBER: MAKING MORE OF OUR MARRIAGE: The 23rd will mark our first wedding anniversary which is why it seemed fitting to choose this topic for November. This will involve daily signs of affection for one another and it does not have to involve buying things (but I am not opposed to flowers). Since every day we try to serve each other, this one will have to do with stepping out of our comfort zone to try new things and really just enjoy each other.

DECEMBER: REFLECTION & GOAL-SETTING: This one is pretty self-explanatory, but now that we are married I think it would be wise to reflect on 2014 and then setting goals for the New Year. I have heard of many couples doing this and it seems to really help them keep their finances and priorities in tact. Plus, maybe at that point, we will decide to do another month-to-month challenge, or even better, a year challenge.

I am really excited to do this. I am also thankful not to be doing it alone. I also know that some of these will really stretch us, because many of these experiences will be new for us. We’d love for you guys to ask us how we are doing and really hold us accountable! Keep checking back in to read about the journey.

Now, time to run to Starbucks to get myself a soy chai latte before I can’t have any for 28 days. Not really because it would keep me up until wee hours of the night (i’m a little sensitive to caffeine) but that sure does sound delicious.

I hope you have an awesome weekend! We are off to have a sushi date and use the Groupon I purchased a while ago!

Abby Dawn

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4 thoughts on “Intentional Living

    1. Thank you Amy, I appreciate you reading and your encouragement. This Bible study really helped prompt this challenge. Have a great weekend!

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