I don’t know who originally said it, but apparently there are only 3 kinds of people in the world. Those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and those who say, “What happened?”!
As well as being somewhat amusing I am also struck by how insightful such a saying is about human nature. It is so easy to go with the flow of whatever is going on around us or get distracted by whatever is latest or loudest in our lives. And at certain times and seasons of life that can be absolutely appropriate. For example think about the stay-at-home parent with the responsibility of children or the receptionist or administrative staff in a busy office. Or the sudden emergency at home with an appliance or device. In all those instances it is absolutely appropriate to react to the pressing needs of the moment. Not to do so could lead to disastrous consequences!
The danger it seems to me is when we live the majority of our life reacting to what is outside of ourselves rather than in response to the long standing God-given longings, beliefs and desires that have been placed deep inside of us.
Here is how writer Carissa Lada describes how she and her then husband spent much of their lives without intention:
‘Most of our activities involved going out to eat, planning which movie we’d see that weekend, or awaiting our favorite shows on TV. We had certain shows we looked forward to each night of the week. It was fine for a while, but I began to have this growing feeling like I was missing out on, well, life. I didn’t want to look back on my life in 20 years and say, “Well I saw every episode of [insert show], so I feel really accomplished!” This growing desire to get more out of life caused a rift in my marriage, and was one factor that ultimately led to its demise.’
So what is intention? At its simplest it is about living with an aim or a plan. But when we talk about living intentionally it is also more than that – it is a choice to deliberately pursue what is significant over the long term rather than the short term. It is to get more out of life than what I see in front of me with the vast myriad of choices and challenges to deal with.
Or taking the words of C. S. Lewis: