I am never very good at making New Year’s Resolutions. They last probably the first three weeks and then slowly dwindle off. A few months later I have forgotten about them. Whether it is cutting out sugar, losing weight, keeping the house cleaner, or going to bed earlier. I try, but then tell myself this phase in life right now isn’t suitable to make it happen. (I know, an excuse to get me off the hook!.) So this year I decided I am just not going to make one. No need to feel like I am failing, no disappointment in my lack of results. Sounds good, right?
You may be thinking, that sounds like some serious lack of motivation or an insecurity of the fear of failure. Before you go to far and think I have entirely given up on goal setting, hear me out.
This year during Advent the phrase “being intentional” and “living intentionally” came to me. I sat with it for awhile, thought about how it applied to my own life and I decided to take it with me into the New Year with me. To be intentional in my prayer life, my relationships with my husband and children, time spent on social media, what I am doing in my free time, tending to the house, etc.
I think the phrase encompasses everything that I am seeking to incorporate. Being intentional: purposeful, conscious, intended, deliberate. So perhaps it sounds like a resolution, but I like to think of it as more of an outlook on life. A way to approach the day to day tasks, to allow myself to savor the moments and to help with finding balance that I am in desperate need of.
Motherhood is exhausting. The cleaning, planning, preparing, scheduling, driving, chasing, attending. To-do list, calendars, appointments. It can feel at times like I am merely operating on a what needs to be done basis. Living in survival mode. My motherhood becomes all about doing, productivity and the outcome. Less about the people I am serving. When my focus for the day is what I can cross of my check-list rather than how can I be present to my family, I am not living intentionally.
These moments, this time in my family, referenced as the “golden age” are moments I don’t want to miss. It is time I want to savor, treasure and hold on to. Even in the chaos and daily chores, I want to be. Simply be. Not merely just going through the motions of the same routine every day, but taking joy in each act. Even if it means piles of laundry left unfolded.
To be intentional of what I am doing with my free time. At the end of the day, am I mindlessly staring at the T.V. or scrolling through my phone. Don’t get me wrong, we all need those moments once in awhile to veg. In this season of motherhood for me free time is a rarity. So I have to ask myself, what am I doing with it. It is those moments of free time, if used correctly, that can fill me so I can continue to give.
Probably the most important for me is, am I being intentional in my prayer life and spiritual growth. I cannot tell you how many times I have set big goals of getting to daily Mass once a week, going to adoration, or having 30 minutes of uninterrupted prayer time before the kids wake up, etc. If you have little ones, you are probably laughing because you know. All well intention aside, our lives ebb and flow by the needs of our children and this includes our prayer life.
Still, this is an area to me that calls for the most intentionality. So for now it is reading through the Mass readings of the day, (thank you BIS) first thing in the morning before doing anything else. Around mid afternoon, usually while driving to school pick-up, listening to a Gospel reflection, through RC Daily Meditation or by using the Laudate app. It is also simply turning my thoughts and words to God throughout the day, because even the smallest gesture is prayer.
In a society where it is all about productivity, the bottom line and gain it can serve us well to take be a little less like Martha and learn some insight from Mary.