One of the best things about the Internet is the exposure to many ways of living life. With a few taps of our fingers, we’re connected to parenting methods in Brazil or the best way to tour New York City on a budget with our kids.
We hear others’ convictions and passions about how to best live life, and we’re privy to more tutorials for sewing tote bags than we’d ever possibly need. The Internet is a beautiful place to work, and I’m proud to be part of it.
But one of the worst things about the Internet is the exposure to many ways of living life.
As we read how other families function scattered around the globe, we’re tempted to be confused at best, discouraged and defeated at worst. One site is chock-full of gardening tips, and as we read, we’re convinced that we could probably live off our backyard if we just gave it some time and attention.
Then we click over to another site that’s rich and deep and full of spiritual encouragement, and we’re convicted that we need to spend more time journaling our prayers.
We check our e-mail, and there’s a blogger giving us step-by-step instructions for how to build an outdoor play tent for kids, so now we’re motivated to run to the fabric and hardware stores for supplies — but not before we’re stopped by another site that spills out a list of the fifty best read-aloud books for kids under ten, so now we add library to our errand list too.
It’s overwhelming and exhausting, and it often means we throw in the towel and almost never do any of these well-intentioned tasks at all. And then we’re depressed and ashamed, so why not just order another pizza and watch more Friends reruns for the evening?
Living intentionally ultimately means staying true to yourself and how your family is made.
As you scour the Internet for ideas, listen to that still, small voice that says, This is you. That voice you hear? I think it’s a little nudge to wander down that one path, which thereby gives you permission to ignore the other path.
God made a lot of people, and if He wanted us all the same, well, He didn’t do a very good job. I’m fairly convinced He tapped into His creativity when He made us.
Are you convinced that your family needs to be in your public school system, making positive changes there for the better and developing relationships with your neighbors? Then do it, and don’t feel the need to apologize.
Do you feel you need to stay in your desk job right now instead of pursuing that business idea percolating in your head, because your family has health issues and you really need the insurance? By all means, stay where you are, and become a stellar employee so that you’re rewarded for your labor.
Is your family more interested in saving up money to buy an RV and camp across the country than backpacking around the world? Have a great time and send me a postcard. (You all still need to leave your home country together at least once, though. That’s a nonnegotiable.)
Most of life’s decisions don’t come with black-and-white answers, and that’s a beautiful, marvelous thing. We’re each given freedom to choose our decisions, and that responsibility is the very definition of living with intention, after all: making daily choices so that your life lines up with your passions and values. It should all make sense in your head.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Go forth, then, and do it with zealous delight. No matter where you live, the size of your family, or what’s truly most important to you, may you live intentionally in a way that makes sense in your head. And maybe our paths will cross one day.
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Excerpted from Notes From a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider, copyright Thomas Nelson.
What in your life do you need to let go of today in order to fulfill the call God has placed upon you and your family? Do you need to let go of comparison? Leave your comments below. We’d love to hear from you!