It’s guest post Monday! Chris Peek blogs about living the intentional life and becoming fully alive at TrailReflections.com. In addition, he works as a director, producer, and editor in TV and video production. When he’s not working with multimedia, he can often be found exploring God’s creation through hiking, biking, kayaking, and traveling. You can connect with him on Twitter. If you would like to have a post featured on my site then click here.
My life hasn’t always gone the way as I would have scripted it. Probably much like yours, it’s been filled with many highs and quite a few lows. One of those low points came in late 2007, as my wife Karen and I began a long journey which neither of us saw coming. We had only been married a little over four years up to that point when she began experiencing random rapid heart rates, extreme fatigue, and heart palpitations, among other symptoms.
Over the next year-and-a-half, we traveled from specialist to specialist searching for answers. From Vanderbilt University to the Mayo Clinic, we saw some of the top cardiologists in the country. Both Mayo Clinic and Vanderbilt agreed: she was diagnosed with a chronic heart condition called POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). It pretty much tossed our comfortable world on its head, and our marriage was in for a radical shift.
Life on Cruise Control
Up until the health issues, we had pretty much lived life on cruise control. I had never really considered the idea of being intentional about life. Like most people, I drifted along and floated toward whatever life was awaiting downstream. On a rare occasion, I would stick my oar down into the calm waters and give a slight direction change.
To be honest, though, we didn’t handle the circumstances of Karen’s condition well for the first two years. With only one job, our finances began to deteriorate. Tempers flared. The frustrations persisted. The word divorce was even thrown about. Neither of us knew who we were anymore. Being caught in the middle of a raging whitewater river, the ordeal awakened us to our need to slow down, pull over, and chart a new course.
Isn’t it interesting how pain often brings us to a point of making change in our lives? It was through the pain that I recognized the value and necessity of living intentionally, which is what we began to do.
What is an intentional life?
It is life lived on purpose, not dictated by circumstances or happenstance.
One of two things is going to happen in your life: you will get caught up in the currents at the complete mercy of the river, or you will navigate the treacherous currents in a raft with oars, guided by your strengths and the abilities of your allies.
What’s the value in pursuing the intentional life?
– We’re not defined by a job. While a job may be a component of our lives, we pursue in intention in all areas: faith, family, friends, work, and play.
– We’re not bound by circumstances (including health problems). If you haven’t experienced difficult times, they will find you. Trust me. We can either use struggles to derail or to propel. My wife used her health struggles to propel her to write a cookbook and speak to women’s groups.
– We follow our heart’s desire, not the world’s desire for us. So many people live out of other fear of disappointing someone else, but the intentional life is about offering what’s on our heart.
– We find value in the things that matter. Our relationships take priority when we’re pursuing life with intention.
– We trek up the mountain toward becoming fully alive. The intentional life shines a spotlight on our heart’s desires, as we pursue them with focused reflection and intentional action.
Questions: What are some additional reasons why you pursue the intentional life? Which struggles helped you become more intentional?