50% of teens are addicted to their phones according to CNN. According to one study published in the Huffington Post, 40% of parents observed eating out with children were interacting with their phone more than their children. A study at Pennsylvania University found that 75% of women feel like phones and other electronic devices are ruining their relationships. How can we stop these trends so that our family memories are more than everyone sitting around the table with their head buried in their phone? Living with intention requires attention.
One of the people that I admire for her ability to live life with intention is Ann Voskamp. Tonight I was watching the live Facebook launch for Ann Voskamp’s newest book, The Broken Way. (This is an affiliate link which means that I will receive a commission if you purchase the book using this link). During the presentation, I was most struck by the calmness that Ann exudes in her video. How she discusses standing on her porch and looking at the wheat growing in the field. Sitting and looking at pictures of days gone by. Taking time to comfort her mama who is going through a difficult time. Cutting her son’s hair before he goes off to college. She isn’t multi-tasking and rushed during these times. She is completely focused on what is in front of her.
None of her moments seems filled with frenzy. She is calm and able to soak in the magnitude of each moment. She is able to note what is going on around her. The way her daughter has cut out a heart to wear on her chest. The tears on her mom’s face as she is going through a box of old memories. The way a piece of wheat can remind us that things must be broken to grow and yield “fruit.” There is no way to notice these things when we are not paying attention and living with intention.
The perfect model of living with intention and paying attention is Jesus. Never in the Bible do we hear of Jesus yelling at the disciples for moving too slowly. He isn’t barely glancing up from His Bible when someone asks Him a question. We don’t see Him sighing under his breath and annoyed because He is late getting somewhere. He takes each moment as it comes. Not missing the opportunity to talk with the woman at the well or to have dinner with a tax collector. He never seems rushed or frantic and He gave His undivided attention to those who needed Him.
Tips for Living with Intention:
- Completely focus on anyone who is speaking to you (turn off the t.v., don’t look at your phone, put down your book, etc.)
- Have a phone free zone at the dinner table.
- Look around! How will you notice a gorgeous sunset, the dimple your child has when he smiles or the bluebird that landed on the tree outside if you never pause to look up from what you are doing?
- Stop rushing! Take a look at what you can delete or delegate to give you room to breathe.
- Avoid multi-tasking. It doesn’t help you to accomplish more. You will find that you will be more efficient and creative when you focus on one task at a time.
What are some of your best ideas for living with intention?