Michelle Reed

3 Ways You Can Live Intentionally Every Day

Our hearts are so easily distracted; we are prone to wander, even from what we love. The only way to live a life of intention rather than a life of wandering is to live our days with intention, to think about what we do each day, to implement rituals that will help us grow. Above all else, as Christians we are lovers of God, for he has made us so.

If you’ve ever gone to a church service where the liturgy is done well, you’ll know what I mean when I say there is uplift at the end. You leave looking up—perhaps physically, if the architecture embodies this theology of worship. Yet most importantly, your heart has been focused on God who, metaphorically speaking, is high. Your heart has been lifted up to him by the power of the Holy Spirit and with the creaturely aid of the liturgy. The liturgy is intentionally constructed to lift your gaze to God Most High.
Likewise, the rituals of daily life direct our gaze. Our hearts naturally wander away from God. We love so many other lesser things. Thus, we must train our hearts to gaze upon God. Our lives must be lived in such a way that we leave them one day also with uplift.
Our daily life moves us toward a telos, a final endpoint that is our purpose. By seeing ourselves within our Creator’s grand narrative, we are able to remember that our story is not the story. Rather, we are part of a much greater one. In this chiasm of redemption, (beginning in Eden, centering at the cross, and ending in Paradise), we see that our telos is in enjoying and glorifying God.
United already to God in Christ, this telos is brought into our daily lives. We find that we are more than our careers, our achievements, our social media images, and, yes, even our coffee habits. We find that we are lovers, and more importantly beloved by God, the Lover.
How do we incorporate this into our lives practically? How do we live as both lover and beloved on a daily basis? By being intentional with our daily rituals. Here are a few suggestions to get you started, but feel free to build upon any of these, adding personality and creativity.
1. In Your Home
A few months ago I got married. This is the event that led to my interest in ritual in the first place. I began to think about the structure of home life and ways to shape it with intention, so that God would be enjoyed and glorified in our new home. Practices like praying together, family devotions, being in God’s word, and singing together are a few options. Other helpful ideas include memorizing Scripture together; reading a book as a family that can be discussed throughout the week; and even table talk during shared meals wherein conversation is purposefully about one another’s spiritual lives.
If you live alone, invite friends into your home, start/join a book club, or read a book of the Bible with another person and discuss it together. Home is a sacred place where God should be remembered daily; he is our only constant companion. Remember that as individual believers, we should each spend time in the word and in prayer daily on our own.
If you spend extended amounts of time at home, one ritual that can be beneficial is playing worship music in the background during your day.
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The Art of Ritual in Your Daily Life

Our confession as believers is that our purpose is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. In a vast and grand narrative greater than any individual life, we are drawn toward a greater purpose than we could have envisioned alone—union with the very Lover of our souls. May our rituals reflect this purpose and point to the God who loves us and has called us Beloved.

When I wake up each morning, the first thing I do is brew a rich black cup of coffee (so strong, in fact, that my husband refuses to drink it). In the evening, I drink hot peppermint tea, a parallel—nevertheless reverse—ritual. At some point in the day, I try to sweat. I jog, walk, or take a steaming bubble bath. Each day I read something mentally stimulating (just bought Thiselton’s collected works on hermeneutics) and something creative (currently Nabokov’s Lectures on Literature). I have weekly rituals, too. By Saturday night, I’ll have written a new poem, a habit I’ve practiced for the past three years. On Sunday, I worship, observing the Sabbath. These are only a few of my rituals. Can you list some of yours?
Why These Rituals?
For most of us, ritual is implicit—embedded within our lives without much notice. Yet, even if you are aware of some of your rituals, can you answer the question “why these rituals”? Are they merely the pulp spilling out of your life, natural excess, marrow holding together the skeletal frame of your days and years? Or did you choose them, intentionally forming habits? Do they add symmetry to your life? Do they get you where you want to go? Do you like them? Or better yet, do you love them?
When unnoticed, rituals can feel like a natural part of a sequence of cause and effect.
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