I am a word person. As a reader, writer, and English teacher, I love words, and finding the perfect word for a sentence or a situation makes me happy.
When I was taking classes in education, the importance of intentional teaching was the main theme. Intentional teaching means being mindful and purposeful. It means having a plan to reach a certain goal, but also being aware of when the plan needs adjustment. The word intentional resonated with me, because intentionality, mindfulness, and purposefulness can all apply to many areas of our lives. I want to be an intentional mother and wife. I want to intentionally search out beauty. I want to be an intentional Christian, mindful and purposeful in my actions so they reflect the love of Christ.
Recently, as I was reading a devotion on living a Christian life, I was reminded of this intentionality. It seems as though we’re more intentional about showing we’re Christians and putting on our best faces when we’re with people we don’t know all that well. But what about those who know us best? Will they be swayed one way or the other by our actions?
When we’re around close friends and family, we can let loose and be ourselves. We can wear ratty sweats and t-shirts. We can get by without wearing makeup. It’s wonderful to have those types of relationships. There may be a slight difference between our public and private personas, but our morals, faith, and Christianity should not be different.
As I read more, I began to ask myself some questions. Would someone know I’m a Christian if they watched me at home? Have I let Christ into all parts of my life? Do I trust Jesus with everything?
To be honest, I had to admit sometimes the answer would be no. I cringed at the thought. I’m glad no one sees that side of me. I cringed again when I realized the people most important to me, my husband and children, do see that side of me.
For several years I taught a missions-related class for preschoolers at my church. Each month we studied a different missionary family. Along with teaching them about the missionaries, where they served, and the people they served, we taught the children that it was just as important to serve at home. We talked about helping neighbors and friends and telling them about Jesus. We talked about how they could help their parents at home, and how showing love and care for someone shows people Jesus.
I get to be home with my children a lot. I have my own little mission field right in front of me. Am I caring for it like I should? Do I show my children I’m a Christian? Am I intentional about living my faith?
Again, if I’m honest, the answer is not always.
Why? What is my problem?
The simple answer is this: I don’t always let Jesus into my everyday life. Or I give a problem, a concern, or a fear to him, and then take it right back. I don’t feel comfortable relinquishing my control. My children are fully aware of this. When we were shopping for school supplies, my two oldest were laughing at a notebook, nudging each other, saying it would be a great purchase for me. They finally showed me the cover, which said “Control Freak.” It was funny, meant as a joke, but it’s true about me. I like to be the one in control. However, that’s not how this world works. In this life, we are not meant to be the ones in control.
Now, before we all beat ourselves up for being bad mothers and strive to achieve perfection 24/7, let’s remember that no one is meant to be perfect. That’s why we need Jesus. So do that, need Jesus. Show you don’t have it all together. Show why you need the Lord in your life. That’s the best way to live our faith intentionally. That’s the best way to tend our mission field, wherever it is. Show others that we’re trying our best to follow where the Lord leads, but also that we cannot do this life without him.
When we show our need, we show his glory.
Dana Herndon is a writer and blogger as well as an elementary and middle school teacher. She and her husband live in Georgia with their three children. In addition to teaching and writing, Dana loves to read, watch Food Network and HGTV, follow politics, and paddleboard. She blogs at danaherndon.com.
Photograph © Eric Didier, used with permission