The idea of “being intentional” is a trendy idea that is floating around out there these days. It is a good idea that is probably a reaction against the tendency of modern culture to be busy but shallow.
Here is a quick demonstration. If you ask people how they are, 99% will answer in one of two ways: “good” or “busy.” “Good” of course is a shallow answer that is very often no where close to reality but we tend to be too shallow in relationships to go beyond that cliche. On the other hand, “busy” is probably very accurate. If people say they are busy, they are not trying to brag and self-inflate their importance. They are likely just in fact ridiculously busy, overwhelmed with stuff they believe they need to do.
The idea of living intentionally is very simply this:
1) Stop measuring yourself by how many things you get done and by how hard you work. (That is shallow thinking.)
2) Decide what your purpose is in life and set some goals that are impact-oriented.
3) Evaluate why you do the things that fill up your time to see how significant they are (whether they help you fulfill your purpose in life).
4) If you have no significant reason for doing something, eliminate it to make room for something more important.
5) If you need to keep doing something, look for ways to redeem it and make it more significant.
Here is another way of putting it: quit keep score with things that don’t matter. In the end, your level of busyness does not matter. What matters is whether you fulfill your purpose for why God wants you here.
Intentional thinking may start with a correct view of the big picture but it should trickle down into the details of how you operate. For example, if you are involved in planning worship services in your church, the same principles apply. I have recently become more involved in the organization and planning of the music for my church and I want to make sure that we are not just doing music to fill time. There needs to be a purpose behind it and I need to be looking for ways to make every song more significant.
Living intentionally may or may not make you less busy. I tend to think that in most cases, it means doing fewer things but putting more thought into them. It definitely means saying no to things, even good things. It means bucking the status quo. But it also means being productive in ways that really matter, the ways God wants you to be productive. It means growing focused and deep rather than wide and shallow.
So quit letting culture tell you that you are winning by being busy. That is the wrong scorecard. Be intentional instead.