Living with Intention

Cindy Elder and her husband, Kevin, are LAC missionaries and have been serving in Colombia since 1998.  Their son, Christopher, is a recent graduate of SAGU in Texas. Cindy teaches English to Bible School students, preparing them for ministry around the world.

While we were on a recent trip to the US to celebrate our son’s graduation from college, I picked up a magazine whose theme for the issue was living with intentionality. As I’ve perused the articles and read of how others apply intentional living in their choices and surroundings, I began to ask myself how I am living intentionally, or better, am I living intentionally at all?

I live with many hats. I’m first and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ. I am also a wife... and a mother... and a missionary. I’ve discovered that I can easily get busy “doing” life as a wife, a mother, and a missionary, but not necessarily doing it with intentionality.

I can become busy cleaning house or grocery shopping or mending a pair of pants, only because it’s a chore that needs to be done. But do I think about why I do it?

Back when our son was still at home, and when I homeschooled, I found myself trying to juggle all the other demands of my time and my existence with the simple task of teaching math and spelling. But was I doing any of those tasks with intentionality as my main goal?

And as a missionary, I can be busy “doing” missionary wok: teaching English classes to Bible school students, filling out quarterly financial reports, writing newsletters, or looking for THE story that will capture everyone’s attention and will “prove” our “success” as missionaries, but have I lost sight of the intentionality of what I do and why I do it?

I’ve begun taking inventory and giving intentional thought to everything I do. When I prepare
a meal for my husband and me, I ask myself, “Why is this important in my day?” My answer? I prepare the food because I care about my husband’s wellbeing. I desire to prepare food that is pleasing to his palate and that brings health and nourishment to his body!

When I teach English, I ask myself, “Why is this important?” My answer? I want to help my students be better prepared to minister to cultures around the world, wherever it may be that God will call them and use them!

Even when I read my Bible each morning, I constantly ask myself, “Why am I taking time to read this book? Is it to fulfill a duty, to check something off a list?” My answer? I want to begin my day feeding my soul and my spirit with God’s Word. I want to give God the first moments of my day to speak to me about what He has for me for the day.

Whether as a missionary, as a mother and wife, or as a woman who loves Jesus from her very core, I want to be sure that I’m living life with intentionality. I don’t want to simply let the moments and the days flow by without having significance to me, to my family, to those around me. I don’t want to waste a moment without purpose. I want to live intentionally!

Meryl Spadaro