Living with intent changes everything. It changes they way we interpret things, and the way we respond to everything.
I’m an emotional person by nature, it is my first response to situations, especially stressful ones. Choosing to live with intent has changed my way of thinking, and it’s made all the difference in my level of peace and happiness.
I realized just how emotional of a person I am after having my kids. Momma bear is a real thing for me. Do something to hurt my children, and Momma Bear is my initial response, whether I want it to be or not. I find that once I hit Momma Bear stage, it takes awhile to calm myself down and look at the situation in a different light, even if it deserves to be approached differently. I have actually experienced ‘seeing red’ one time in my life that I can remember, and it had to do with a potentially dangerous situation my kids had been put in by someone else. ‘Seeing red’ is one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced, and I will do whatever I can to if avoid it ever happening again.
Knowing this about myself, and deciding it is something that I’d like to have a better handle on, I’ve found myself in many hours of self-reflection and prayer.
It was during a time of self-reflection that I realized that living with intent was something that I could actually do that makes a difference. Once I started to change my way of thinking and asking myself questions about the intent of myself or another person, I started to feel differently about things and I’m able to see them in a different light.
Parenting with intent takes a conscious effort and a lot of practice and self-awareness to do, but the payoff is huge.
When my children are disobedient or disrespectful, and I feel overwhelmed by the needs of all three of them, I can sometimes lose my cool. Moms, I know I’m not alone here! But when I start to feel overwhelmed, if I can stop myself and ask ‘What is your intent? What is their intent? What is your intent with how you respond?’ I find it drastically changes my feelings, and maybe even more importantly, my response. It’s never my intent to lose my cool. It’s never my intent to yell. It’s never my intent to teach my children poor behavior is okay, even when upset. Responding emotionally might bring out one of these behaviors that I have no intention of doing. However, stopping myself and asking my intent instantly seems to prompt me to take a breath and respond in a loving way, and intentional way, instead of reacting emotionally.
When I take into consideration what their intent is, it usually makes me realize that my children (usually) aren’t intending to be disrespectful, and that they need to be taught that what they are saying, or the way they are saying it, is disrespectful. Approaching frustrating parenting moments with intent in mind has drastically changed how I interact with my children.
It was eye opening to me when I realized that most of my parenting frustration was occurring during times that I could teach my children to approach things differently, therefore changing how I feel about their intent and how I respond. Somehow, during sleepless nights and coffee-less mornings I’m sure, parenting became more about surviving, rather than teaching.
After realizing this, and testing it often (remember I have 3 kids?!), I moved on to teaching my kids what it means to live with intent. Our older kids, ages 8 and 5, seem to understand it pretty well. Our youngest at 21 months will take a little longer to be able to understand it at all. But after talking with them about what intent means, and ways to live with intent, and how to approach relationships with intent, my kids are now living with intent, and its completely changing our family dynamics.
You can read more about Parenting with Intent in this post.
Adulting with intent sometimes is more difficult than parenting with intent.
When I find myself hurt by another adult, living with intent looks a little differently than it does when I’m dealing with our children. My personal opinion is that adults should be able to talk out their differences and approach one another from a place of peace and understanding. Agreeing to disagree is more favorable to me than living in angst. However, not everyone sees it this way, and sometimes there is no agreement that can be made. And such is life.
When I find myself hurt by words said by another adult, I find that trying to look at their intent isn’t usually beneficial. However, deciding how I want to intentionally respond makes a huge difference in how I approach the situation. I can’t control the intent of another person, especially after the fact. But I can control how I respond and how I choose to feel about the situation. This has been one of the most challenging aspects of living with intent for me. But I know the more I focus on my intentional response that I have put thought and prayer into when dealing with stressful adult situations, the better I will be, as a role model for our children, as a daughter of God, and as a friend to those around me.
Living with intent has been a life changing decision. It’s helped me take the emotions out of situations and has quieted Momma Bear more often than not. It’s helped me become more aware of how I approach stressful situations as a mother, and as an adult. Every day is still a challenge. It’s a conscious effort to live with intent. My natural instinct is to still respond emotionally, but choosing to live with intent has helped my relationships, and helped me teach my children to be better little people, and to choose to do better.