An Intentional Life

I like to read. God often engages me in the words of others and I find one book can lead to another. When an author makes reference to a book or author, I follow those leads and investigate further.

The lesson for this week in God’s Invitation for Kingdom Living is on living an Intentional Life. Discovering the quote below as I read another book seemed to be a God moment, an affirmation that what we do can affect who we are and who we are, can be shaped by what we do. And as we develop affirming habits we become intentional about loving others.

Writing in Context, his newsletter on religion and culture, church historian Martin E. Marty reports on a study that asked what habits improved the intimacy of married couples. “Among the variables in the habits of the couples studied, one ritual of intimacy stood out,” wrote Rev. Paul Bosch. “Did the couple embrace and kiss at the door in the morning before going their separate ways to work, or did they not?” The couples who kissed reported having happier, longer, and more fulfilling marriages than those couples who did not.

Not surprising, perhaps. As Bosch added, “Whatever you do repeatedly, over and over again, has the power to shape.” But the real surprise was that it didn’t seem to matter whether or not the couples meant it!

Just a perfunctory peck on the cheek seemed to be enough-enough to make a difference in the quality of the relationship.”

That’s something to mull over when your kids say they don’t want to go to church because they get nothing out of it. Or when they don’t want to hold hands when you pray grace before meals, or they try to sneak out of the house without your giving them a quick blessing. The action itself shapes us and improves the quality of our relationship.

The gestures themselves have power in them. Make the effort, and the rituals of your life will shape you, change you, elevate you.  And they will shape your children as well.

From Raising Faith-Filled Kids: Ordinary Opportunities to Nurture Spirituality at Home by Tom McGrath, p. 92

I believe what we do with our body affects the core of our being in ways we usually aren’t aware of or fully understand. Affirming others through physical touch, a pat on the back, a light touch on the arm, a sideways hug, not only affects them, but us. And living an intentional life not only affects the life I live, but affects who I am becoming, an image bearer of God.