Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I've been blessed to be able to pursue a personal life goal for the past ten years, the last three of which I've spent working on a PhD. I am so thankful for this opportunity, and I have received so much more than I had even hoped for in the process. But along the way, my singleminded pursuit has crowded out so many good, even necessary, things that I value but have just let fall to the wayside. My fault, I know. But still, it has happened.

Life events, however, have come together to inspire me. The theme of last week's Christian Scholars Conference was "The Power of Narrative," and Barbara Brown Taylor, one of the plenary speakers, made a statement that really resonated with me. She observed that so many of us choose narratives too small for our lives. We fritter away our time on non-essentials, drifting along, never daring to live a narrative big enough to fit our dreams and goals.

On top of coming face to face with that truth, while at this conference I met several people who are living their lives so intentionally, with such unifying focus. They have decided what is important to them, and they are purposefully making room for those things in their lives, getting rid of the habits that rob them of time or room for human connection and spiritual pursuit, and adding things that bring them contentment and real happiness. There was something about these people. They had a peaceful countenance (an old-fashioned term, I know, but it fits exactly) and a quiet joy I envied.

It's not like this is a new idea for me. I've always had an inner vision of the kind of person I want to be and the kind of life I want to live, but that vision often gets trampled under the tyranny of the urgent. And it's not as if I think my pursuit of a PhD was a "frittering away of my life on non-essentials." It was, and is, a worthy goal and very important to me. But now, as I'm nearing the end of this years-long journey, I want to transfer my energies from this pursuit into creating a life that matters, one that honors my values and makes my outer reality match my inner vision. I want to live a life of Intention. During the next week or two, I want to write about different areas of Intention that I want to pursue. It may not be a daily theme because I'm still thinking this thing through. But I invite you along for the journey.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Travis!


lisa b said...

If I haven't told you lately, I am honored to be able to call you "friend." You are a blessing to me.

~~ Lisa

Jonathan G. Reinhardt said...

Is there a copy of your CSC paper to be had, now that you've presented?

Stephanie said...

Not yet. I backed myself into a corner on time and wrote the paper for me to read, but it needs revision and documentation before it's ready for other eyes. I'll let you know when I get it done. I did quote you, though!

Jonathan G. Reinhardt said...

Now I'm excited. Even more than I was already.