May 11, 2011

Living Intentionally, Gordon and Gail MacDonald

Part 1 of 2 about Living Intentionally
Although I've never met them, Gordon and Gail MacDonald have become my mentors, my life coaches, my favorite role models.  I keep in touch with them via my iPod from their visits to  Midday Connection and, of course, I love Gordon's books.  Gordon.  See?  We're on a first name basis, I mean who wouldn't be when someone is whispering in your ear on long, private car rides, right?  Whispering words of wisdom.

At 60 mph down the empty country highway, I was devouring this program when suddenly something Gail said was so resonant with me, I almost careened off the pavement. I figured I should share it with you, many of you may find it familiar....

First, a little background.  Living Intentionally stems from Resolves that we as Christians should implement in our lives, sort of a focus or direction to our lives.  Not a bunch of rules, but intentions to be applied in the "nooks and crannies of each day," a "shape of commitment, a sense of direction that we want life to go in because we feel Jesus is leading us in that direction."  Important especially for Christians because these set forth the uniqueness of the quality of the Christian life and ward off the dangers of following a religion of words. The MacDonalds had been discussing how we commit to these Resolves in practical ways.

And that's when Gail spoke up loud and clear right there in my mini ear bud.
"We don't live with this kind of intention because we don't have time to maintain commitments today, we're too busy communicating with people.  There's no time for the quiet - even to ask 'did I maintain these , even three of these resolves today?'"
She nailed it.  She hit the exact unidentified issue over which I had been wrestling.  Communication has become so rampant, I find little or no time for reflection or intention.  With Face Book, Linkd-In, Twitter, text messages, voice-mail, instant chat, email and cell phones, I've allowed a huge number of people the ability to cast information in my path all day long.  And most of them require an immediate response, even if its only to turn off the message alert. 

I'm reactive by nature and that makes it worse.  Someone communicates in one of these ways and I feel the urgency to respond immediately.  I often stop doing what I intended to do and redirect to the next project or request.  And if I don't, the communicator often will complain about it.  "You didn't answer your phone!"  "You didn't respond to my email!"  Accusations, or as Thoreau says, "words that are thrown forcibly against us and adhere like burrs."  Nasty things.

I love the technology of instant communication, I do.  I don't love the power it has to derail a train.  And with a reactive personality such as mine, I don't like how it derails intention.  I can fall into bed at night and just then realize I neglected the most important thing, or the second or third most important thing that day.

Before finishing this series on Living Intentionally, the first thing I must address is moderating my reaction to the inflow of information.  I'm so thankful that Gail brought this up.  She hit the nail on the head for me, you too?

My second post on Living Intentionally will contain more from the MacDonalds and less from me, I promise.

Living Intentionally, Part One
Living Intentionally, Part Two
By Gordon MacDonald:  A Resilient Life   Ordering Your Private World

No comments: