Intentional Living When Life is Hard

Intentional Living

I could swear that when I try to make plans and set goals that God laughs.

As 2013 came to a close I read a few time management books and resolved that 2014 would be the year that I blogged intentionally and started a VA business. I planned to devote daily time to gentle exercise like yoga and walking. I started Whole30.

January began and I got sick with one of those nameless viral plagues that makes you feel like crap all over. I had it for a week. It went a way for a few days, came back and didn’t go away. Sore throat, extreme fatigue, muscle aches, GI woes. I told my allergist who is also an immunologist what was going on and he ordered a battery of tests.

A few days after my labs I learned that I have mononucleosis in addition to a sputtering thyroid. Plus I have to follow up with a nephrologist. I’m hoping it’s just my bad habit of not drinking enough water screwing up the readings.

The familiar fog of depression began to envelope me. With so much time sitting in bed it’s easier to start meditating on family issues that concern me and let fear crowd in. How do I live intentionally when life is hard and doesn’t run according to my plans and schedules? Should I not even bother with them?

Here is a lesson I learned last week about intentional living.

Intentional living starts with making time for God’s Word first. Without Him, I can do nothing. “Seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and ALL these things shall be added unto you.” I’ve been a Christian since 1988 and still have not read the Bible all the way through. I’m sure I’ve read most of it but admittedly there are parts of the Old Testament that make my eyes glaze over and I stop reading.

“I could only write worthwhile content when I walked with God, listened to God, and knew God intentionally. If anything I wrote was going to be of use to another person, it was because God spoke to me about it first.”  — Tricia Goyer, Balanced, Finding Center as a Work-At-Home Mom.

This week I had the grand idea of finding a reading plan that was just one book at a time (Discipleship Journal’s Book at a time on YouVersion) and listening to it on audio at the same time as I read to keep my mind focused. I was excited to find out that Max MacLean reads the King James version. I would not have picked that version on my own but his reading really brings it to life.

I’m not feeling awful all the time. The nausea and brain fog seem to set in during the afternoon so I can still find moments to write and read the Bible and some learning materials. I just have to redeem the good moments to read constructively, find time for some movement (yoga is good for lymph glands) and cook so that I have what I need available during those times I don’t have the energy to cook.

I know this will (hopefully) pass. I’ve heard stories about mono taking as long as eight months to go away. That’s pretty depressing to think about. I’m doing every natural health protocol I can find and I’m thinking about visiting a twelve step meeting. But no matter what I can or can’t do, I can redeem the time with intentional living, even when I’m housebound and stuck in bed. 

“In fact, I’m quite certain that before God can ever bless a woman — and use her to impact many — He uses the hammer, the file, and the furnace to do a holy work.” — Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss, Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska


  1. Love this post. I’ve struggled recently too after several really good weeks in January with goals and such.

  2. Wow, you are going through some fire. You know, so many of the world’s best authors were ill as children and got more time to lie in bed and read? Maybe God is giving you that learning time? Hope you recover fast!
    Visiting from SITS,
    Marie @ In Our Happy Place
    marie recently posted…pink ladyMy Profile

    • Suncoast Momma says:

      I’m trying to hold that thought. I think I read that the missionary Amy Carmichael was bedridden the last 20 years of her life and she produced so many books. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Suncoast Momma says:

    I’m it encouraged you. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I can relate to this on many levels. As a mom to three young kids it’s easy to get lost in our busy lives, but remembering to live with intention for myself and my kids even when we are faced with struggles is so important. Thanks for sharing. Stopping by to say hi from SITS Girls.
    Mariah Leeson (@Giggles_Galore) recently posted…Dealing with the COUGHequences of Cold and Flu SeasonMy Profile

  5. Stopping by from SITS… I recently began listening to the audio on the You app while reading in my Bible, too. I does help me concentrate better. Thanks for the good reminder that about getting in the Word.
    Lisa {Amateur Nester} recently posted…On the Journey With…KatieMy Profile

  6. I am sorry you are not feeling well. You are so right about making plans. Sometimes things out of our control just throw our plans out the window. Feel better soon! I am visiting from SITS.
    Marjorie recently posted…What I Ate Wednesday 19 – On Weight WatchersMy Profile

  7. I’m so sorry you’re not feeling well and I hope it passes quickly! This was an excellent post and reminder of things we all need to keep in mind. Thank you. Glad I found you via SITS today. Take care and I hope you feel better soon!
    Marcia @ Blogitudes recently posted…Feature Friday – Feb. 7, 2014My Profile

  8. Sometimes we just got to let go and let God handle things. He never gives us too much we can’t bear. Thanks for sharing!
    Louida recently posted…Jingit – Real Cash in Real Time!My Profile

  9. I am sorry you are not feeling well and have gone through so much. Sounds like you are on a strong path and living intentionally even in moments you may not feel as if you are.
    Marlynn @UrbanBlissLife recently posted…[Travel Bliss] Sonoma, California Wine Country Travel Guide, Part 2: EATMy Profile

  10. This is so great! So many good reminders!
    Ashley recently posted…Expectations. Diamonds. Reality.My Profile

  11. I hate how life gets in the way of goals. Just keeping on trying to do the best you can.
    Meghan @ The Tasty Fork recently posted…Wake Up Wednesdays #23My Profile

  12. I hope you feel better soon! I broke my left big toe on July 1 and spent all summer in a boot and in pain. Not fun! Stopping by from SITS comment love.
    Prof. B.T. Mienoré (Lynda Lippin) recently posted…Another NYC Zombie PrankMy Profile

  13. I hope you’ll feel better soon! I really got in a rut this month too and fell away from my January goals. But I’m determined to salvage the month and get back on track :) Stopping by from SITS :)
    Martha recently posted…Hey, It’s Okay (on Wednesday again…)My Profile

  14. I am sorry your not feeling well. I am sending you good thoughts!! Visiting from SITS.
    Meg Kra recently posted…And It Burns, Burns, Burns, The Ring of Fire, The Ring of Fire – Part 2My Profile

  15. I completely understand what you mean about feeling the fog coming. Stay encouraged and think about what you CAN do to fulfill your word of the year versus thinking about what your illness is preventing (easier said than done, right?!?!) You’re on the right track by intentionally turning to God when things didn’t go the way you expected to start the year!
    Melissa @ A Prudent Life recently posted…Upcycled Herb Garden – My Crafty Spot Contributor PostMy Profile

  16. Great. Post. I, too, made the goal intentionally living this year. I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well! Hang in there!
    Meg recently posted…Perfect MealMy Profile

  17. Thank you for sharing this great post. I’m only beginning my spiritual journey so this is food for thought for me! Mez x SITS
    Mez recently posted…Pantry Play! {2 easy & inexpensive toddler activities}My Profile

  18. Wow I really enjoyed this post ~ it struck a cord with me and reminded me of what my first focus should be. I loved your quote: “Seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and ALL these things shall be added unto you.” Thanks so much for sharing =) SITS sis here! Marcy
    Marcy @ day2day SuperMom recently posted…Thumbprint Family Tree ~ SuperMom MondayMy Profile

  19. I so agree that spending time with God first is so important. I’ve always noticed that I’m much more kinder to my children and even feel more patient when I’ve spent time with Him first.

    Sometimes I’m torn between reading my Bible in the living room where my children can see me (as it’s (reading the Bible 1st thing in the a.m.) a habit I am trying to instill in them as well), and reading it in my room. It helps to have it in my room because I can read it before my day starts. I find sometimes that once I come downstairs, life sometimes takes over and instead of starting my day with God, I end up spending the afternoon with Him instead, and day works so much better for my spirit.

    Visiting from the 100 challenge!
    Clara @A Slice of Homeschool Pie recently posted…Boost Your Blog in 100 Days Challenge by Thaleia Maher (Guest Post)My Profile

  20. I had similar circumstances from 2012 to 2013. I had made my goals for blogging and social media with definitely growth and financial goals right after Christmas 2012. Then I started feeling yucky and thinking I was pregnant. Our 4th child was born August 21, 2013 after what seemed like a never -ending misery of pregnancy. Baby is healthy and I am doing well but my blog was no longer my BIG focus.
    Thaleia (@Something2Offer) recently posted…10 Ways to Use Medicine CupsMy Profile

  21. Wow….definitely some trying times you’re going through. I know God never gives us more than we can handle but….ever think he over estimates you? 😉 I find yoga and meditation really helpful too. And check out some information over potassium iodide supplements. They’ve really helped my under active thyroid and adrenal glandd.

    Honey Rowland recently posted…Grow your blog with the Boost Your Blog in 100 Days ChallengeMy Profile

  22. I could have written a similar post a few weeks ago! Though not dealing with mono, I’ve been dealing with other health issues. I especially loved that last quote about using the hammer, file and the furnace. Oh, so true! But God prunes those He loves. Praying for you today, sweet sister!
    Visiting from #BB100
    Tina recently posted…Boost Your Blog in 100 Days ChallengeMy Profile

  23. You touch on so many points in this post that are weighing on my heart lately…how opportune to have found your blog today! I wish you healing and health and hope that mono doesn’t keep you down for long.

    Cristyl @ CHill Thoughts recently posted…The Trials and Tribulations of the Un-Potty-TrainedMy Profile

  24. I really hope you feel better soon, and not have it last 8 months. What a shame when you have plans to be laid low with your illness. Hopefully, God’s plan has you feeling more like your regular self quickly.
    Debbie :)
    Debbie @Dewdrop Gables recently posted…Lobster Mac and Cheese RecipeMy Profile

  25. Your post really speaks to my heart – thank you! I, too, thought this last school year would be our BEST ONE EVER. Then we all got sick, so we didn’t end up starting until October, and frankly, nothing has gone well since then! I am easily overwhelmed when things don’t go well, and apt to leave the goals behind and muddle through the days. Thank you for your reminder to start each day with the Lord. So simple, and yet I let that slide too. I am going to get back to doing that and I know our days will be so much smoother, even if the plans have to be more fluid than I’d like.
    Beth recently posted…Mark Twain Said…My Profile

  26. I find that it can be extremely difficult to live intentionally when you aren’t feeling well. In December I got strep throat and after that I was repeatedly sick, catching everything for almost two months. I felt horrible every day and had to keep going to school, cleaning, taking care my daughter and it was all very exhausting.

    It’s good to hear you are doing your best to be optimistic and move forward even though you aren’t feeling well. I hope you get better soon!

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