No More Auto-Pilot
It was a near miss! A sunny summer afternoon on I-40, my family and I were heading east on vacation. My wife and daughter were whiling away the time, napping, as the radio played softly and I was clicking off the miles toward our destination. Not realizing it, I had succumbed to what has been called highway hypnosis. Also called "white line fever," it is the mental state in which a driver can operate a vehicle for extended distances, responding to external events in the normal, safe and expected manner, without having recollection of doing so. Perhaps you have experienced this...you're driving along on the interstate and suddenly you realize, "I can't remember anything about the last 30 miles I've driven." It's a little unnerving when you recognize it. Most of the time, things are okay, and we don't experience this state for long. On this particular day, however, it didn't take long for the situation to turn critical in a matter or seconds. As I crested a rise in the highway, I suddenly saw the rear of a travel trailer at what appeared to be a dead stop, directly in my lane. Without thought, as a spontaneous response, I swerved the vehicle into an adjacent lane to avoid a collision. Thankfully, there were no other vehicles in the lane beside us, and we avoided a very critical situation. God's angels of protection were on their toes that day!
This is an example of how operating on "auto-pilot" can be a dangerous thing to do. While airliners rely on computer assisted navigation every day with high levels of safety, and we now have self-driving and self-parking cars that amaze us, living our lives on auto-pilot is not the best way to go! At best, it can lead us to undesired circumstances. At worst, it can lead to a crisis. Think about it, regardless of the good that auto-pilot, self-driving cars and artificial intelligence serve, they are limited in their usefulness. At some point, a human must intervene. Otherwise, there is going to be a crash!
In life, it is easy to live on auto-pilot. We've probably all been there. At some point, we look back and ask ourselves, "Where did that time go?" We wonder what happened to all that time...with our education, career, leisure time, family? We can sometimes live life with "highway hypnosis."
Turning off the Auto-Pilot
In contrast, the person who is living a life of purpose, recognizes that we do so by choosing to live life with intentionality. Simply put, the "why" that we are discovering, is informing the "what" of our daily lives so that there is meaning for all that we do. It's almost like a roadmap that helps us navigate our journey...remember the days when we used those? Roadmaps? That was before GPS and smart phone navigation apps. We had to plan out a trip by reading a roadmap and determining the best route to take to our destination. Sometimes, there would be an obstacle or situation that required us to re-route our journey in order to make the best possible time, or avoid unnecessary delays or, even worse, getting lost! Of course that never happened to me. *wink.
When we speak of living with intentionality, we aren't referring to time management. Though that is a worthwhile topic to consider, that is a discussion for another day. Intentionality actually comes out of the uniqueness of our Creator and our design as His creation.
Our Creator is the most intentional being in existence. Think about it, the Scripture tells us that, even before time began, He had a plan that would transcend time (1 Peter 1:10-21), and that plan was blowing the minds of His angelic host (1 Peter 1:12). Consider, for a moment, just a few examples of the intentionality of God:
Intentional in his Creation
So God created man
in his own image;
he created him in the image of God;
he created them male and female.
God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth. Genesis 1:27-28
Intentional in His Plans
For I know the plans I have for you" --this is the Lord's declaration-- "plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Intentional in His Timing
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law. Galatians 4:4
Intentional in His Sacrificial Gift
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10
Like Father; Like Child
We are unique, in that, we are created in the image of God. No other member of God's creation can claim that distinction. He invites us into relationship with himself, through his Son, Jesus Christ. In so doing, out of that relationship, comes our opportunity to live with intentionality like our Creator. Intentionality is essential to the understanding and pursuit of our purpose. The greatest expression of ourselves and, in turn, expression of God's glory, is to reflect the Father's intentionality. It brings us fulfillment, peace, joy and, most of all, brings the presence of God to a world that desperately needs Him. I love what the Apostle Peter wrote:
Since we are approaching the end of all things, be intentional, purposeful, and self-controlled so that you can be given to prayer. 1 Peter 4:7
He places an urgency on our calling to be intentional and purposeful. It seems to say that we don't have time to waste. We can't afford to live on auto-pilot...risking white line fever. The time is now...to care about how we live, to prayerfully pursue our purpose and to make a difference in the lives of others. The Apostle Paul put it this way:
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 4:15-17
In other words...
It matters that you choose to live your life intentionally.
Make the most of your time.
Make an impact on others as a result.
We always ask, what does it mean for me? What does it mean to live my life with intentionality? The answer to that question is as unique as you are. But there are three things that will help you figure it out.
Think Intentionally - develop the mindset that daily values and seeks to know why you are here on this earth.
Plan Intentionally - make your plans in the context of understanding your purpose and filtering them through the truth of God's Word and the leadership of His Spirit (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Act Intentionally - Ask yourself, "Is what I am doing, fulfilling God's purpose in me?" (Micah 6:8)
What is one thing you will do intentionally this week to pursue your purpose and make a difference in our world?
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With over forty years of ministry experience, Randy Kinnick continues to live a life of pursuing the purpose for which he was created. Whether teaching God's Word to adults, coaching youth and young adults in finding their purpose, or caring for the hurting and abused in Southeast Asia, the adventure has taken him around the world in ways he could have never dreamed. The adventure continues!