Milk and Honey Magazine discusses the difference between dreaming and living with intention. Following your dreams is great when you're actually making an effort. Lovely ladies: let's make the most of these lives/bodies Jesus has given us!

Dreams < Intentions

Lindsay Knapp

Confession: I have an aversion to the word "dream."

The word itself makes me hum. Without fail, it bleeds into lyrics from Disney's Cinderella"A dream is a wish your heart makes, ..... wheeeen you're fast asleeeep. No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing - the dream that you wishhhh, will come truuuuuue."

Thanks, Cinderella. If you need me I'll be sleeping. I've got some fat mice pinching out this article for me.

While I can appreciate the sentiment - the idea of hoping for it hard enough, and it'll come to pass, has convoluted my thinking into sheer passivity at times. And I've not found myself any closer to where I imagined my life to be than yesterday.

If a dream is a wish your heart makes while you're dead asleep - then what is the rest of life meant to be? For some, no doubt, it feels like the cinders of Ella's fire-place; something second hand. Living a life below par. And dreaming doesn't seem to change the day to day reality of cellphone overages, broken dishwashers, ketchup and crying babies. No, "dream" is a word I reserve for the unfathomable, wishful notions or prophetic insight. Something that is just out of grasp.

Now, INTENTION. THAT is a word I can wrap my knuckles around tightly. If dreaming is powerful in sleep mode, then intention is the waking up of life. Intention is a 9-volt battery, a double espresso. It fuels motivation and syphons action from our lives. It's a word that resounds from bell towers with purpose. Example: "he pushed her intentionally." On purpose. Thought through and with deliberation.  

We too quickly assume there are people who are "living a dream" when, in fact, they have actually unlocked the key of intentional living.

So, the question remains for many of us who are hauling cinders and singing to bluebirds: how do we move from a passive place of hoping for life to change into actual movement propelled by intention?

In this article, we will scratch the surface of one way to start living with intention. You can drive this as deep or bask as shallow as you desire. The goal is: thought provokes action; let's dig! The most important starting place is right behind your eyeballs.

✧ Know Yourself

"Knowing yourself" is such a wonky term these days. I'll tell you what it isn't: it's not an invitation to exit society and sit on a pole for a year. Simply stated - it is the understanding of how you tick in life, and it is an absolute must. Have you ever noticed how so many of the "question words" bleed into each other annoyingly? The "WHAT" doesn't work without the "WHO" and the "WHY" and the "HOW."

In this case, you need the "WHO" before you get to the "WHAT."

Who are you? What are you meant to do? Basic, fundamental questions of existence need to be broken down in order to build intention which leads to fulfillment. And here's the kicker - average people are just that: average. And they've worked hard to become that! We lop off the things that make us different and unique to fit into a societal frame. In short, we begin to live from expectations that we suppose are on us. Enter stage left - "THE POWER OF QUESTIONS."

Asking yourself real-time questions is one of the best ways to create a sorting box for your passions, strengths, weaknesses, and disdains. But the power of the question only holds as much potency as the level of HONESTY that it is met with. Honesty with self is the beginning of shaving off internal and external expectations that have stifled our individual gifts and human contributions.

When we are willing to ask ourselves questions and prepare to give the most complete, present, honest answers - we are daring to return to who we are, in all our individuality. Do not pretend to be good at something to impress others. And don't downplay what you're good at to protect others from feeling insecure. Don't answer questions through the filter of what you want your boyfriend to think of your answer. Don't avoid ugly answers or answers which seem to reflect weakness. Don't overcook your thoughts. Just. Answer.  

Part I is designed to foster conclusive answers which can really only come when you are given to the privacy needed to release expectations and draw on something genuinely innate to who you are. In short - get alone.  

Part II is designed to be an ongoing dialogue or observation deck you keep when interacting with other people, nature, traffic, stress .... life. Both are tools to help you know yourself. You need to know what you're good at. You need to know the value of your contribution!

✧ Part I

Sit in your favorite part of your home with a cup of coffee, or take yourself on a date. Plan for 30 mins. Pull out a journal and your favorite pen. And commit to yourself you are going to tell the truth.  

Throw first-thought answers down on the page and don't skip ahead:

  1. What makes me come alive? What ignites me emotionally? If I had 1 more hour in the day what would I WANT to spend it doing? What am I curious about? (these questions are all in essence hitting on the same thing - but phrased differently to pick up different angles)
  2. When was the last time I cried? Why?
  3. What makes me genuinely laugh?
  4. What infuriates me? When was the last time I experienced "fight or flight" response and which one did I choose? What was the last terrible dream I had?  
  5. Who inspires me? If I could surround myself with only 5 people, who would they be? Why?


- Make mental notes of when you feel frustrated when interacting with others. Don't do anything about it. Just note it. And ask yourself WHY. Write it down.

- Make mental notes of when you feel joyful when interacting with others. Make note of it. Ask WHY. Write it down.

- Sit on a park bench for 15-20 mins in observation mode. Write down your observations. Are you cold? Annoyed? What captivates your attention? (ie: her dress, the song of the bird, a baby throwing a tantrum)

After you complete this exercise, leave a comment below. I'd love to know if these helped give you a start to knowing yourself: the one companion who is going with you on your journey.  She’s worth knowing. She’s worth understanding. And when you get to know her, you will start to understand what makes her tick and how she finds her stride; what she brings to the table, and what she off-loads to some other beautiful person who is created uniquely in their own set of gifts.  

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14