Book Review: *Pursue the Intentional Life*

I’ve never really thought much about the question:

“What kind of old woman will I be?”

Well…actually, I’ve thought quite a bit about it.  I’ve always envisioned myself as a gray-headed, cookie-baking, apron-wearing, sock-knitting, rocking chair-sitting grandmother who now has all kinds of time to give to her grandchildren and to other children who need some extra attention.  Yes, that’s the picture I have of myself at 70.  But, in reality, I was missing the true question.  What kind of old woman will I really be?  And in Jean Fleming’s book, Pursue the Intentional Life, I was faced head on with the question like never before.  

pursue the life

Let me just start by saying that this is one of those few books that I can say truly gave me something to chew on for a life time.  I like to read, and a lot of books are great for the moment I’m in but I’m not likely to remember anything from them long-term.  My memory tends to be fleeting these days.  This book is different.  This book encouraged me to live every day intentionally, always thinking about my purpose in life, to glorify God in everything that I do-to use every day wisely.

I am only 30 years old.  To many, that is so young.  To some, it’s so old (ask my kids).  But, even in my early thirties, I’m already noticing that my eye shadow doesn’t spread smoothly across my eyelids anymore.  My son is constantly reminding me of how the veins on my hands are bulging more with each passing day, and it’s only a matter of time before gray hairs begin sprouting on top of my head.  I’m not complaining.  I’m one of those people who view gray hair as a crown of wisdom. I’m looking forward to my first gray hairs.  However, it is sobering for me to think that every day, my time grows shorter to glorify God here on Earth, to make a difference with my life that points more people to Christ.  

Here is an excerpt of one of Fleming’s thought-provoking points:

Have you noticed that the flaws and weaknesses of a forty-year-old concentrate with age?  A complainer at forty will, with much practice, engrave the response in his or her bones by seventy.  Self-centeredness will intensify.  Bitterness, allowed to take root and grow over decades, engulfs and consumes in advanced age.  Anyone living a frittering existence at thirty will, apart from a serious course correction, end up frittering away an entire life.  

Ouch.  

The truth is that everyone, regardless of age, is already setting patterns for the shape of his or her life.  These patterns of thought and practice will either serve the glory and purposes of God or hinder them.

Thankfully, Jean Fleming is not one who simply leaves us with these thoughts.  In Pursue the Intentional Life, she really guides us through self-examination and more importantly, relying on the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the hidden places of our hearts.  

An unexamined life surely leads to unnecessary regrets, especially at the end of life.

I also loved the way that Fleming looked at the future.  Here are a couple of my favorite excerpts:

What does it look like to live a beautiful life in a fallen world?  How can I prepare my heart and mind for the challenges, opportunities, and transitions that will come?  What does it look like to live Christ to the very end?

In addition to these thoughts, Fleming also looks at sufferings in the Christian life, transitions, numbering our days….

The truth is, that I could go on and on about all the things I loved about this book, but I would end up pretty much copying the book into a blog post.  This is a book that has had a lasting impact on me.  I think about Jean Fleming’s words almost daily.  And, because of that, I think about living more intentionally for the glory of God every day.  I think about how my habits and weakness will intensify with time, so now, I pray daily that God will show me these so that the Holy Spirit can help me overcome these areas of struggle.  In the past few months, since reading this book, I feel as though God has performed open heart surgery on me.  There’s a lot left to go, but I am so thankful for every step in the right direction.  It is my desire to live with eternity in mind.  I highly recommend this book.  If you’re like me, it will change the way you think about your life an your remaining years in the very best way.  

 

{Just so you know, I don’t have any affiliate agreements.  That means that I don’t make any money or get any benefits from recommending this book.  I am truly recommending it solely based on the fact that it has been so beneficial to me.}

 

 

 

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