Intentional (adj.) Done with intention or purpose. Carrying out deliberately.
As I thought about all of the possibilities for my word to live by in the new year, God placed the word intentional on my heart when I came across 1 Timothy 4:15 that says, “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress” (NIV). In my head, I sorted through all of the previous resolutions that I’ve had but didn’t keep because they didn’t mean something to me. For whatever reason, they seemed to slip through the cracks or vanish because I didn’t live with the intent to follow them.
To live intentionally means to carry out every day with purpose and to fill your life with meaning. It suggests being content with minimality, sticking to a routine, and having something that drives you to act. It means focusing on the value of everything you have in your life: the people, experiences, and passions.
Intentional is a word that resonates with me this year. I’ve lived my life according to the plans laid out before me by expectations. I’ve always had a plan for my life, and I stuck to it. It’s how I ended up as a former collegiate athlete, a graduate, a professional, a daughter, sister, etc. Sure, you could say I had a routine and that I was already living intentionally by following the plans that were before me. But I think there’s a difference in living a life that is planned for you by the expectations of the world and living a life that is planned by God’s intentions that truly reflect your purpose for being alive.
I used to fill my days with what I thought were the only ways to succeed in life: studying, softball practice, keeping up with social media, buying things just to say you own them. After twelve years of grade school and four years of undergrad, I have a piece of paper that represents all of my “success”: a diploma. A single document that the world accepts as “preparedness” for the real world. Now that I’m out here in the professional world, I see that there is so much more to life than what the world around me perceives to be success.
Being intentional means cultivating relationships, reflecting on your thoughts and emotions, keeping yourself a priority, and maintaining a healthy balance in life while finding God’s purpose for you. That’s what I want in 2018. A year of intention. A year of collecting experiences rather than materials. A year of using my passions and skills to serve my God.
So often I think we feel as though we fail when we don’t stick to a New Year’s resolution. Our human fear of failure is so overwhelming sometimes that we avoid making resolutions or we think that when we fail them once, we have permission to stop trying to achieve them and just try again next year. But our God is a God of forgiveness and grace. Each day is new in Him, and we can start over with each day. We may lose sight of a goal every once in awhile, but we can pick our heads back up and continue on the path He chose for us because His mercies are new. every. single. day.
So this year, I’m not going to pressure myself into thinking that once I break a resolution, it’s over. I’ll remind myself that perfection is unachievable, no matter what this world tells us. We are to do the best we can, when we can and continue on on our path to achieving everlasting life with Christ. That is the ultimate resolution and success. And all of our New Year’s resolutions should reflect that.
I dare you to live this year intentionally. Live according to God’s plan and desires for your life and not by the expectations of the world. Ask yourself how you define success and then adjust your priorities, routines, and lifestyles according to what you believe is success in God’s eyes. I’m so happy that Neer the Creek is becoming a platform to share God’s presence in my life. I strongly believe this business has a purpose in my life and Andrew’s life, and we are going to live this year intentionally to serve our God by serving you.