Monday, January 2, 2017


Intentional Living

2016 was an incredible year of growth for me. I was tested and stretched in ways I have never been before. I was called to step far out of my comfort zone and never return. There were days, weeks, and even months of turmoil.  There were many days I didn't want to get out of bed at all.

One word stood out to me as I was reflecting on the year: intentional. The trials I faced in 2016 were much easier to bear when I was living intentionally. When I put on the full armor of God and fought the battles I needed to fight, I came out ahead. When I wanted to crawl into a cave and hide, my circumstances only got harder.

I know God is calling me to something bigger, and if I am going to live this life He intends for me, I need to be intentional. My word for 2017 is intentional, and God has placed these eight areas on my heart.  

Intentional in the Word:  I noticed that during the my trying times last year I woke up early and immersed myself in God's Word.  I read the Bible, prayed, listened to worship music, and read some more.  During the easier times I let myself slack on my morning quiet time.  I don't want to wait for difficulties to arise to remember my need for time with the Lord.

Psalm 25:4 - Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.

Intentional with my time:  Time is precious, and I'm sure everyone reading this can agree that it is limited.  I love this quote from Rick Warren:  “Time is your most precious gift, because you only have a set amount of it.”  I want to make conscious decisions about how I spend my time, and I want to concentrate on areas of value.

Ephesians 5:15-17 - 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.

Intentional in my thoughts:  One of the most effective tools when I'm struggling with anxiety and depression is redirecting my thoughts.  When I dwell on the Lord and His ways I have less room to think about myself and my struggles.

Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Intentional in my relationships:  I often feel pulled in many directions.  Sometimes I let my family and those I love most get what is leftover of my attention and energy.  I need to be less selfish with my time and focus more on the needs of others.

Romans 12:10 - Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Intentional with my spending:  My husband and I have goals, and they aren't going to be met with mindless spending.  

Matthew 6:19-21 - Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Intentional with my words:  It's easy to get caught up in complaining or pointless chatter.  My love language is words of affirmation, and I know firsthand how powerful words can be.  I pray that the words I choose uplift those around me.

Ephesians 4:29 - Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Intentional in my habits:  Yesterday I set my fitness and health goals for the year, and in order to achieve them I need to be intentional in my habits.  I am a night owl, and I tend to stay up late without even realizing it.  If I am deliberate in getting more sleep I will be better equipped in all areas.  I'll be able to wake up earlier for time with God, I'll have enough energy to make my loved ones a priority, and so on.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 - Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Intentional in prayer:  You'll notice that the first and last items on my list go hand in hand.  That's because above all, I want to be more intentional in living for the Lord.  I know that as I focus on Him and His purposes the rest will fall into place.

Ephesians 6:18 - And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

More than New Year's resolutions

Please know that I am not striving for perfection.  This is a pretty big list.  I'm not setting some well meaning resolutions just to abandon them a week or two later and go back to my normal routine.  These are lifelong habits that I hope to create, and even if baby steps are all I make, at least they will be baby steps in the right direction.  My desire is to live intentionally and not just wing it.

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