New Year’s week finds most of us reflecting on the past year and planning for the new year. In the past I have never felt let to choose a word for the year. This year, however, as I remembered 2015 and began to plan 2016 I was repeatedly impressed with the same word–INTENTIONAL. I felt led to live and act intentionally this year.
What does it mean to live intentionally? It means to do what I do on purpose. It means to have a plan that has been thought out and prayed over, and to act according to that plan in order to reach the chosen destination. It means to thoughtfully respond to situations and people in a way that reflects that life plan rather than to react out of emotion.
At midnight last night, 2015 ended. We bid it farewell and hopefully that means we also bid farewell to our fears from 2015; we bid farewell to the disappointments and the feelings of failure over unfulfilled goals and unfulfilled dreams; we bid farewell to disappointment in ourselves, disappointment in our lives, disappointment in those around us.
And at 12:01 AM when we greeted 2016, we started with a clean slate, a fresh paper. I don’t know about anyone else but for me there is nothing quite like opening a brand new tablet or notebook or package of paper, feeling that fresh crispness and taking pen in hand and starting to write something new, something fresh. That is the opportunity we were given as midnight passed last night. It is the opportunity to greet new dreams, new goals. Maybe revive and rejuvenate forgotten dreams and goals. It was time to be realistic but, at the same time, to put in place a deliberate plan to stretch ourselves beyond what we have ever accomplished in the past. It is time to put into place an intentional plan of action. This is the year to become the person God didn’t just call you to be but God designed you to be.
Living intentionally means reaching beyond myself and looking beyond my little circle of friends, acquaintances, and contacts. It is being willing to follow God’s plan and God’s path to impact those that are in my world and may yet enter my world. It is seeing each encounter as an appointment, not an appointment to skip or slough off but an appointment to embrace and appointment to grow through.
So will you choose to live intentionally this year? I loved the list on Ann Voskamp’s blog A Holy Experience that is head with “I Purpose to…” and then lists action verbs with a blank to fill in with what we purpose, intentionally determine to accomplish this year. It was a great tool to help shape my plan for 2016.
I want to be intentional. I want to live each moment as precious. I want to use each moment for a purpose.
Does that mean I need to be going constantly, going 24/7? Definitely not, because sometimes the purpose is rest, the purpose is to learn, the purpose is to renew. Those are often things that don’t get done through physical action but rather they are done through mental and emotional action. They are done by going back through the plan and making revisions to fit the twists and turns that we encountered. But it is important to know whether it be physical action, mental action, or emotional action, the key is to act, to be deliberate, to be intentional with each thought, with each actions, with each emotion in order to accomplish the plan which God gifted you with for this year.
Maybe you have unsuccessfully planned in the past. You need to recognize and acknowledge that those other plans are in the past, failure is in the past. A popular statement heard when addressing goal setting is “Your past does not determine your future.” Those words contain so much truth. What’s past is past, leave it there. Every day that you wake up, you are gifted with a new opportunity to do: to choose deliberately and intentionally to do. Make this year, a year of intentional decisions, intentional actions, intentional connections, and possibly even an intentional walking away.
Listen to God’s voice as he directs you, and choose intentionally to listen and to follow his course, to accomplish his plan for this year.
Sharing my heart,