“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Intentional: done in a way that is planned or intended (merriam-webster.com)
This word has been haunting me for the past several weeks and last night I woke up with the phrase “Be intentional” impressed on my heart. Since I am an accomplished procrastinator and life floater I know this wasn’t from me. Prior to its haunting, the word first came to me in May while attending Sean’s college graduation. I was talking to another mom who shared how she purposed to have a conversation with her son. In essence, she gave him permission to move on, letting go of the parent-child relationship and freeing him emotionally to leave and cleave. I said, “You are so intentional in your parenting.” to which she replied, “I try to be.”
The next morning at breakfast while talking about books, our son, Sean, said , “I like to finish stuff.” He shared that whatever he starts, even if it’s not extremely enjoyable, he likes to see it to completion. Between the two conversations I was convicted. If I were to write a parenting book it could be titled Wing It or Raised by Grace. (Maybe I will write the second one because it does sum up how my kids were raised!) The opposite of intentional, my conversations with Sean and Ryan were usually spontaneous and even compulsive. If you were to ask them (embarrassing) they would probably say I preached or lectured more than listened with intentionality. And, as far as finishing stuff, let’s just say Sean didn’t get that trait from me. It dawned on me that God is intentional. He planned everything from the beginning and is very intentional about following it all through to completion! Thank God that He is not like me or many of us would be sitting on a shelf only half completed!
Unfortunately, not finishing projects is an old pattern in my life. Usually, I feel like whatever I’m working on isn’t good enough to complete, and there is some merit to knowing when to cut your losses. However, because I have allowed distraction to steal my minutes, most of the time my inability to complete something has more to do with not being intentional. In reality, not planning and not being disciplined enough to eliminate distractions and set goals has been a safety net to avoid failure. However, it also allows for the enemy to steal blessing and steal the joy that comes from doing things well for God’s glory.
For example, while cleaning out some drawers recently I found photos and a blank photo album intended for Sean’s high school graduation memories. The 2012 ribbon was still there, neatly rolled up with the extra pages I knew I would need to finish the project. I had good intentions but I was not intentional. Things happened, time went on and I put everything away in a drawer (probably because company was coming) and forgot to “finish stuff.” I missed the blessing of being creative and Sean missed out on the joy of knowing I cared enough to intentionally create something meaningful for him. And, of course, most importantly, it was a way to reflect God’s intentional love for His child. I want to relinquish this pattern. Perhaps it’s time to allow God to change me into something more Christlike; something less chaotic and more…finished.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love. He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will…” Ephesians 1:3-5