How are we past the first two weeks of 2021 already? No one wants to talk about 2020, but we aren’t making this all Harry Potter and treating 2020 like the-year-which-cannot-be-named! Nope 2020 happened, its done over and 2021 should signal new beginnings. But, if we are honest with ourselves I’m sure most of us did not greet 2021 with open arms, seeing that we are still in a pandemic, people are still sick from covid or other ailments and we are all most stick locked inside our four walls.
But I am trying to remain positive, despite not having been back to the UK in almost a year now and with no end in sight to when I’ll travel back to see family. I’m a family girl. Home body and although I’m trying to make my new friends my family (the ones you choose for yourself right), like with adulting in general…its slow and steady.
So last year my word was TRUST and this year is sort of a two in one kind of a deal – INTENTIONAL GROWTH. I prayed and God was like well you cannot have growth if you are not intentional in that growth. I was like WOW GOD! This is so true. We cannot grow if we are not intentional in the steps we take towards our growth.
What is intentionality?
Intentionality is primarily ascribed to mental states, like perceptions, beliefs or desires, which is why it has been regarded as the characteristic mark of the mental by many philosophers.
It is literally our perception of thoughts and beliefs and seeking to live a way that aligns with our beliefs and goals.
It’s about taking a standing up for what you believe in and pursuing a life that adheres to those set beliefs and choices. Such as, being accountable for yourself, taking leadership of your life and owning if, rather than moving form thing to thing in a hazy dream like state and it ultimately requires you to let go of the belief that you are the sum of your circumstances or that you’re a victim in the discontented seasons and turbulent paths of life.
Biblical verses on intentionality
- Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. – Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV
- Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! –1 Chronicles 16:11 ESV
- And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28 ESV
- The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. –Proverbs 13:4 ESV
In 2021 I want to intentionally grow in
- PRAYER – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)
- BIBLE STUDY – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16)
- SEEKING AND LIVING IN GOD’S PURPOSE – The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (Isaiah 61:1)
- FITNESS AND WELLNESS -Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
- WRITING/BLOGGING – “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. (Luke 8:16)
Tips for living intentionally
1. Seek God and read His word
God desires an intimate relationship with us. However, we are sinful in nature and are separated from him. It is only through the sacrifice of Jesus and the repentance of our sins that we can connect with God. (John 10:10).
2 Timothy 3:16-17 states, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” and in Romans 12:2 we are commanded, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
It is in the practice of daily reading God’s word, prayer, worship and being involved in a community of believers that we begin to draw nearer to God on a more intimate level.
God breathed life into his word: the BIBLE. Which I always remember my youth worker telling me was our Basic.Instructions.Before.Leaving.Earth!
Since you’re designing your life together with God, you need to know His character, His promises, and His plans. If we aren’t reading the bible, how are we to know what to do and how God wants us to live?
2. Set clear Goals
Most people think you should have a clear set of goals before, so you know what to take to God. I disagree. Seeking God is, was and always should be your first port of call. The goals we set for ourselves can often be very worldly and it is important as Christians to remember any goal set should please God and advance his kingdom. That’s not to say you cannot have a goal to keep fit, read 100 books in 1 year etc but that BIG BIG goals should be Kingdom blessings. Make sure you have both!
Also, it is important to remember your goal needs to be clear if not concise. Instead of ”I want to do ore bible study” Think: I will set my alarm for 6am and spend an hour reading the word before work”. That way you’ll have a set goal and how you’ll aim to achieve it.
3. Take action
James 2:14 says, ”Faith without works is dead.” How can we have faith in reaching the goals set by ourselves in, through and for God if we don’t take active steps to achieve those goals? If I want to get fitter, remembering that ”my body is a vessel” (Romans 12:1-2), then I need to be active in how I keep my body in shape. For me that looks like waking up early getting a workout done, planning and prepping my meals in order to consistently eat right and healthy, checking weekly with my PT = DISCIPLINE and ACCOUNTABILITY.
Find what works for you and try to stick to it! Is it a coincidence that scientists and researchers say it takes 66 days to form a habit and there are 66 books in the Bible? Methinks, not so much.
What are your thought patterns? Do you have a defeatist attitude? I know sometimes I do. I can be all consumed by negative thought patterns and it only takes one for the devil to then get a STRONG HOLD in my mind and tell me I cannot do the things I’m striving to do.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
You can use this scripture as a comparison exercise. If the words your are thinking or speaking over yourself – e.g. ”I’m stupid”, ”I cannot do this”, ”I’m not loved”, do not align with God’s word ”You are the daughter of a king” , ”you are smart”, ”you were created on and with purpose” then they are limiting you from keeping to step with God’s promises, providence and purpose in your life.
The end goal is fulfilling your purpose and advancing the kingdom of God. YOU MATTER! What you do matters.
Yes. There are a whole lot of R’s going on there, but all are vital to seeing growth in your plans, God’s plan and advancing within yourself, your character and your God given plan.
Consistently stop and ask yourself the following:
- Is this what God wants for my life?
- How’s have I progresses within the goals I set myself?
- What have I been able to accomplish so far? -Write it down visualised accomplishments help when negative thinking ensues.
- What have been some of the most powerful learning moments so far? How can I use these to progress further?
- If I were setting goals today, would I choose this goal again? If the answer is NO, don’t’ keep it for this season. Not everything is for you!
Once you’ve spent time quieting your mind and seeking God in prayer, it’s up to you to purposefully continue pursuing your goals or cast aside the ones that are truthfully no longer serving you.
You’ll notice these 5 things when you start living intentionally…
- You’ll become a servant longing for more of God’s word
- You’ll create goals that align with your beliefs and God’s purpose
- You’ll begin waking up on purpose to live on purpose -bye bye procrastination
- You’ll become self-aware – think self-care
- You’ll be able to confidently choose all of your life – be content with where you are at, even in the middle of the mess
Remember: Perfection does not exist. Living intentionally does not a perfect person make. It’s about committing to choosing yourself daily and seeking to walk in God’s purpose for your life.
What are your hopes for this year? Do you have goals set for yourself? How do you intend to reach them? Leave your thoughts below.