When I introduced my then boyfriend (now husband) to my family, my brother asked John in no uncertain terms- "What are your intentions towards my sister?" Partly he was joking but partly because he truly wanted to know.
I like the word intention- a determination to act in a certain way and intentionality-the fact of being deliberate.
Have you ever thought about your intentions? I like the image of deliberately doing something. The simple definitions for intend are-to plan or have something in mind. It connotes a decision on one's part that only that individual can make. It is the beginning of the process to achieving something. The Olympic athletes are intentional about their workouts. The practices don't just happen willy-nilly. Successful people, whether we are talking "worldly" or "spiritual" success, are intentional about their lifestyle- what they do, with whom they interact, where they spend their time.
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions", is a quote attributed to Samuel Johnson. (There is debate whether or not it is truly his or perhaps Saint Bernard of Clairvaux). The point of the proverb is this- while it is good to have intentions, there needs to be another step in achieving those goals. Or to quote another saying- "just do it". Many of us say we want to do such and such or that we decide this is how we will act, speak, behave, plan, etc. but many times we never proceed with the next step of doing the actual work to achieve it. We then end up living in the hell of disappointment with ourselves. "Why can't I get anything done?", we lament.
Intentionality takes the thought process to another level. Sure we can formulate a plan or goal in our mind. I think of intentionality as the grit and deep down determination that we are going to do it. It is an inner resolve. It is if in our mind's eye when we are intentionally going to do something we become like Scarlet O'Hara at the intermission portion of Gone With The Wind: "As God is my witness, I will never go hungry again."
I was thinking about this word this morning as I was wondering about my own intentions? Not only what do I want to achieve this summer, but am I intentionally doing things, controlling my schedule, choosing activities and work that pushes me along the path of my purpose and plans?
What can I intentionally do today that would move me along my purpose?
One thing about which I need to be intentional is working in community- reaching out to friends, family and neighbors. As I have mentioned before I am basically shy and introverted (Some of you might be surprised by my declaration. Yes, I can certainly meet and greet people and do enjoy people but left to my own devices I am more the observer than the participant) I need to reach out to others in a way that is fitting for my personality (one on one, notes of encouragement, etc.)
I will be intentional:
- Sending encouraging emails or notes to those whose names have been on my heart
- Looking for ways to speak to my neighbors more than the precursory wave
- Treating my writing as a full time job
What about you? What are your intentions? First name them. But then next, how will you go about doing them? What intentional actions can you do? Are there any resolutions in your life that you will, "As God is your witness, never or always do..." What can you do each day to remind yourself of your resolve and intentions? What are you intending to do today?