As 2019 begins, many will make resolutions and plans for the year. A few years ago, I was challenged to choose one word that would be set my vision for the year. That year my word was “dream.” I had forgotten what it was to have dreams. I had become accustomed to just getting by: one day at a time. I recognized that I needed to dream again. I needed to set my sights on something new and better in my life.
This year, I have two words. The first word is “Hope”. Hope was the word given to me when I took a “Word of the Year” quiz. I can always use hope. The other word came to be a bit more subtly. During my quiet time, I heard this word whispered into my heart: “intention”. So, in 2019 I will focus on living my life with hope and intention. How do I accomplish this?
First, I wanted to know what these two words mean. I found that they are very similar.
a determination to act in a certain way : resolve
aim, ambition, aspiration, design, dream, end, goal, idea, ideal, intent, mark, meaning, object, objective, plan, point, pretension, purpose, target, thing
a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
Aspiration, desire, wish, expectation, ambition, aim goal, plan, design
What does it mean live a life of intention and hope? Is it just setting goals or objectives and wishing it all goes well? Choosing a word (or words) each is year is different from resolutions. Resolutions seldom work because they are based on the type of person I’m tired of being. I focus on the negative and are expected to be “broken”. Instead, I want to focus on the person that God wants me to become: the transformation process.
A wise friend of mine has pointed out that a person’s focus can be found by reviewing their calendar and checkbook. We spend our time and money in the areas that are the most important to us. I don’t hesitate to keep my business appointments in my Outlook calendar. I have all kinds of bells and whistles to remind me when to pay bills, when to get up, when to take medications, when appointments are scheduled. So, why don’t I use these same reminders for my personal life? If I intend to spend more time in Bible Study, I should block out that time in my calendar instead of saying I want to “read the Bible more”.
Because I want to be intentional about how I spend my time, I need to be aware of my time, also. Much as I have to plan how to spend or same my money, I need to do the same with my time. I already know how much time I spend commuting to and from work, the hours that I am in the office and how much sleep I need. I also know my basic commitments for church and life group. That’s where my calendar begins. I also know that I NEED to spend time with my husband and my children as well as friends. It’s all too easy to say “we should get together” and never actually do it. Scheduling a date night with my spouse is an easy way to be sure we get some quality time together. Instead of waiting for one of the kids to call me or drop by, need to put some time in my calendar to check in with each of them. If I am intentional about spending time with my children every month, I will set appointments with each of them throughout the month. It doesn’t have to be a huge event, but I MUST decide to schedule and follow up on these times. The same thing goes for friends. I need to spend time with friends to keep me grounded. Finding a convenient time for both of you may take some work, but the effort is priceless.
While I’m being intentional with my time, I need to schedule time to refill my own reserve. It’s not only okay to take some alone time, it’s important to do so. I need to block off time each week for my “creative” side to emerge. I need to release myself to create. As a student, I spent a lot of time practicing my music. As an adult, I have been known to think of that time as a “waste”. But, I’ve learned that I need that time.
Does every moment have to be scheduled and every dollar earmarked? No, definitely not. I want to be intentional with my life, not controlling of every aspect. There is also value in being spontaneous, flexible and generous. Calendars or the budgets should never be your master, just helpful tools to guide you. When 2020 arrives, I want to look back at 2019 and not wonder where I spent my time and money. I want to know that I invested wisely in the lives of my family and other around me.
So, the challenge for this year: Be Intentional with Hope. Don’t sulk because you haven’t received a phone call from a loved one: CALL THEM FIRST. Don’t wait for friends or family to suggest a visit: INITIATE THE SCHEDULE. Stop with the passive/aggressive comments and just reach out to the ones you want to be near. Life is too short. Make the trip. Spend the time. Be intentional in 2019.
Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.
Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.
Ephesians 5: 11-17 MSG