Life gets busy. Schedules fill up. Before you know it, you’ve got too much on your plate and you’ve deviated from your goals. But there is grace! And there is always the opportunity to be intentional.
“So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands.” (2 Corinthians 8:10-12 MSG)
Paul wrote this passage in the context of giving financially to the church, but I think we can apply the principles to the rest of our lives!
1) Finish what you start
2) Guard your heart (make sure it’s in the right place)
3) Do what you can, not what you can’t
I’m reading the Bible in 90 days for our Women’s Bible Study group. I’m so glad that other members of the church have jumped on board – including my husband! Instead of watching TV or a movie after the kids go to bed, we’re reading our bibles together. It is amazing what happens when you prioritize God and His Word! I also feel like I have more time in my day because I’m putting God first. I’m looking for moments throughout my day to be intentional, instead of wasting them and giving way to laziness. I want to finish what I start, make sure my heart is in the right place, and do what I can (not what I can’t)! Even with spending an hour of reading my bible daily, I’ve found that I have more time to do other things – read books, exercise, knit, spend quality time with my husband and kids, keep up with chores, etc.
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matthew 6:30-33 MSG)
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33 NIV)
When I’m intentional with the 24 hours I have in my day, and when I prioritize God and the things He has placed in my hands, I don’t have to worry about tomorrow or next week. God wants us to seek Him first – then everything else will fall into place.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV)
“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” GOD ’s Decree. (Jeremiah 29:13 MSG)
What can I do today to put God first? How can I seek Him with all my heart? Not just to mark off a checklist, but to have my soul filled with His love, leaving no room for disappointment or worry to enter in. Psalm 117:1-2 in The Message says, “Praise GOD, everybody! Applaud GOD, all people! His love has taken over our lives; GOD ’s faithful ways are eternal. Hallelujah!” I want His love to take over my life! And I want to remember always that His ways are faithful and eternal.
“Know this with all your heart, with everything in you, that not one detail has failed of all the good things GOD, your God, promised you. It has all happened. Nothing’s left undone—not so much as a word.” (Joshua 23:14 MSG)
I love this encouragement that Joshua gave to God’s people: God did everything He said He was going to do – nothing was left undone. God knows the beginning and the end. His promises are “yes” and “Amen” in Christ Jesus! If He spoke it, it will happen – in His perfect timing. When times are hard and trouble surrounds us, we can cling to God, His Word, and the hope He brings. Nothing is left undone. He will dot every “i” and cross every “t”.
My family had a pretty busy weekend, and as I sat on the couch Sunday evening, I was suddenly overwhelmed by all the things I hadn’t done. Before worry and guilt could cloud my mind, I felt like God spoke to my heart: “Be intentional.” It would have been easier to be overwhelmed and stay there than to get up and be intentional. Intentional isn’t always easy. It’s not always fun. But life is so much better, so much richer, when we are intentional. Take things one step at a time. Prioritize. Put God first. Ask yourself: What can I do right now with the time I do have? What can wait until tomorrow or the next day?
I want to be overwhelmed, but not with my to-do list. I want to be overwhelmed with God’s love. I want to be overwhelmed with gratitude and thanksgiving. I want to live intentionally in the moment, with my eyes fixed on my Heavenly Father, and my heart overflowing with love to those around me.
“Thank you! Everything in me says ‘Thank you!’ Angels listen as I sing my thanks. I kneel in worship facing your holy temple and say it again: ‘Thank you!’ Thank you for your love, thank you for your faithfulness; most holy is your name, most holy is your Word. The moment I called out, you stepped in; you made my life large with strength. When they hear what you have to say, GOD, all earth’s kings will say ‘Thank you.’ They’ll sing of what you’ve done: ‘How great the glory of GOD!’ And here’s why: GOD, high above, sees far below; no matter the distance, he knows everything about us. When I walk into the thick of trouble, keep me alive in the angry turmoil. With one hand strike my foes, with your other hand save me. Finish what you started in me, GOD. Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now.” (Psalm 138:1-8)
We have so much to be grateful for! God is high above, but He knows everything about us. No matter if we’re near to Him or far away – He sees us, He loves us, and He is faithful! William Arthur Ward once said, “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one of them to say thank you?” One more quote, this one from Henry Ward Beecher: “The unthankful heart discovers no mercies, but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.” Let’s be intentional in our gratitude! Let’s give God the glory for every good and perfect gift we have in our lives.
I came across this verse last week and it has stuck with me…
“God, your God, will cut away the thick calluses on your heart and your children’s hearts, freeing you to love God, your God, with your whole heart and soul and live, really live.” (Deuteronomy 30:6 MSG)
I want God to cut away the selfishness in my heart, I want to be free to love God with my entire being, and I want to live to the fullest! I don’t want to miss out on anything because I was busy being lazy or selfish. I don’t want to float through this life. I want to be intentional.
I want to be intentional in telling my family that I love. In holding my husband’s hand. In giving my kids tickle hugs. In drinking 75 ounces of water every day. In writing thank you cards. In putting clean laundry away. In running – the spiritual kind and the physical kind. In prayer. In reading the Bible in 90 Days. In seeking God. In encouraging others. In achieving my goals. In fulfilling my calling. In everything. ❤
“Movements” by Rend Collective – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhH8vVxc16Y
“You Know Me” by Bethel feat. Steffany Frizzell – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVVlMQved8k
Book Recommendations: (All three of these books have been so timely in my current season!!)
“The Best Yes” by Lysa TerKeurst – http://www.christianbook.com/the-best-yes/lysa-terkeurst/9781400205851/pd/205851?event=ESRCG
“Hands Free Mama” by Rachel Macy Stafford – http://www.christianbook.com/putting-burning-letting-perfection-really-matters/rachel-stafford/9780310338130/pd/338130?event=ESRCG
“Every Bitter Thing is Sweet” by Sara Hagerty – http://www.christianbook.com/bitter-thing-sweet-tasting-goodness-things/sara-hagerty/9780310339946/pd/339946?event=ESRCG
One more thing 🙂
A picture from my busy weekend with my incredible family!