This is the New Year’s resolution I didn’t want to make. It took root in the waning weeks of 2009 as I was mindlessly perusing the pages from my previous year’s prayer journal and noticed how often the Lord had spoken to me about something in the morning -- whether it was to call a neighbor or write a note or simply spend focused time in prayer -- and I hadn’t followed through, usually because I forgot. Discomfort soon led to conviction, and as I sat there bemoaning my weaknesses, the Lord gently whispered the word ‘intentional’ to me. That’s when the battle began. To make matters worse, the more I wrestled with the Lord, the more I realized I was going to have to share my struggles with you. So before I lay my soul bare, here’s the resolution I’ve finally found the courage to put into words:
In the year 2010, I resolve to live every day more intentionally by delighting myself in the Lord, dialoguing with Him throughout the day, and doing the things His Spirit impresses me to do.
See, it isn’t that bad! Or is it? To be honest, I have turned that third phrase – doing the things His Spirit impresses me to do – every which way but loose, trying to get away from the simplicity of its call. Ever prone to a performance mode that can border on legalism, I found myself offering all kinds of arguments. Was it really possible to be at the beck and call of the Spirit of God on any given day? What if I couldn’t do it? Worse yet, what if I didn’t want to? What if the Spirit impressed me to do things that were embarrassing or trying or simply inconvenient? Before I knew it I’d digressed into all sorts of self-condemnation about how immature I was to even have to wrestle with such thoughts – shouldn’t I be way past this?
I thought of how excited I was last year when the Lord impressed me with the resolution to learn how to live in His love. This seemed something different altogether. Really? Aren’t all God’s plans for our good? Doesn’t obedience always lead to joy? I knew the answers, and yet I resisted for reasons I couldn’t articulate. Slowly the Lord began to reveal to me how I wanted to have all the answers, to know I could do this and do it well, before I made a commitment. But His plan was that the resolution would be a vehicle for me to learn how to live intentionally, just as last year’s became the vehicle for living gloriously in His love. Given that, why should I want to throw up my hands in defeat before I’ve even started? Why not, instead, simply admit my fears, my failures, my weaknesses and concerns, and spend the year pursuing the depth of intimacy with Jesus that such a challenge might enhance?
So that is what I am doing. In His tender grace, God has brought me gently along and as I write this, I am beginning to feel a kind of joyful anticipation about it. I want this resolution -- to live more intentionally -- to change me in the same kind of profound ways that living loved has. I do hope you will join me, mainly because I need the support but also because I sense that God is putting similar impressions on many hearts today, due to the urgency of the hour.
While we will use the same tools for diving into God’s Word, I am excited about the focus I believe He has given me this year, which is to spend the entire year in the Gospel of Matthew, learning from the One who has walked the intentional way before us. For more information on this and how we can journey together, click here.
Finally, I plan to chronicle my own path a little more often through this blog. I will still send out occasional devotionals via email, but if you’d like more, or want to share your own ups and downs, victories and failures – you can join me here. I'd love to hear from you!
Whether you feel called to embrace the Living Intentionally 2010 Challenge or not, I pray 2010 will be a year in which you experience greater grace from our Lord to live immersed in His love and passionate for His glory.