14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
-James 2:14-26 (NIV)
A Clean Slate – MiddlePlaces.com Photo Challenge
Intend vs Intentional
Intend – to have in mind as something to be done or brought about; plan
Intentional – done with intention or on purpose; intended
I hadn’t actually planned to go with any kind of theme or word this year. That’s probably what makes this even more exciting for me. The word that keeps coming up is Intentional. What can I do each day for my life, for my health, for my writing, photography, volunteer work, and family, of course, that is intentional? Not busy work, not showing off, not making a list that I never fulfill…but intentionally. If I blog every day, what is it for? If I am on Facebook constantly, why? (And I am willing to allow that sometimes it’s for ME, just for fun, and that’s OK as long as I don’t live there.)
Intending to do this or that but never getting past planning is, well, worthless. It’s like telling a friend you will be there for them, and you mean it, but then you just don’t ever follow up or check on them. Your words are worthless. They were empty. They didn’t help your friend at all, and the next time you dare to utter them, your friend will do that polite nod and smile thing and then file your words under Never Really Gonna Happen.
In many ways, I’ve lived in that file. I’ve had good intentions, but I’ve sat on my hands, or I was too busy with busy work, trying to look like someone important, or just being a lazy bones, giving myself excuses not to fulfill my plans, my words, my hopes, my goals, my dreams.
They probably don’t care anyway.
What’s the point?
It’s too hard.
33-37 “And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.
-Matthew 5:37 (MSG)
I gotta tell you — it gets old. Even I am sick of myself with this kind of behavior and thought process.
The changeover into a new year and having this word on my lips did not magically make my life better. It’s going to take work not to continue in the same old way, making lists of plans that never go anywhere, telling people we will have a coffee date but never following up, complaining but never making tangible efforts to change things. It’s a way of thinking, of living, of believing that I feel has kept me from reaching my full potential in love, parenting, friendships, and business. And how ever is that going to change with just one word?
Like the action of the word, it will take DOING. It will mean pushing through fear and laziness, doubt and passivity. It will mean setting steps to achieve goals. It will mean letting my yes be a yes, and saying no when the answer has to be no. It will mean doing things on purpose and with purpose, not running with the busy bee mentality or the wave of the hand of apathy. It will mean…it MEANS doing, not planning to do.
This year, won’t you please live with intention and purpose with me?
The First Step – MiddlePlaces.com Photo Challenge