Did you hear about the dog who wanted to please his master so much that when the man threw a stick, the dog fetched it … only it wasn’t a stick? (See photo!) Good intentions, but…!
When I was 21, I (Dawn) had every intention to memorize huge passages of scripture. Now, I struggle to remember the verse I memorized last week.
When I was 21, I had every intention of living in a “millionaire’s mansion” by the time I would retire. Now, I look at my bills and can’t afford a “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” game.
When I was 21, I had every intention of living the neat, organized Martha Stewart lifestyle. Now, I try to keep boxes in the garage from falling over onto the car, stuff scrapbooking tools into a closet for “someday,” and create under-the-bed storage for shoes that I’ll probably never wear (especially those spike heels that don’t match my “cankles!”)
When I was 21, I had every intention of having a Wonder Woman svelte body and high-fashion wardrobe. Now, I tuck cellulite into Spanx.
Are you laughing at me? OK … you’ve got to identify with at least one of those so you can laugh with me!
Our friend Sue Duffield wrote on Facebook: “‘I had every intention….’ Four words when, stated like that, will keep you stuck forever. Be intentional today, by doing.”
I am struck by the uncomfortable truth that my good intentions of yesteryear went absolutely nowhere because I didn’t back them up with intentional, daily choices!
I didn’t develop and maintain a scripture memory program that would service me well today and allow me to better encourage and teach others. I didn’t sock away nickles, dimes, and dollars; I didn’t make many sacrificial investments. I didn’t learn organizational skills. I didn’t exercise or eat nutritious, health-promoting foods.
In short, I didn’t make wise choices day-by-day.
It’s been said ~ and this appears on a bumper sticker ~ “Good intentions make the most noise.” I’ve had a lot of “noise” in my life ~ good intentions ~ but they were accompanied by an unsurrendered heart. God hears all the “noise,” but He wants to create a beautiful symphony. My life does not have any more time for a lot of “good intentions.”
I am encouraged that, though I have consequences from poor choices I’ve made and they are part of my life message, I can still decide to change what I can in the days ahead. I can surrender my will to God and be more intentional in the days ahead.
There is a balance, of course. We don’t need to be too hard on ourselves, as my Facebook friend Joan C. Webb says. (She writes about intentional choices in her book, The Intentional Woman, co-authored with Carol Travilla.) She explains that this isn’t about shame.
We can’t afford to linger in self-condemnation when Jesus died to set us free. I’ve found that being intentional is simply about recognizing areas of weakness, repenting of sinful choices that have not served us well, and giving our lives to God as we resolve to make better (biblical, health-producing) choices.
And there’s a big reason why this is important. “The key reason for living intentionally,” Webb says, is “to glorify God as the person He designed you to be.” (1)
God can “redeem” our past choices as we give our life messages to Him and allow Him to work. We can focus on wise, biblical choices that will make us stronger in every area of life … to His glory and for His use (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17).
Puritan writer Thomas Watson said,“The glory of God is a silver thread which must run through all our actions.” (2)
What “area” of choices did God speak to you about as you read this? What intentional choices can you make today … and tomorrow and the next day … to get you “unstuck” and moving forward in strength?
Turn your “I had every intention…” into positive action right now!
(1) Joan C. Webb and Carol Travilla, The Intentional Woman: A Guide to Experiencing the Power of Your Story (NavPress, 2002), p. 16