This is the beginning of a new day.
I can waste it or use it for good.
What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever,
leaving in its place something I have traded for it.
I want it to be a gain, not a loss;
good, not evil;
success, not failure —
in order that I shall not regret the price I paid for it today.
Intentionality is a word that is often used, but less often understood. We throw this word around haphazardly, highlighting our lack of understanding simply in the action by which we misuse the word. For we know that intentional and haphazard are antonyms, or do we? Just as we misuse the word intentional, we also fail to apply it to our daily lives. We fail to plan, we fail to order our days, and we take pride in slogans such as “it is what it is” or “you only live once.” Slogans such as these feed the negative cognitive messages and beliefs buried deep within our subconscious mind such as: “I have no control over live”, “I am not disciplined”, and “I can’t do anything about it.” Thoughts such as these promote a victim mentality, contributing to a lack of effective problem solving and decreased motivation for change or transformation. So lets take a look at this word intentional for just a moment, so that we can truly uncover what this word means and it’s practical applicability.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, intentional means the following:
“done with one’s own will”, “voluntary”, “done with awareness of an end to be achieved”, or “a readiness or eagerness to accede to.”
Now let’s take a moment to examine what intentional is not. Below are some antonyms for the word intentional:
accidental, chanced, haphazard, random, compulsory, casual, extemporaneous, and impromptu.
When comparing the definition to the antonyms, we see a notable difference. Now compare these words, both the definition and the antonyms to your life. Which ones describe you? Are you the deliberate, conscious planner who has purposed intent each day? Or are you the autopilot who lives based on luck or chance, randomly making decisions and providing extemporaneous remarks that you later regret? When we lack intention, we lack direction. The truth is, when we lack awareness and purpose, we are simply lost. We mis-manage everything including time. I read a quote on social media this past week posted by THEGOODVIBE.COM that stated “Save the excuses. It’s not about ‘having’ time. It’s about making time. If it matters, you will make time.” I found myself remembering all of the times I responded with the excuse “I just don’t have time” when in fact, it was not about time, but the mis-management of the time I had. Peter Drucker notes “until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” When we fail to live intentionally, we fail at many things to include time management, order, discipline, and adequate planning.
So why then do we lack intentionality in our lives? Were we created to be random, compulsory beings who live on a whim, conditioned to “go with the flow?” Well in order to answer this question, one can go back to the book of Genesis and find our creator God intentionally creating all things. Each day had its own purposeful agenda met. Whether it was creating light and separating it from darkness or creating man from the dust of the earth, no actions performed by God were unintentional, casual, or impromptu. We were all created with deliberate intention. We are no accident. From the strands of hair on our heads, to the chuckle in our laughter, God created each of us with intentional specificity. So what does that say to us? We should pray as David prayed “Lord teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12 NIV).” We must understand that life is but vapor, and that we must treasure each day by living on purpose.
Paul told the Ephesians in Chapter 5 verses 15-17 “look carefully then how you walk. Live purposefully and worthily, and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise, sensible, intelligent people, making the very most of your time, buying up each opportunity because the days are evil.” In other words he admonished them to live on purpose, not carelessly, but making every minute count. Intentionality, according to Dr. Cindy Trimm in her book The 40 Day Soul Fast Your Journey to Authentic Living, notes that order and intention give you clarity of thought and greater control of your time. This means that we must eliminate time wasters such as gossip, social media, television, internet surfing, and the like unless there is intention behind the use of them. Sure, surfing the internet can be beneficial for research however, it is a time waster when used as a method of procrastination. Intentionality allows us to examine not only what we are doing, but why we are doing it, and what is there to be gained in the action. During this process of examination, we can then eliminate those things that are not beneficial or purposive, and replace them with actions that are fruitful and bring honor and pleasure to our lives.
Kirk Byron Jones in his book Holy Play: The Joyful Adventure of Unleashing your Divine Purpose notes “the best we can offer one another comes from our own authenticity and creativity. Authenticity and creativity is birthed by intentional living.
In closing I will leave you with this Proverb “consider well the path of your feet and let all of your ways be established and ordered aright (Proverbs 4:26).”
Purpose to live intentionally!
The 40 Day Soul Fast by Dr. Cindy Trimm
Holy Play: The Joyful Adventure of Unleashing your Divine Purpose by Kirk Byron Jones