Intentionality et al

I love to learn words, both new and old, and add words to my vocabulary. When I was little I used to read the dictionary every day with the goal of learning 50 new words each day, at the end of most days I was lucky if I remembered 3; now the cares of this world and the ‘busyness’ of life have removed any such aspirations from my purview, but it still excites me to expand my lexicon.

My newest addition, while not a new or unfamiliar word has been an enlightening one, it’s like I have peeled the layers of the onion back on this one and I understand the word better and it is (drum roll please…..)…..Intentionality (no suspense there, given the titleJ). In listening to the Boundless podcast (more on that later, but if you don’t know about it already, you should, more information in the postscript), it’s a word they use often, particularly in the context of dating relationships, but it’s such an interesting, holistic word.

It connotes making up one’s mind, or making a decision; according to the Merriam Webster dictionary, to decide is to make a final choice or judgement or to select a course of action. This suggests that there are different courses of action to carefully evaluate and then make a choice from. I am reminded of Deuteronomy 30:20, where the bible records a choice we have to make, it goes ‘I call heaven and earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and death, blessing and curses. Choose life so that you and your children will live’. I like the idea of being intentional (a close cousin of this is being purposeful); I am learning that things do not just happen, ‘what will be’ will not be if I do not work towards it. Society tells us that the end justifies the means; it teaches us to ‘see how things go’; but being intentional requires that you do things with an intention, to have the end in sight at the beginning and work purposefully to get there.

In the course of life we are faced with different options, and in the spirit of intentionality, I want to be resolute and decisive; to choose Life over death, God over Satan, love over hate…these seem like pretty obvious decisions to make but more specifically and practically, where there is a choice to worry or cast my cares upon the Lord, I want to be intentional about taking it to Him in prayer and leaving it with Him; when I am hurt, insulted or disrespected, rather than fight back, I want to be like Jesus of whom it is recorded ‘When He was reviled and insulted, He did not retaliate; when He was abused and suffered, He made no threats of vengeance but He trusted Himself and everything to God who judges justly (1 Peter 2:22-23 AMP).

This sounds like a call to be a doormat and as a lawyer who is pretty psyched about justice and equality, I wrestle with turning the other cheek and not giving people what they deserve, but with time, I’ve found that although this is a tall order, it is not an impossible one, otherwise God will not have called us to follow Jesus’ example of suffering and follow in His footsteps (1 Peter 2:21b). When it seems too much to bear, the bible by way of ‘consolation’ asks us to ‘consider Jesus who endured such opposition and hostility against Himself so we don’t grow weary and fainthearted and assures us that in the  struggle against sin, others have suffered far worse than us, particularly Jesus, who went through all that bloodshed(Hebrews 2:3-4, ESV & MSG); so in other words,  we need to shut up and quit whining( ok, that’s just me and not the bible) but if this doesn’t turn the ‘ prosperity gospel’ on its head, nothing else does. The best part of our suffering though is that Jesus assures us that He is faithful and compassionate and will never give us more than we can bear and that because He experienced all suffering, He is able to empathise with, assist and relieve us as we are tested, tried and exposed to suffering (1 Corinthians 10:13b, Hebrews 2:18, AMP)

Anyway, back to being intentional( you’ll notice that I have a real tendency to ramble on and meander in my thinking, hence my given nameJ but I often, but I often find my way back to the main point)…I just want to encourage anyone reading this , as I’m egging myself on , to be intentional, whenever you are faced with different courses of action, choose the option that will lead you to your goals( with God’s word as a guide), and work towards them, things do not just happen, what will be , is what we make be.

Look how it worked out for Jesus, the writer of the book of Hebrews puts it so succinctly as we are instructed  to ‘Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honour, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he ploughed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!’

Couldn’t have said it better if I tried…Shalom Fam.  


The Boundless show is a website of focus of the family targeted at singles, and related issues, they have a plethora of great resources and a podcast. For more information, go to


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Belle
    May 06, 2011 @ 23:35:37

    Really loved this post. I guess the older I am getting the more I realise that my decisions matter – Andy Stanley calls it the principle of the path. Life just does’nt happen! We cannot afford to be fatalistic in our views or we will loose our best days. Keep it up girl.


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