I think we all go into a new year with the hope of it being our best yet. When the calendar hands us a blank slate in the form of 365 unmarred days, our imaginations run wild with possibility. This will be the year I lose weight. This will be the year I travel. This will be the year I fall in love.
There are very real desires on each of our hearts of what our life will look like, eventually. One day, I’ll make enough money. One day, I’ll fit into those jeans. One day, I won’t be so selfish. One day, I will quit drinking. One day, I’ll get married. One day, I’ll write that book. One day, I’ll have kids. One day, I will be happy.
We seem to carry this idea that there is always tomorrow. At some point, the new car smell of January wears off and it becomes easy to wake up and drift through our routines without much thought. Our relationships can become habitual, our work uninspired. Without realizing it, our determination to accomplish our goals becomes diluted by the passage of time.
Without earnest and persistent pursuit, our dreams stay tucked safely away in our tomorrows. Our relationships, if we don’t tend to them, will fall by the wayside. If there is no focal point, the image will be blurry. It is up to us whether we choose to see this moment as miraculous or mundane, but one thing is for sure, we can never get it back. How intentional are you about your time? Your thoughts? Your prayers? Your relationships? Your actions?
Though we’d probably prefer to forget, time is finite. Just as there are 26 letters in the alphabet, there are 24 hours in a day of which we can use to build our stories. What’s the objective of yours? Without clear vision, we’ll wander through the plot haphazardly wondering why we feel aimless. Let’s use our time wisely and appreciate this moment for what it is, a non-renewable resource; a gift. Be intentional.
We should also be mindful of our thoughts. Each of us has a constant internal dialogue that, without observation, can run amok. Depending on what we choose to focus on, we run the risk of ruminating on lies about our past, our present, and our future. Our thoughts bleed into our words and eventually play out in our actions, whether we want them to or not. Get ahold of them, bring them into the light, and shape them before they shape you.
Don’t believe the lie that says you don’t deserve to be loved. Don’t believe that voice that says you can’t do it or you missed your shot. Don’t look backwards, you’re not going that way. You’re not too old, you’re not too young, and it’s not too late. Don’t let your head circulate with fear and anxiety. Reprogram your mind. Write down affirmations. Believe them. Speak the truth aloud if you need to. In doing so, you will change the direction of your sails. Be intentional.
We also can’t be afraid to pray. God cares about the details of your life. He made you exactly as you are for such a time as this. Your life has purpose and the plans He has for you are good. He wants to give you exceedingly more than you can ask, hope, and dream. If you struggle to believe that, I challenge you to pray. Ask God to show up and meet you right where you are. You may be surprised to find He’s been there all along. Be intentional.
Speaking of relationships, we should love on all people, by all means, but those select few you do life with? Prioritize them specifically, keep them at the forefront, remind them daily how special they are to you. Be honest and open, straightforward in your communication. Break out the theoretical china, go the extra mile. Investing in them is investing in yourself and these are the ones that matter.
Your spouse, your significant other, your best friends, your kids — it’s easy to take your time with them for granted, but don’t. Those little moments with them are the big ones. We were not made to do life alone. Don’t let your job, your ego or your big fat paycheck tell you otherwise. If someone matters to you, make sure they know. Be intentional.
And act accordingly. Structure your time and attention. Direct your steps. What are your priorities? Does your calendar know? If your family is important to you, are you making time to be with them? Are you present when you’re there? If you want to be married, does your dating life reflect that? If you plan on going to Italy some day, when? If you want to be debt free, where is your money going? If it brings you joy to paint, why don’t you own a paintbrush? Be intentional.
Let’s pretend we don’t have all the time in the world, because we don’t. We need to guide our thoughts before they can guide us. Pray, dare God to show up. Make sure the people that matter know they matter. I’m preaching to myself here, but maybe you need to hear it, too. Whatever you do, do it with intention. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Don’t get lost in monotony. Go, but go with all your heart.
There’s an ongoing story being written about each of our lives and maybe we need to take the pen back. What do you want yours to say? How will it describe the kind of person you were? Your morals, your values, how you made people feel, the things you spent your time on? How loved you were and how well you loved?
Are there any periods you need to turn into commas? Is the chapter you’re on in need of revision? We don’t need to wait for a new year to give us permission to shift our priorities. Today, right now, this moment, it’s yours. Be intentional.