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How I Learned to Be More Intentional in My Life

Published Jul 05, 2023
How I Learned to Be More Intentional in My Life

There is a saying, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Although the Bible has much to say about hell, the abundant life in Christ is not simply about good and bad behavior but also the intentions of our hearts. 

There is a saying, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Although the Bible has much to say about hell, the abundant life in Christ is not simply about good and bad behavior but also the intentions of our hearts. Those with deceptive intentions to win the approval of man rather than God are morally in the same dire straits as those who have committed a sinful act. We're all called to turn from sin and repent. Intentionality is key to our spiritual and every other area of our lives. If we feel out of balance in any way, intentionality helps strike a good balance, helping to renew our minds and ultimately change our hearts. Although it is impossible to keep every area of our lives perfectly balanced, we can certainly do our best to ensure every area of our life is as healthy as possible. Here's how I learned to be more intentional in various areas of my life:

Financially Intentions

I learned to be more intentional in my financial life. I took a hard look at the credit card bills and pinpointed the places where my husband and I were overspending. We used the credit card and charged a bag of groceries even when we had the money in our accounts. It was easy to put it off because the minimum payment wasn't due until a few weeks later. But charge after charge amounted to a horrendous debt we could not pay. We had to cut corners, stop using the credit card, and pay down extra debt when possible. This caused excess stress. I'm happy to report we could pay down a huge loan we had four years earlier than expected. Not only did I become more intentional in using my money to pay down that loan, but I also took this issue to the Lord. I asked for his help in providing a miracle to pay off the debt (which at the time felt impossible to pay down) and help us be more financially intentional moving forward. 

Healthy Intentions

I became more intentional in my physical health. After years of watching the scale creep up, it was time I did something about it. I switched to a doctor who specialized in hormone imbalances. For years, I blamed myself, assuming I wasn't doing enough in my exercise routine or for my diet. However, as we checked various areas of my blood work, we quickly found that it wasn't my fault. My cells were not responding to sugar entering the body, causing insulin resistance. Therefore, my body was storing excess sugar where it should not. By adjusting medications, I was on my way toward better health. I also had to be more intentional about my thoughts toward health. Being physically healthy did not mean I had a skinny body but one that, with the right amount of nutrients, could create the optimal energy each day to complete the tasks I felt God was calling me to do. 

Spiritual Intentions

I became more intentional with my spiritual life. I normally woke up every morning and began my day with exercise. Although I still do that, I have learned to reduce the exercise and spend more time with God. I learned to start my day after exercise with a certain number of chapters of reading in the Word plus a time of silence and prayer. Although I allotted myself about twenty minutes for this, there are times when I go thirty or forty minutes and don't want to stop! The best times are when the Lord speaks to me. Although I don't have time for this every day and sometimes get off track with this, God knows my heart, and he knows I don't want to be separated from him. By dedicating the first parts of my day to him, I notice I can go to him more quickly with my problems instead of getting angry or frustrated. 

Emotional Intentions

I learned to be more intentional in my emotional life. This is the hardest area for me to tame. My parents believed "children should be seen and not heard." Therefore, I was not taught how to share my emotions healthily. I often stuffed and internalized them, causing me to now deal with chronic anxiety. However, with the help of professionals and medication, I can combat that problem. Through good books that have walked me through the process of forgiveness and books that help me deal with emotional issues regularly, I am freer than ever. Some great resources are books by Lysa Terkeurst and Pete Scazzero. Although issues that cause me anger or sadness do pop up, I can deal with them healthily due to the tools I've learned from biblically mature people who love the Lord and have written for his glory. 

Mental Health

I'm more intentional with my mental health. When my thoughts that don't align with Scripture entered my mind, I asked the Holy Spirit to make me more aware of it. Through this practice, I have learned that certain statements I use during my self-talk are not good and can change into negative emotions if gone unchecked. When I adhere to the Scripture that says to renew our minds, I can combat that lie with the truth of the Scripture. When I believe that I am God's promised child and I'm forgiven through his sacrifice, I know I can have better mental health simply because I intentionally renewed my mind. 

Relationships

I'm more intentional with my relationships. When I react in a way that's contrary to Christ-like behavior, I can ask for forgiveness more freely. This was difficult to do at the beginning of my spiritual journey. But I learned humility and have matured in my fruits of the spirit. My desire to display kindness and goodness to others outweighs my desire to win and be right. While I'm certainly not perfect in this area, and it is difficult to work with relationships where I feel disrespected or unheard, through better communication and asking questions rather than reacting, I have learned I get further in my relationships than I used to. 

Intentionality is not something people hear a lot about. However, by being more intentional, I set my mind on things above, not things of this world. When I can do that, I can enhance each area of my life because I'm anchored to the Word and know God. I can come to him with any situation. I know I am completely forgiven and can forgive others, even if it is difficult. When I continue to do these things, I know that intentionality holds the key to my freedom. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/JulianSchaldach

Writer Michelle LazurekMichelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.com.