What Good Are Good Intentions?

It’s been one week since I wrote about how I don’t have my faith life totally together. One week since my husband and I started reading through Colossians. One week… How did I do?

Let’s just say good intentions are nice but don’t mean much without some action.

I meant well. I tried. I had a plan – one that I was excited about even. But even the best of intentions can fall through. Life happens and distractions interrupt and schedules get in the way. The bottom line is this: I’m not good at making time with my God a priority in my life. And let me be crystal clear – it’s not that God isn’t trying to come to me, it’s me who’s ignoring Him.

I need to remember my relationship with God, especially if I want my marriage to be healthy and thriving. I’m still searching for the right way for that to work for me, but I’ve also re-learned something this week – a “lightbulb” moment if you will…

My faith is mine, but it’s not all about me.

God may not show himself to me when it’s convenient for me. He may not call me to a task I think is a good fit for me. He may not (and usually doesn’t) act on my schedule. But He will show up. He will take time for me – more often than I’ll take time for Him. And when my intentions are much better than my actions He forgives me and picks me up for a new day and new week of meeting with Him.

If I try to grow my faith on my own I won’t get very far. Plants don’t just grow on their own – they need a loving gardener who will water them and care for them. If God isn’t guiding my faith and its growth it isn’t going to last very long. I can plan and set goals and buy all the devotion books I want, but if God isn’t part of that I think it’s likely to fail. That’s what I’ve noticed for myself at least.

So how can we take these good intentions of spending time with God and turn them into really great relationship building time? Four P’s came to mind that I think might help…

1)      Pray – Yes, I know it seems obvious, but God has to be part of this. Ask God to direct and guide the time with Him; to help you focus during your time together; to help you recognize opportunity for time with Him and to take advantage of it. Thank Him for how He’s already working and for always being present with you. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

2)      Plan – A friend of mine has told me a couple times, “If we don’t plan it, it won’t happen.” So the calendars and smartphones come out before we part ways and we plan out our next get-together. Maybe I need to put a reminder on my phone or highlight my calendar so I know that’s when I need to stop what I’m doing and take special time to sit with God. We make appointments for everything else in life, let’s make this appointment too. James 4:6-8

3)      Practice – A great plan won’t get you anywhere if you don’t do something to carry it out. Athletes, musicians, artists all practice to hone their skills and become better at what they do. Basketball players don’t stop at just knowing the play. Musicians don’t set their instrument aside after a quick review of the piece. They work the plan by constant practice. Put your plan into practice, covering it with prayer. In God’s hands, our plans can become daily routine. They’ll become a more natural part of daily life.  James 1:25

4)      Persist – We’re not always going to get this right. My first week was nothing to write home about (apparently it was something to blog about though). But, friend, let’s keep at this. Imagine where you’d be right now if you quit every time something didn’t go exactly how you intended. Toddlers fall a lot when they’re learning to walk, but they keep getting up and trying again. If they didn’t we’d have an awful lot of adults crawling around. So you miss a day reading your devotional or Bible. Tomorrow’s a new day filled with just as much grace as today. God is still there ready to spend quality time with you. This is a relationship worth the time and effort. Hosea 6:3 

No matter where you are in your faith, these are steps that you can implement right now. Pray, Plan, Practice and Persist. Let’s get past intention and on to action this week! 

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