Every year I choose a different action word to be mindful of and prayerful throughout the entire year.
Believe, trust, surrender and persevere were my last four choices.
These words have made an impact on my life and recurrent themes play out in today’s life happenings.
‘Intentional’ is the new choice for the upcoming year.
Help me be more intentional, Lord!
Since I was a young adult, I have always been intentional, passionate and committed to all sort of personal and professional goals.
Graduate school – check. Marriage – check. Relocation – check. Build a new home – check, check, check. Leadership- check. The endless list continues to be checked off today.
I praise God for all of His blessings and provisions over the past five decades.
I was never intentional with friendships though! I struggled to slow down on any given day and visit a friend.
Jesus Christ was intentional in all of his relationships and created community everywhere he went. He enjoyed sitting around a table with his twelve disciples, took time to help others, healed many, fed thousands, shared valuable lessons in all of His parables and teachings, interacted with people from all walks of life, and walked alongside sinners in his short-lived ministry.
Jesus shared his life with the twelve disciples and got to know them well.
Jesus took time, was never in a hurry or busy for His beloved family, friends, and others. When His timing appeared to be delayed, Jesus’ had a divine purpose and glorified our Abba Father along the way.
“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,”
Acts 2:46 NIV
I have friends in different States and in various countries. Geographical distance is not an excuse in today’s economy; social media, facetime, and other available phone applications make our lives so much easier today to stay connected. Travel opportunities are even affordable nowadays.
I still struggle today in connecting with friends who appreciate a two-way conversation at a kitchen table. I would rather be checking off tasks from my ‘to do’ list than sharing a meal with a friend at her house. Both personal aspirations and work consume my time. Busyness was my ‘numero uno’ (number one) excuse for decades! I was way too busy. Community was not a priority then.
Because I never took time to nourish past relationships, I am now embracing the pain of loneliness in my everyday life.
I live far away from immediate family and relatives; dad passed away several years ago, mom has Alzheimer’s Disease and the few friends I do have, I have failed to connect and do life with them over the course of time.
It is never to late to recognize the value of community though.
I am now ready to change my ways, Lord, show me how!
Local community offers a sense of belongingness and brings joy, fulfillment, and comfort to our hearts and souls. Unforgettable memories are created over the course of time! Friends make a difference in one’s life. Doing life together is priceless.
I will always treasure the memories I created with my folks and childhood friends.
Being intentional in relationships may be defined as ‘sharing one’s life’ with a friend or two in truth and action at a kitchen table. Since I do not know how to cook, I hardly ever invite others for a meal at my place.
Lord, I want to be intentional with heart connections! My heart’s desire is to be more like Jesus, one connection at a time.
A text message was the starting point for me…
It was mid-afternoon when I received a text message from one of my local friends, “We would love to have you and your husband for dinner this afternoon.”
I was thrilled and immediately accepted it.
My husband and I would like to socialize with local friends more often. There is only one problem…we have not made friends in our local community as of yet. We have co-workers at our job site, professional colleagues in our network, acquaintances in Church, long-distance friendships and relatives, a ton of virtual friends yet no one to share life in our local community.
“Isn’t that strange?” Not really. When you are so caught up with professional goals, challenging family circumstances or just everyday life happenings, it is not unusual to neglect community.
When we arrived at our friends’ home, we were warmly welcomed. We exchanged ideas at the dining table, learned more about each other and wrapped up the evening with corporate prayer. The highlight of the evening was when my girlfriend admitted she did not know ‘how to’ cook yet she had been watching videos on youtube.com! I was pleasantly surprised by her honesty. I soon realized I could learn to cook by watching chefs as well. When we both admitted to our struggles in the kitchen area, I was no longer alone and in distress. Perhaps I too could learn simple recipes at age fifty-one and start having friends over my place real soon.
It is never too late to learn a new skill or establish a new habit or have a new dream in life. I choose to be intentional in the kitchen next year, and most importantly nourish the relationship of selected friends whom I want to do life with.
Have you considered connecting with a local friend today? Slow down and be intentional with a friend or two this week.
Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone? I’m already searching for easy recipes. This is definitely a foreign topic for me.
“ Progress not Perfection” is my new motto.
Let us schedule a visit with a friend and don’t excuse yourself!
In Jesus’ name, I bravely pray.
Let us sit at our Lord’s feet:
Inscribe and Meditate: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had a need. Every day they continued to meet together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:42-47 NIV).
Memory Verse: Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14 NIV).
Weekly Challenge: Are you ready to be intentional today? If so, what would be your first step?
Photo courtesy: Priscilla Du Preez, Blubel & Toa Heftiba @ Splasher