Five Minute Friday: Intentional

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

Thursday, January 18, 1:59 p.m.

Fatigue is breathtaking.

Even after all these years of chronic illness and pain, the days when I can barely lift my head off of the pillow surprise me. Yes, I’m always tired. Always ready for a 3-hour nap. Always down for going to bed early and sleeping late. No, I never feel refreshed or renewed, no matter how many hours I log curled up under blankets. Yet there’s this whole other level of tired, one that defies explanation.

My skin, always pale, turns a shade close to that of White-Out. Dark circles rim my dull eyes. Limbs feel heavy. Heart rate slow. It requires mighty effort to take a shower.

And pressing the keys to form the words that make the sentences that bloom into paragraphs – you’d think I was recovering from participation in a decathlon. Took me a full two minutes to type that out.

Kate says: intentional.

Go.

Friday, January 19, 9:15 a.m.

Done on purpose. Deliberate.

This is what the dictionary tells me the word intentional means. A move from intentions, mere plans, to solid, concrete actions. Plan the plan then do the plan.

In the back of my Bible is a one-year reading plan. Every week mapped out neatly, bouncing from the Psalms to the Old Testament to the New. As I tick the boxes each day, I begin to experience the overarching narrative of Scripture in a new way: human stupidity, God’s great grace. The highs of poetry to the long lists of “begats” to the mind-bending lines of apocalyptic literature.

While this is not the first time I have attempted to read through my Bible in one year, this is the first time that I am determined to finish. And that, I think, is what moves us from intentions to intentional. To avoid remaining in the dream state and to side-step the urge to quit, we must have determination. A stick-to-it-iveness.

In a world of distractions and excuses, determination is a highly foreign concept. Along with its cousins discipline and self-control, words we would like to forget we know. Irrationally, we want to do whatever we want to do while still achieving the things we’d like to achieve. Or, perhaps not achieve. Perhaps we want to do whatever we want to do and just have the achievements handed to us on a silver platter.

Meditate on these words, from the mind of God through the pen of Paul:

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

– 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NKJV)

Whatever thing you have been intending to do, small or big, will remain in the realm of theory and possibility without discipline. So lace up your shoes, literal or figurative, and get going. Put in the sweat equity, one drop at a time.

Rewards don’t come via intentions.

They are earned intentionally.

Stop.

Signature

Photo Credit: Jacob Postuma
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