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Entries in New Year's (6)


Find Joy in Being Intentional This Year

I first invited author and speaker Kathy Carlton Willis to write for Upgrade when I read about her formula for setting D.R.E.A.M. goals for the New Year. In this New Year's UPGRADE, she shows us another way to move into 2016, by determining to be intentional.

“Do you let life happen to you or do you make life happen?" Kathy says. "If you find your life isn’t changing much from year to year, or that you fall short of your goals, it’s possible you need to adapt a more intentional mindset.

"You can’t just mean well and hope it all turns out okay.”

Kathy had me (Dawn) hooked. I hear that word “intentional” a lot. But what does it really mean to be intentional?

Kathy continues . . .

When we are intentional, we take charge of what we think, choose, say and do. We own it. We don’t blame our circumstances or settle for less because we can’t help our situation.

No matter what challenges God allows in our lives, He also has us here for a purpose. And we can only fulfill that purpose when we operate in His strength and determine not to just float through life.

Living with intention means you are determined. Your decisions are firm and you choose to act on your intentions.

Make sure your intentions aren’t based on self empowerment, but on a determination to be so plugged in to God that you’re ready to follow where He leads and to act on His purpose for your life.

When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (John 15:8-11 NLT)

You may think it sounds depressing to live with intention, but according to John 15:11, acting on God’s direction leads to being filled with so much joy it will overflow.

One joy-filled way I remind myself to stay intentional is to sing Christian hymns and songs that reflect my determination to follow God’s directions. Being focused on this intention helps me live wholly for Him. What song comes to your mind?

Here are a few that popped into my head:

  • I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
  • I am Resolved No Longer to Linger
  • I Am Determined

Intentional means you don't wait for things to happen; you make choices to help determine the outcome.

Life becomes “on purpose” instead of “by accident.” Not “I hope to” or “I’m going to try,” but “I will!”

I will be more intentional with my:

  1. Time
  2. Relationships
  3. Goals
  4. Walk with Christ
  5. Priorities
  6. Words
  7. Prayers

Here’s one word of caution when making plans: Make sure they are God’s plans for your life.

It’s not enough to merely ask God to bless your plans. It’s all about following Him, whether it means staying still when you want to move forward, or moving forward when you’d rather stay still.

Keep in mind this principle when it comes to intentional living:

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:14-15 NLT)

How will you determine to be more intentional this year?

Kathy Carlton Willis shines for God, reflecting His light as a speaker at writer's conferences and women's retreats, and as an author - contributing to three books and writing hundreds of columns and articles online and in print publications. She wrote Grin with Grace with AMG Publishers and has several books releasing over the next few years. She and her husband/pastor, Russ, live in Texas.

Graphic adapted, image courtesy of

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