Turning intention into action

Each morning this past week, I’ve put a pile of clothes on my bed with the best of intentions. I intended to hang up the jeans I wore for one hour, put the T-shirt and hoodies away, fold the workout clothes (that I also had good intentions about this week), and frankly just put the socks back in the dirty clothes basket because even though I never actually wore them, they are dirty because the dog snuck them over to his bed like he does with all the shoes and socks in the house.

Each night this past week, I’ve put that same exact pile right back onto the floor because I’m too tired at night to care anymore.

What’s entirely ridiculous is that if I just took care of one of those things, which would take 20 seconds, I bet I’d be motivated to put the rest away and could be done in three minutes—tops. So as soon as I’m done writing this, I’m going to do it and put away at least one thing. And maybe a second. It’s not that hard.

I live my faith life like this too. I have the best of intentions. Call a friend to encourage her. Text a passage to my Bible study friends. Check in on the person who is hurting. Spend a few minutes more on prayer each day. Get off the couch and go pray with my kids before bed. But then I get distracted and the day gets long and I’m too tired to put in the effort.

I know you know what I’m talking about because I hear us all talking about what we “should” do and the guilt we feel when we don’t do it. This is why we love New Year’s resolutions and why giving up something for Lent can feel like a chance for Resolutions 2.0.

So how about you join me and turn intention into action, just for today. As soon as you’re done reading this, do one of the things on your list. Send a text of encouragement. Find out what time church is on Sunday so you can worship with others. Pray for the person you know who needs it. Watch a Your Time of Grace video and forward it on. Open your Bible (or a Bible app) and read one small passage, then read it again—and one more time to let it really sink in. 

Then just do it again tomorrow. Don’t make a big deal about it; just do something.

By the way, doing these things won’t make God love you more. And he won’t love you less for the times you fail or struggle. He already loves you completely because Jesus lived perfectly in your place and died on the cross to take away God’s wrath. So all of these to-do things are simply ways to grow closer to God and others, to love him and them more, to let the faith that is in you shine through. 

Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who is really bad at putting clothes away.

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