Intentionality: A Word for the Year

As the new year began, my husband and I carried on our tradition that always begins the same way. We cooked our traditional New Year’s Day meal (collard greens and cornbread anyone?) and sat down to write our goals as a couple for the new year, as well as our broad goals for the next five years. It is something we look forward to every year!

This year’s goal-setting tradition was met with even more excitement and anticipation because at the end of March, we are due with our first child! As we plan for this little one, we began discussing what we wanted our 2018 to look like as we start to make a family bigger than just the two of us.

We have many friends who love to assign a word to their year, so we thought we would steal their idea! As we threw out many, we landed on intentionality. We felt that a life of intention was something that we strive for as a couple but sometimes fail at. We are often so busy filling life up without much thought and then look up at each other weary and exhausted.

Following this time of goal setting, I began to ask myself: How as a wife, new mother, sister, daughter, friend, therapist, etc. can I live a life that is marked with intentionality to glorify God?

In our culture, we are drawn to a busy life because that is what the world defines as successful, right? When my husband and I began to discuss this, I came to realize that we often say “yes” to so many things that leave our spirit so drained that we often do not know how to say “yes” to the things that refuel us.

I went to the Word to understand what it looks like scripturally to live intentionally. Paul writes in Ephesians 5, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

In this passage, Paul is writing to the church of Ephesus, teaching them how to live under the Lord’s authority with intention. He even affirms who we are in Christ and commands us to walk in light and love, not to be confused by those around us in the world, but just as Christ did, to walk with intention with the goal of avoiding our sinful desires. Paul calls us ‘children of light’ because we have the Holy Spirit to guide us, as we should walk in a way that pleases the Lord.

In this new year, I believe it is important to take a moment and evaluate how your time, resources, and energy are all spent. How can we be wiser in the way we spend our free time? How can we allow wisdom to guide our spending rather than emotion? What are the things we are not saying ‘yes’ to that we should consider?

I pray that each of us is able to be mindful and intentional in each day as Paul states in verse 8, “. . . for [we] were once darkness, but now [we] are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.”


This staff devotional was written by Sarah Ball. Sarah is a counselor at Pathways Professional Counseling and serves in the Gadsden and Birmingham areas.