What are your intentions?

One Minister’s Musings
1/5/2012
“What are your intentions?”

I was at several gatherings this last week, and the common question was, “What is your New Year’s resolution?” There were the common responses of resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, study harder, and work harder in relationships.

Then one friend said, “I’m not making any resolutions because I always break them after the first week of January. Rather, I’m exploring some specific intentions. What are your intentions for the next year?

Initially, this sounded like the voice of a father to his daughter’s latest boyfriend. But, it shifted a focus for me. What are my intentions for 2011? Intentions carry a different kind of affirmation as they shape a purpose or a commitment. An intention feels less legalistic than a resolution as it becomes the framework out of which choices are made.

If my intention is to eat healthier in 2011, this will affect the choices I make when I go to the next buffet. With this intention, I will (hopefully) put more vegetables on my plate than desserts. The intention shapes my choices. Choices leave room for the nuances of success and failure. Intentions then invite other choices.

What are your intentions for 2011? And how will these intentions shape the choices you are given each day? I intend to use my body more, so this morning I decided to walk to work. This choice affects my work habits and activity of the day. I intend to stay more connected with my family this year. So I chose to write a quick note to my son on face book this morning. I was also able to connect with others. So far, so good.

I wonder what God’s intentions for 2011 might be? What do you think? We have several clues in scripture and in the stories of Jesus. God’s intentions bend toward the world. God so loved the world that he gave us Jesus. God intends to get closer and closer to the creation that God loves. God sent Jesus, known as Immanuel, God-with-us. God chooses us again and again with intentions of steadfast love and loving-kindness.

One person’s intentions can directly affect another’s intentions and a domino effect happens. As I connect with my son, he will have more of an opportunity to connect to me. As God’s intentions are always for us, they shape our own intentions and choices in the world. As God’s intentions embrace us with life and love, our own intentions in the world are thus formed in new ways and new choices result.

So what are your intentions for 2011 and how are they shaped by what God intends?

Gently,

Pr. E.