Best Intentions (During a Pandemic… and Beyond)

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I have never really been a “word of the year” kind of person. I know some people really look forward to January 1 so they can pick their new word (shout out to you!), but I haven’t ever been able to do that. Sometimes, I can look back on the previous year and attach a word to it, but looking ahead at the year has often been difficult for me. This year, however, felt a little different. The word intentional has been on my mind a lot. Not in the “write it on my bathroom mirror” kind of way, but it has frequently been popping into my head over the past few months.

I think it all started as we’ve inched closer and closer to adding a new family member in May. With (soon to be) two kids under two, what does intentionality look like for me as both a dad and a husband? On top of that, I have had a few shifts in my responsibilities at work, so I spent a lot of time thinking through how to be purposeful with my workweek as I adjusted to some new rhythms. Then a worldwide pandemic hit. So, while sheltering in place, engaging with our Life Group, attending family birthday parties on Zoom, working from home, and learning to adjust to a new version of normal…what should intentionality look like now?

Maybe you “word of the year” people already knew this, but once you find your word, you start to look for it (and see it) everywhere. This was true for me as we started the Bible Reading Plan, beginning in Mark. Reading with intentionality top of mind makes the words and actions of Jesus all the more powerful. Jesus didn’t waste conversations. He often answered questions with even better questions. He picked the right people to be His disciples. Not the most qualified, but the most willing and ready to follow Him. Throughout Passion Week, through His choice of words on the cross, and even through His interactions after His resurrection, Jesus was extremely thoughtful.

Then we started Acts, which is essentially a 28-chapter case study on intentionally following the Spirit of God. We have read story after story of people sharing their faith when presented with the opportunity. We have seen bold, persistent prayer from the believers. We have seen people taking the gospel to the ends of the earth, faithfully serving and starting new churches and living out the Good News of Jesus. I have a newfound appreciation for Barnabas, who always seems ready with a word of encouragement and the ability to bring a level of peace into each situation. Throughout the book of Acts, the gospel is the motivating factor behind their intentionality; not fame, recognition, power, money, or the perception of their peers. They were just living out what they knew to be true.

So that brings us back to 2020. I’m still learning what living intentionally looks like in this phase of life. I’m not doing it perfectly. At my worst, I’ve squandered time, treated the work day as a task list, and been more engaged with Twitter than the people who live in my house. But some days are better. At the end of the day, this is a stewardship issue for all of us. I don’t feel like I have an abundance of free time that I didn’t have before, but I’m becoming a better steward of my days and weeks. And maybe that’s just what being intentional means: being a good steward of the time you’ve been given. I love getting to have lunch with my family each day. Even though I’m tired of Zoom (like we all are), I genuinely love our team calls each morning, and I have made new friends through Life Group shepherding calls as I hear stories of God at work in the hearts of our people. I have felt challenged to not waste conversations or take “normal life” for granted. I didn’t think this is how our last couple of months as a family of three would look, but this is definitely a season we’ll never forget. 

My encouragement to you is to ask yourself what intentionality, motivated by the gospel, looks like for you during this season. While none of us can forecast what the next few weeks or months may look like, we can all agree that this has given most (if not all) of us a chance to reset parts of our lives. What needs to be reset in yours?

By Jon Green. Jon is in his seventh year on staff at Harris Creek. He loves Jesus, his family, the people of Harris Creek, coffee, Mexican food, Baylor, and The West Wing.

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