When the boys were little, anxiety consumed me. My anxiety controlled us all.  A low-dose prescription and counselling helped, but they were simply tools that made space for me to do good work in my daily life.  I wanted it to be better, so I had to be intentional.

I needed more space to learn how to respond and not react to life. My goal was to love well, not sin against those I loved out of my hurt.

In my daily life, I eliminated anything that hindered my ability to love well.

Cloth diapers, making my own yogurt, even church stuff during the week. It was all good stuff, but it was not best. Acts of love toward my children and husband were best. I created more space in my life as I eliminated things.

It took time to learn how to respond to life instead of react. Often it felt like I was getting nowhere, but then there would be a shift. Something would be “better” because I decided to be intentional.

My daily prayer then, “You are mine. I am Yours. Help me live in that reality Jesus.” And He did.

Being intentional does not just happen. It is a process.

1.  Cry out to Jesus. Name the need and ask for help.

Most people see me as capable, confident, and together. The truth is I beg Jesus for help all the time. I’ve learned to lean into Him because when I don’t, it is ugly. Ask my kids.

2.  Observe and reflect.

Pay attention to specific things relevant to the need for “better.” Questions help at this stage. What needs to change? How can I create change? What steps must be taken for that change? How long might it take? Why is change really needed? Do my answers line up with how I feel or what is real?

3.  Make a plan.

Put your observations and answers to your questions into a plan. This part can be the trickiest. Write it down. Do one thing at a time. Change is a slow-and-steady win the race kind of thing when we’re making new habits and routines, especially when your change effects others.

4. Surround yourself with support.

Friends have walked with me through countless changes and growth. Other times I have sought the help of a counselor and/or other professionals. You do not have do life alone. I am now working one-one-one with others as a life coach. That may be support you need.

5. Embrace the process.

Take action. Begin your plan, day by day, moment by moment. Expect fails and setbacks. It is a process. Be kind to yourself. Remember the goal is not your expected performance, but Jesus’ empowered grace. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.

Jesus can see things we can’t see. Jesus can change things we can’t change.

Revealed need for change is an opportunity for us to grow up in Christ.

We can make things look better. We can’t make ourselves better. Jesus can.

Jesus grows us up by the Holy Spirit from one level of glory to the next with our every, “Yes, Lord I want you to grow me up through this.”

This is huge because it becomes less about us and more about Him.

Him in us, with us, and for us. It becomes grace upon grace day by day.

Whenever I say to myself, “There must be a better way,” I know it’s time to be intentional.

Nothing just gets better. HOW I WISH IT DID! It takes work. Paul tells us we work out our salvation in fear and trembling. When we walk with Jesus by His Spirit, He carries the weight of that work and leads us into “better” with His intentional love and grace we as say “yes, Lord,” with our lives and hearts through the choice to be changed.

Better is well intended. Intentional leads to better.

Where do you long for “better”?

Turn your eyes toward Jesus.

Lay down the burden of your performance friend.

Embrace His grace to empower change.

Be intentional. Pray for help. Observe and reflect to discover the need. Pray some more and make a plan. Surround yourself with support. Put the plan into action until you experience change. The kind of change that let’s you say, “Yes, this is better.”

It might be days, weeks, months, years. It’s not the time that matters. It’s the opportunity to grow up in Christ. He is worth it. You are worth it.

Until then, maybe one of my favorite prayers will be a gift to you.

“You are mine. I am Yours. Help me live in that reality Jesus.”

I’m confident He will do just that.

2 thoughts on “from BETTER to INTENTIONAL

  1. Ellen, this kind of intentional space-making reminded me of the Spirit of the Lord, hovering over the deep, and God saying, ‘Let there be light!’ I have grown to invite God to create space and then order in my life, so that newness can spring up. Only God can create something from nothing, and so I give over my attempts at better and surrender to his Spirit to The Best, which is–will be–declared good!


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