It’s a new year which means a natural time to reflect. To look back on what happened throughout the past year and set your sights on the future as the new year unfolds. 2020 is not only a new year but in fact a whole new decade.
It is so important to be intentional in our lives, to purposely set our gaze and move towards what God has for us in this new season. Have you taken any time to reflect and project?
Much more than setting new goals or resolutions, this is a beautiful opportunity to connect with Jesus, making room to hear His words for the coming year. Not sure where to begin? This blog is here to guide you through a simple step-by-step process. Engaging with the Lord and empowering you to intentionally move forward into an incredibly fruitful year.
5 things to think about in setting a successful intention
- Set an intention – nothing happens without it
- Be clear and specific on your intention
- Partner with Jesus
- Practice surrender
Set an Intention – Nothing Happens Without It
As a definition, an intention is an idea that you plan (or intend) to carry out. If you mean to accomplish something, it’s an intention. Your goal, purpose, or aim is your intention. It’s something you mean to do whether you pull it off or not. Intention becomes an important step in moving forward, I agree with Jim Carrey as he says nothing happens without it.
Intention is everything. Nothing happens on this planet without it. Not one single thing has ever been accomplished without intention.Jim Carrey
Be Clear and Specific on Your Intention
Intention not only sets out the path before us, done in the right spirit, it points us in the correct direction. A clear specific intention becomes a marker that alerts us when we are wandering off track. If our intention is too vague or broad how will we ever know if I have reached it? If you do not know where you are going, how will you ever know if you have reached that place? Think of setting intentions like plugging an address into a GPS; without specifying a destination, your GPS takes you nowhere.
Partner with Jesus
Partnering with Jesus in setting our intention for 2020 is probably the most important part of not only setting an intention, but also seeing it through to completion. The reason we exist is to be in relationship with God and to bring Him glory. It is possible to go through the whole process of setting an intention for the new year and completely omit Jesus from that process. I really don’t recommend it! Everything in our lives is an opportunity to Cultivate a deeper Connection with Jesus. The process of setting an intention is no exception. God knows what we need more than we know it ourselves. He is the author and perfecter of our faith and He sees the big picture whereas we cannot. He is our wise councillor, so make sure you invite him into the conversation on this one.
God’s thoughts and His ways are always higher and better than our ways. In order to set an intention and walk it out daily we are going to need to become really good at surrendering. Surrendering what? Everything and anything that gets in the way of what God is calling us into, which is mostly us trying to do it in our strength instead of relying on God’s. It will be different for each of us, but things like fear, ego, pride, complacency, shame, and comparison all get in the way of us setting and following our intention. Here is the good news, all we have to do is surrender and yield to God and He will be the one to empower us with His strength. It really comes back to partnering with God. “Am I letting him lead me in this or am I trying to do it on my own?” We continually default back to striving without Him and this is why we have the need to surrender daily.
Perseverance will be a key to walking out our intention as the year progresses. Keeping the intention front and center and continually drawing your attention to it will be important throughout the year. In Philippians, Paul encourages us to be intentional and never give up:
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.Philippians 3:12-14 ESV
I recommend carving out at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to engage in this process. Choose a time and a place where you can get alone with God and have space to hear his voice. Set up an atmosphere that will bless you. Maybe that is with instrumental music or soft lighting, maybe it is a favourite hiking spot or park. Bring a journal and a pen so you can write down what God is speaking to your heart.
Start with prayer, remembering that it is a conversation with God. Allow a prayer to flow from your heart to bless your time together, or if you need some guidance here is a prayer to start with:
Jesus I come today to connect with you and to seek your face. I bless this time to be holy, set apart to be with you. I pray you would open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what you are saying. Be with me and let us partner together to set an intention for 2020.
Throughout this practice give yourself time to be still and to listen. Try not to be in a hurry, try not to think of this as a box to check, working through the steps quickly to just get this intention set and done. Instead, try and approach it more like having coffee with a friend to talk about your desires for this new year.
Take time to reflect on the past year, talking with Jesus about some of the highlights you had. Ask Him to show you what He loved about spending 2019 with you.
From here ask God to show you what is on your heart for 2020. Take time to tune in and listen. Then ask Him what is on His heart for 2020. Together, begin working through what kind of an intention you would like to set for this new year. Make sure it is clear and specific. What would it look like for you to be walking fully in this intention? Visualize yourself doing so. Can you distill it down to one word?
Once you have a word, commit yourself to studying it. Ask God questions about it and seek it out in the Bible. Ask God to give you scripture about your word and intention. Put the word in front of you, write it down, post it around your house, make it into a wallpaper for your phone or computer so you see it every day.
Work to set a habit. Find something you can do daily to help you remember your intention and continually move towards it. Durning part of your morning routine take time to think about one way you can move towards your intention today. Also ask if there is anything you need to surrender today that is keeping you from moving forward.
Don’t quit. Keep coming back to the word God has given you. Pray that He would meet you through this word of intention daily. Set a date on your calendar once a month to check in with how things are going with the intention you have set for yourself this year.
I hope this blesses you to be intentional this year and connect with God through the process. My heart and prayer for 2020 is that each person listening to Cultivate Connection would be known as a people of God’s presence!
Did you know we’re devoting the next several weeks to meditating on some of your words? After you go through this process, let us know your word of intention for 2020 in the comments below. Your word may be picked as a theme for one of the upcoming meditations.
Here’s to a fabulous 2020!