31 Acts of Intention Project

Happy Sunday, friends!

I'm so excited to share this project with you guys today. If you tuned in to any of my Periscope broadcasts yesterday, you heard a little bit about it, but if not, let's start from the beginning.

The first week of January, we're excited about our fresh start and the newness and ready to burst into a new year. Which is very healthy I think. I think God knows us enough to know we need a re-set in our calendars. So we make our resolutions, we take the time to think about how to better ourselves and our businesses and get to it. And by week two or three, a lot of us are struggling to get through the day, let alone even attempt to get through our resolutions. This process by itself is NOT a bad one, so hear me say that. But we'll come back to how we can actually make things like this function realistically.

I want the new start. I ache for the fresh chance. I feel personally that I am hard-wired for re-examination this time of year because my birthday falls in tandem with the New Year. However, I think each year, I get lots of grand ideas about how to make changes, and if I'm honest, I go into disaster prevention mode. I move pieces of my life around on a chess board and say, "OK if you can fix this, then this won't happen." Or "if you can lose x amount of pounds, you'll feel better about x." I weigh myself, find where I'm wanting, and then decide what failures I will attempt to prevent. I won't call them resolutions, but they make themselves on to a magic list and when they are not crossed off by the date I deem worthy, they are tossed in the trash and moved over into the column of shame.

Sounds super healthy, right?
Definitely not. lol
But does it sound familiar?

This project has been brewing in my heart for a long time. I've been able to see snippets of the idea, but I haven't been able to truly figure out how to grasp it as a whole. As it started to come together, the doubts started rolling in:
- I do not have time for this, this is crazy
-Other people are going to thing this is crazy and/or stupid
-No one cares about this stuff
-You'll fail at this too.

Eventually this Fall I was given an opportunity to put my words and thoughts together and test the waters with some of these thoughts a bit with other women in my sphere of influence. As it turns out, I wasn't alone after all. There are a lot of us running around spinning too many plates, asking too much of ourselves, and setting unrealistic goals during all parts of the year.

Now what are we going to do?

Well, for me, I want to try something new. And I would love for you to join me.

The definition of intention is to do something on purpose. I don't know about you, but the idea of living a life on purpose sounds refreshing. It doesn't sound like me trying to just make it work and survive every day. It sounds more like the life Jesus said He came to bring us:

“I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows.)”
— John 10:10b (Amplified Bible)

This is what the 31 Acts of Intention Project is all about. Its about making intentional choices that can plant seeds into your daily routine, or even into your monthly routine, that would find roots and grow into a life that overflows with joy past the month of January.

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
— 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NIV)

I want to sow generously with what I have to give, so that I may reap generously and ultimately, stop feeling like I'm just trying to survive the life I've been given.

Are you with me?

Let's give it a try.

The 31 Acts of Intention Project is based around 4 sub-categories of sowing.

Simply Yours, Simply Ours, Simply Family and Simply Community.

Each of these represents, for the most part, what encompasses the environments and relationships that most affect our lives. Here's a little breakdown of each section:

Simply Yours: Ultimately, everything starts and ends with you. Your heart, your thoughts, your choices. How can we sow generously in other areas, if we don't start with sowing generously and intentionally into ourselves?

“... for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart, his mouth speaks.”
— Luke 6:45b (Amplified Bible)

Does the verbiage sound familiar? Its definitely not lost on me that we must sow to overflow. But what we are all ready filled with will be what continues to overflow and overwhelm.

*Here are some examples that I am wanting to implement into my life:
-Do one thing this week that makes me feel alive. I've made a list, I'm happy to share it with you, but some of those things are: read, work out, have a deep conversation with a friend, spend time in scripture and prayer. I know that because of the schedule this coming week, I may not be able to do ALL of these things, but I am hoping to achieve one. That's a much more realistic goal.
-Drink a nalgene of water every day. Apparently, only drinking coffee is bad for you. Apparently.
-Before I collapse on the couch and zone out in front of the TV after my daughter has gone to bed, I will a) not leave dishes in the sink so I'm not REALLY annoyed in the morning b) Read something for fun or for soul nourishment for at least 15 minutes
-Don't freak out that our Christmas decor is still up.

Simply Ours: SO is for all of you who are currently in a relationship. Whether you just got engaged, are newly married, or have been married for several years, this is the area where you can be willing to learn and grow. I don't care if you've been married for 50 years, there is ALWAYS something to learn about yourself and how you function in this primary relationship AND something you can learn about your significant other.

*Some examples:
-Do one nice thing for your significant other, no matter how you feel about them.
-Take Gary Chapman's Love Language test. I'm going to definitely talk about this later this month. Its a relationship game changer.
-I want to list a bunch of things, but I'll end up writing a whole other blog. We'll elaborate more on this one later. The first two are great options ;)

Simply Family: SF is open ended to include your given family or the friends/significant relationships in your life that you consider to be like family. This one is super challenging in adulthood. Its heavy on my heart all the time. We need to reexamine our expectations about friendship and be willing to receive each other where we are in this season and not try to make old ways work in the new. Grace abounds, friends.

*Some examples:
-Schedule time with a friend. I don't care if its a Facetime session, a phone call, or if you're a lucky duck, face to face coffee talk, put it on the calendar.
-When you think of a friend/family member, tell them. We are in constant communication with people. Whether its a Facebook post, a text message, whatever, don't wait to tell them you're thinking about them. Even if they don't answer, the heart is what matters. The connection is what matters. We have to get back to fostering our connections.
-I feel that there are many, many people going through tough challenges in life: moving, new babies, divorce/break ups, loss of a loved one or caring for an ill loved one. Whatever the case may be, find one person in your life and ask them what they need. If they don't have an answer, a couple of sure-fire ways, if you have some cash to spare, is to either a) make, or pay for the delivery of, a meal for them or b) send them a cup of coffee. I learned this year that the Starbucks app allows you to send digital gift cards. How amazing is that? You may not be able to grab coffee, but you can send them a cup of comfort.

Simply Community: I think giving back to our community can feel daunting and overwhelming at times. What does that mean? Do I have time for that? I don't have the money to spare. It doesn't have to be complicated or cost a dime, but its the most challenging and intentional choice to make because it calls us to be aware of others and not ourselves in situations that we would not ordinarily be so.

*Some examples:
-If you are involved in a church, a ministry or some kind of non-profit charity, do something to thank the staff. They give their lives away constantly and often thanklessly for the betterment of others. It doesn't matter if your child draws a craft, if you take cupcakes to staff meeting, or again, buy the coffee, offer a meal, ask them what they need; any of it will bless their socks off.
-The next time you're in a public place, smile at everyone.
-Hold open doors for people, be kind and courteous while you drive, let someone go in front of you. do something that is often against our nature and uncommon to experience for a stranger.

This week on Periscope, Instagram and hopefully here on the blog (because again, realistic goals), I will go deeper into each of these categories and how they can be applied or get you started. I would welcome feedback about your ideas! My ideas are not the only ones out there. I can't wait to hear about how you guys apply this into your lives.

There is NO pressure here, friends. This is not a to do list or a daunting challenge that is designed to set you up for failure. In my opinion, doing one thing a day for 31 days is not realistic. It very well may be for you! I can all ready own, that it is not for me and my family. BUT as I become more aware, especially by starting with the Simply Yours category, I know that the Lord will open my eyes to where else I can sow with intentional generosity.

I would love for you to partner with me in this and document it on social media by using the hashtag #31actsofintention. It does not have to be a grand gesture. You saw my list! One of them is to drink water. How simple is that? Let's do this, friends. Not just because we feel like we have to, but because we were made for more than what we've been settling for.