Intentional in 2019

For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19

It’s a new year. Everything has a feeling of newness and shiny goodness. Our planners have crisp white pages ready for all the things; there are no crumples or food stains or toddler scribbles yet. Our resolutions are 9 hours old and we’ve kept them so far! 2019 is our year! But the crumpled pages and broken resolutions are coming. Maybe you’re still stinging from the mess 2018 dealt. I don’t mean to be all “Debbie-Downer” here, but life is rarely what the rose-colored New Years glasses portray. Perfection won’t last this side of heaven and we all experience dry wastelands in life. God is working even when we can’t see it. When we’re distracted, overwhelmed, or super focused on fulfilling our resolutions, God is doing a new thing! He’s making pathways and creating rivers. Proverbs 16:9 says, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” What a relief! It’s not up to you and me. We can strive and plan and set all the goals, but only the Lord determines what happens.

I want to encourage you to do something this new year; when plans fall through, or expectations are unmet, ask God to use the failures for His glory. As Him to do a “new thing”. Be transparent with your life…I don’t mean to blab all the details of everything you go through to the world. However, when we are honest and authentic with our lives, in the good and bad, it’s amazing the way God takes that, blesses it, and works it for good in the unlikeliest of ways. Share the rough moments of parenthood with another mom. Talk about what God is teaching you through Scripture. Seek encouragement and wisdom from someone who is a couple steps ahead of you life, and encourage those who are a step or two behind you! Be intentional with your life. God will use your willingness to be authentic in the good and the bad to not only encourage you, but to forge river and paths in someone else’s hard seasons of life!

Let’s make 2019 the year we let God do a new thing through us. Let’s purpose to show hospitality through intentionality this year. Make a plan now for how you will be intentional in conversations, opening your home and serving others this year. Maybe it’s taking a meal to someone once a month. Perhaps you are going to be intentional by finally setting a playdate with that mom you’ve said “hi” to in passing for 6 months now. Will you open up your home and invite some women over for coffee? Start a book club? Create an open invitation for people to drop by Sunday night for grilled cheese sandwiches? ( A friend of mine does this and it’s such a clever idea - with 4 teenage daughters it’s such a great way to meet friends and create a safe, fun hangout spot!)

The one thing that all the New Years hoopla gets right is the need for goal-setting. I don’t mean the self-centered goals or unrealistic resolutions, but taking inventory of where we are and where we want to go personally & spiritually is healthy! Writing down our plans for the year and setting resolutions are very beneficial. If we never even attempt to set a high standard, how do we practically push ourselves to improve? The same is true for becoming more hospitable. It’s not enough to say, “I really wish I was good at hospitality like Betty.” “Someday I’ll open up my home more; when the clutter and schedule clear up.” It will never get easier to practice hospitality than it is right now. Until you make a plan, get intentional, and work through the aches and pains of instilling a new habit, hospitality won’t become part of your lifestyle. So join me please. Roll up your sleeves, sit down with pen, paper, or a calendar and let’s be intentional. What will be your first act of hospitality in 2019?? Comment below and let me know!