Intentionality

Perhaps it's more about intentionality than discipline when it comes to spiritual formation. A welcoming word for this seasonal/yearly person. :)

I must admit, since my last season–January through April–I've been in a seasonal slump. Not feeling terribly productive (thus the lack of blog posts), but I am enjoying the lazy days of summer, spending time with grandchildren, and maintaining the flowers surrounding our house as they grow, bud, and bloom. 

Last season ended with hundreds of people cheering on runners as I ran the final 13th mile of the Indy Mini, the largest half-marathon in the country. Hearing the shouts of my kids (who finished ahead of me) as I ran the final mile was rewarding, but I didn't have any extra energy to "give it all you've got." I was giving it all I had, and was happy to cross the finish line. 

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Intentional training, building up to several long runs in the last month before the race, contributed to my performance and the ability to finish. 

 

Whether you fall into a deliberate daily routine,

or find yourself focusing on a purposeful weekly/monthly goal,

or creating a theme that matches your current season or year,

intentionality is necessary to spiritual formation. 

 

In this new season, I've chosen a word for 2018: FAVOR. It came to me in May (yes, May, not January) while my husband and I were on a much-needed vacation in Yosemite National Park. We've had some not-so-great vacations over the past couple years for one reason or another, but this one was different. I sensed God's favor as we hiked the trails, enjoyed time reading in the lodge, or taking in the beauty in the High Sierras. And, just like that, "favor" became my theme for the rest of the year. 

 Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

Since then I discovered Steve Moore's book, The Top 10 Leadership Conversations in the Bible. His first chapter is simply called, "Favor." Moore gains understanding on favor from the life of Joseph. He summarizes the "favor principle" like this:

There is a difference between the favor of God, and the power of God. The power of God moves in or through us to impact others to advance God’s kingdom. The favor of God moves in or through others to open doors for us to advance God’s kingdom. 
— Chapter 01 - Favor, pg. 18

Knowing Joseph's life, I realize that God's favor did not always mean living in an ideal world. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused, and thrown into prison, but even there he gained God's favor. I'm looking forward to diving into this word deeper, and experiencing his favor in 2018. 

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.
— Psalm 84:11–12

In what ways are you being intentional in your spiritual formation?