Author Shauna Niequist was featured on a recent podcast where she talked about finding meaning:
I want an assignment. I want can’t-miss-it clarity, a special purpose, the certainty that I’m on the right path doing the right thing, and that it matters.Shauna Niequist
Most of us are searching for some sort of meaning. We want to know that we’re not on this wildly spinning planet simply to use up the oxygen, but that our lives matter.
As a young mom, I drafted a chart that included space for relational, physical, spiritual, mental/emotional, educational, and financial goals.
I wanted to be a better wife, and mom, and friend. I wanted to handle emotions and finances wisely. I wanted to learn and grow.
And so, at the beginning of each year, I filled in the chart with goals in each category.
And then I stumbled across an article and re-thought my annual chart-making.
What about setting intentions? And by intention, I don’t mean something I hope to get around to someday. I mean, “Here’s the target. Here’s what I’m aiming my life and decisions and habits toward.”
With that in mind, here are 4 intentions that will dominate my target practice in 2023:
1. Grow kinder, more compassionate
This is a long-term thing. God is working to shape me into this person every day. It won’t happen overnight. But it will happen—little by little—as I practice kindness and compassion.
2. Appreciate better
I want to pay better attention to the gifts in my life—people being at the top of that list. I want to speak gratitude more frequently, to notice the kindness in others and remember to say, “Thank you.” Often.
3. Improve my eyesight
How many homeless people do I not see in this affluent, mostly white, destination resort town where Dan and I live? My eyesight needs improving. I need to pay better attention to God’s gentle prodding when we intersect paths with someone carrying a heavy load and we’re able to lighten the load.
4. Create more
What if we created more, not only for the joy of it, but for the double joy of giving away our imaginative handiwork as gifts? Do you build birdhouses or build doll houses? Write poetry or write songs? Design wedding gowns or design furniture? Knit or embroider? Create delicious, edible concoctions? Repurpose old junk into cool new stuff? What can you make in 2023 that will be an astonishing gift for someone?
In her podcast interview, Shauna Niequist asked if it’s possible that our divine assignments are where we are at the moment. And the answer, of course, is Yes:
Use your bruises and your scars and your dreams to serve and heal the world today. Today, right now, use what you have and who you are and what you love and what you’ve learned. And then do it again tomorrow.Shauna Niequist
This verse sums up my intentions for the New Year:
My children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.1 John 3:18
For the goal setters among us—and my hand is raised—what if we also set a few intentions and practiced aiming at and hitting them? And what if, in the process, joy rains down all around us?