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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Val

Intentional or Habitual?

We, as humans, have many habits. Some are good, such as taking a shower, brushing your teeth, combing your hair. Some are bad - I'll let you identify your own bad habits and I'll keep mine to myself. But when it comes to your spiritual walk, is it habit or is it intentional? Can it be both?

Today, Bible apps and plans are very popular. Some plans are structured to where you read a certain amount of scripture each day, and by doing so, you read the entire Bible in a year. I tried that. Not just one, but three consecutive years. I never made it through. Why? Because I was logging on and "getting through" the readings to see my "streak" increase and to check the box. An hour later, I had no idea what I had read. It had become a habit, but there was no genuine intention to spend time with our Creator. These plans can help us in our spiritual walk, but they can only do so if we use them with intentionality. If we are using them to check a box and make us feel good about ourselves, we are simply wasting time - precious time that can be really spent with Him.

We can even let habit overcome intention in church. Let me give an example: I really gave my life to Christ and began my personal relationship with Him at our church in Colorado. Our Pastor was amazing and I looked forward to the Holy Spirit speaking to me through Him every Sunday. I soon felt it was time to get involved and began serving on the Tech Team. I built slides for Pastor's message every week, which means I had his notes mid-week and read through them several times. Then I would serve in all three services and therefore hear his message three times. At first, I soaked in every word! But after many months, the process became so habitual that by the end of the third service, I could not tell you what the message was about. I had lost that spiritual connection during the message. That was when I knew that I needed to step back and make church intentional time with Christ. I found a different way to serve in a way that was spiritually intentional.

When we lose our intentionality, I feel that we lose our true connection with God. Or at least I do. I met with my pastor earlier this year, as I found myself struggling with many things and knew I needed to seek counsel. The first thing he asked me is how my spiritual walk was. Throughout the conversation, it was very clear that I was not being intentional. To be honest, I was not even being habitual. I was not setting aside time for God. I was fitting him into my spare time, which was very little. My Bible reading consisted of Pastor's Sunday Sermon. So my "homework" that came out of that meeting was to set aside time each day to get into God's Word and really spend time with Him - no distractions. To commune with Him. To have conversations with Him. To rest in Him. So that is what I did. Let me tell you, friends, it was life-changing. I am now feeling the Holy Spirit's presence and really seeing Him work. (Of course He has always been working, but I was letting busyness blind me.) The days that I do not take that time, I feel that, too. Just like when I miss church and my week doesn't feel the same, neither do the days that I miss out on that one-on-one time with God. That's when the enemy starts to whisper in my ear. I need that time with God and He wants that time with me. He wants that time with each and every one of His children!

So if you're struggling to connect, if you're feeling that He is far away, if you're feeling lost, step back and ask yourself - are you being habitual or intentional or neither - then make it a priority to be both! God deserves our first and our best!

God bless!


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