This past week hasn't been any different than all others when it comes to having a word or phrase be constantly at the front of my thoughts. It will never cease to amaze me how my Jesus uses sermons, Sunday school, a women's retreat, His Word, social media; all of these things and so much more to get to my heart. To grow me. To bring me into a deeper knowing of Him.
The sermon series right now is about prayer. Sunday school's topic this past week was about the Psalms. The women's retreat had a theme of identity. The book I'm currently reading is also about identity. How do those subjects get us to the topic for today?
when you won't even look up from your phone
Well let me see if I can show you. Intentional. It means to be deliberate. To weigh in the mind, to think carefully, consider, to reflect. God calls us to be intentional. First of all in our prayer life. Not in a ceremonial, religious act. But in a relational and intentional way. Setting aside time without distraction. Time to reflect. To meditate. To consider what He wants to say to us. How in the world can He get our attention if we're flying by the seat of our pants? You know it's true that you don't hear what someone else is saying to you when you won't even look up from your phone. From your TV. From your book or newspaper.
Here's a paragraph from our Sunday school book that really sums up what I'm trying to convey:
Psalm 1 paints a picture of a believer who delights in God's Word, but this delight is not something that only happens spontaneously. It is built into the pattern of everyday life. "Day and night" this person meditates on God's Word. In other words, delighting in God's Word is not something that will happen by chance. It takes intentionality and preparation."
this delight is not something that only happens spontaneously
Imagine my surprise when just the day before the words intentional and meditate were blowing up inside my head and I hear it again the next day in Sunday school as if spoken by megaphone into my heart. It saturated my heart like a drink of cold water quenching a thirst I didn't realize I had.
When's the last time you read in Psalms? Have you ever prayed the Psalms? Sounds a bit strange right? To pray God's Word back to Him? I'm challenging myself to do just that, pray the Psalms. To meditate on the Psalms. To be intentional on where & when I spend time doing this. Every. Day.
"you are God's favorite (insert your name here)."
So what does identity have to do with intentionality you may ask? Everything. God intentionally gave you your name. Yep, it's no accident that you are who you are, name and all. Many of us, maybe for this first time, at the Women's Retreat learned the meanings of our names. It shouldn't have been mind blowing, but the meaning of each woman's name was so fitting. Now maybe for each of us personally we may have thought, hmm not sure if I'm living up to that meaning. Or I don't understand why my name means that. It was said to us that, "you are God's favorite (insert your name here)." Well, naturally my first thought when that was said was, but there's probably millions of other Michelle's...how can I be His favorite? Yeah there are, He said, but only one you. Your DNA is only yours. Your fingerprints, well those are only yours too. Listen, child, what she's saying is true...you are my favorite Michelle.
Knowing was also weaved in there over this past week. To know who I am in Christ. To know that He intentionally knitted me together. To know that He has a specific purpose for this Michelle. With my DNA. My fingerprints. My gifts and/or talents. He even planned the number of hairs on this Michelle's head. To know Him. Just like the paragraph I shared from our Sunday school book...We don't just wake up every morning knowing Him more. It's not just some cosmic evolutionary process that we know Him more every day just because that's how the stars are aligned. No. It requires a conscious effort on our parts. A daily choice. To be intentional. To be deliberate in our pursuing of Christ.
-His favorite Michelle