Intention is everything. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that our intentions really do matter. We have to constantly be asking ourselves “Why am I doing this?” If our intention is to hurt, harm, slander, mislead, disrupt, etc then our intentions are wrong. Another list of bad intentions might look like this: selfishness, praise seeking, self promotion, projection, etc.
Doing the “right” thing in order to win the praise or approval of others is just as bad as simply doing the “wrong” thing. Because our intentions behind our words and/or actions are only to promote our own agenda, reputation, etc.
A prime example of this can be found in our participation within society. Do we only participate in events and correspond with those people, places, experiences from which we can receive something back for whatever it is that we give? Do we place money in the collection plate at church in order to look good to those around us? Do we volunteer at a specific place because we know we will receive something back in return for what we have to offer?
These are uncomfortable, but critical questions to be asking ourselves. We should always, to the best of our ability, aim to do what is right! But we can also choose to partake of what is “right” with the right attitude – this includes examining out intentions.
I have found that examining my intentions has helped me lead a more fulfilling life. As a musician, I didn’t really even enjoy playing violin until I got my intentions straightened out. It was always so stressful, anxiety-provoking, and scary. One of my favorite songs has a line that says, “I found my life when I laid it down.” and that’s exactly what happened with me and my music.
When I laid my music at the feet of my Savior. When I said, “God take this. This is for you and only you. The only approval I need is that of your love.” I truly started to fall in love with the art form I pursue! I can NOT get enough of performing and playing now because every time I pick up my instrument, even if it’s just to practice, I dedicate that time and all the emotions, feelings, and beauty (sometimes ugliness, too) of it all to God. And He takes it and makes it into something beautiful. My intention every single time I perform is to praise and worship Him – and it’s SO much less stressful and SO much more fun! It makes me giggly with excitement just to think about it!
This can be applied to every area of our lives. From the smallest thing such as serving dessert and giving your sibling a smaller piece so that you can have a larger one to huge life-changing moments such as careers, marriages, relationships, etc.
Another thing, regardless of what lies behind out intentions – whether good or bad, pretty or ugly – it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking, “No one will know because boy, it LOOKS good on the outside or it SOUNDS good when I say this.” But rest assured my friends, God can see our hearts – he examines our thoughts and our feelings every second of every day – nothing slips past his sight. So while we may do or say certain things to get ahead during our time here on earth, or even just to make ourselves fee more “comfortable” just remember that we will all face our God on Judgment day and we will be responsible for our thoughts, words, and deeds.
“A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.”