A New Month, A New Beginning: My May Intentions
While reading, listen to The Few Things by JP Saxe.
At what feels like record speed, April has ended and May is here.
Growing up, my Grammy always told me that with each passing year, time becomes a more valuable gift - one we either take hold of, or one that slips right through our fingers. This reminder, paired with the “Carpe Diem” way in which I was raised, has ingrained a deep appreciation in me for the beginning of a new week, month, and year. With each, we are given a new beginning - a fresh opportunity to be more of who we want to be, and lead lives we are proud of.
As the saying goes, last month’s showers have ushered in the season of flowers. May is looking bright and in bloom. And if the budding trees and gardens in our neighborhood weren’t an indicator of Spring’s peak, my allergies certainly are! Anyone else having a few sneeze attacks every time you walk outside? All the same, I’ll enjoy the weather’s change and the season’s beauty with watery eyes and a stuffy nose if I have to! On the eve of every month, I enjoy taking a few moments to sit with a pad of paper, a steaming cup of coffee, and a reflective heart, to celebrate the victories and consider new intentions for what’s ahead. It’s sort of a harvesting principle: count the fruit, and then go plant more.
If you’ve never tried this, I encourage you to make this your month! Though time does seem to fly, Grammy is right - it’s really ours to take hold of. So grab some time, count the fruit, and step forward with fresh intention! What if May is your best month yet?
My May Intentions
Spend at least 10 minutes a day praying out loud. Praying out loud always produces real, intimate moments with the Lord where my heart’s desires, mind’s concerns, and desperation is surfaced.
Return to approaching God first as a daughter, then as a servant. As I’ve been reading through the Psalms, I’ve been inspired by David’s posture before the Lord. Though he has been called and appointed, he comes to him as a son. Ministry is my passion and life work, but I belonged to God’s family before I began sowing seed for his Kingdom.
Be eager to listen. Anyone else just get lost in the noise of life? I’ve realized how often I’m listening to anything BUT God’s voice. Music, podcasts, watching TV, or simply going through my day with my spirit on mute, unaware of what God might be saying to me. This month, I just want to be more in tune with him.
Read a fiction book. I have the honor of mentoring a handful of young women, which includes reading quite a lot of spiritual development books throughout the month. Though these are great, my mind can go into overdrive trying to keep up. Having a good story to jump into, is a great way for me to disconnect from my phone, the demands of life, and set my imagination lose...even if it’s just for a few chapters.
End the week with some holy yoga and stretching. Friday is often the last day of work for most, but for me, it is the beginning of a busy weekend. With our youth ministry gathering on Friday night, a leadership intensive on Saturday morning, and two services on Sunday - I need to feel more recharged on Friday morning, than ever! Starting the day off with some holy yoga (via Caroline Williams), prayer, and stretching, fills up my tank for a weekend of pouring out.
Take in every victory. As I mentioned earlier in this post, I am so quick to move from thing to thing, without ever giving God some glory, myself some credit, or a victory it’s moment. Steven Furtick says, “If the devil can’t keep you bound in failures, he’ll try to keep you from enjoying your success.” Well Satan, not this month. I plan on taking a few moments after every win to really enjoy it and acknowledge it before immediately moving on to my next task.
Workout 3-4x a week at my new gym! Towards the end of April, I joined a morning bootcamp class. Nothing like putting your card on file to motivate you! It’s been everything I needed...encouraging, challenging, fun, and exhausting! I want to keep this new workout streak going by remaining consistent with attending and giving it my all.
Don’t rush through my beauty routine. In the last two months, I have continued to shorten the time I’m giving myself to get ready in the morning. It’s not because I’m not getting enough sleep, or I don’t have enough time to do other things. I’m simply not making that time for myself a priority. The honest truth is: when I look good, I feel better! This month, I am going to do what’s necessary to give myself plenty of time to enjoy my beauty routine as self-care! (Also: at 25, looking like a college student during finals week is just no longer acceptable. I think Reed would agree!)
Drink a large glass of lemon water before my morning coffee. Dehydration is just silly when I know that drinking water will give me more energy, clear up my skin, kickstart my metabolism, and a hundred other things! I want to become disciplined in my water intake, and I think beginning my day with it is a great way to try!
Seek to outserve (& surprise) Reed in the big and small things. Can I be honest and say I give myself too much room to be critical and selfish in my marriage? The temptation to love from convenience, my limits, and when my own benefits are clear is real! I want to be better. And because of the power of Christ to help me in my weakness every day, I can be! This month I am going to begin each day thinking of a way to surprise Reed, and become more eager to serve him with the selfless love of Jesus.
Repaint a few pieces of furniture. A lesson in contentment I learned from my Mom was to repaint a piece of furniture before you buy something new. Giving it a fresh coat of paint and a little love will restore your appreciation for the piece, and the patience required to not replace it. I have my eye on a few and I’m going to start this weekend!
Guard my limits. My day to day life is filled with people...and sure, I guess the same is true for most of us, but what I mean is that with literally everything I do, people are involved. The people I work for and with. The people I serve. The people I lead. The people I share life with. You get the idea. And with ministry as my job, there is no clocking in from 8-5pm and leaving work at work...it’s a lot more fluid, and it is much more difficult to “turn off.” I am incredibly grateful for the goldmine I’ve struck when it comes to the people in my corner, but I can also overextend myself and say yes to too many things, or not set proper boundaries. But God has been showing me how crucial it is for the health of my relationships, and for my own personhood - to guard my limits, be willing to say strong “no’s”, and even disappoint others. (Because the honest truth remains: you cannot please everyone.)
Listen to recent sermons and take notes to improve. This has to be one of the things I dread doing the most…(does anyone like the sound of their voice recorded?) but I know it’s a vital component in improving my craft and communication!
Be with, not just next to. Sometimes, if I’m honest, the work of ministry can distract me from the people in ministry. It’s easy to get into a rhythm of showing up and doing the thing, but not really looking anyone in the eye, not really linking up with them in their sorrow or joy, and not really connecting to the family I’m in. I don’t want to just serve next to this flock God has given me, but I want to walk among them, and constantly return to the joy of being with them.
Complete the most difficult, daunting task first. This is a principle I learned in college that I have since been inconsistent in applying. I’m sure I’m not the only one who avoids the big tasks until the end of the week, when they absolutely must get done. But I’m learning there’s a cost to that kind of work behavior. First, it completely robs the smaller tasks of their sense of accomplishment or joy because that big one looms overhead. Second, the longer you put it off, the bigger it begins to appear, making it harder to step towards it. Third, waiting on the big stuff is often the opposite of acting in discipline and courage, and I want to cultivate more of both in my life. And lastly, putting it off to the last second usually means it won’t get your best effort. And in the real world, there is no E for effort.
Post 2 YouTube videos and write 2-3 blog posts! I am feeling a strong wind of inspiration in my sails, and I can’t wait to continue sharing with you through these creative outlets! Stay tuned!
Man, this month is going to be good. I am so excited to take on each day with the Lord and to count the fruit at the end! What are your intentions for May?
Share one in the comment below and I’ll be praying for you and with you!
Floral prints by Caitlyn Wilp.