I was scrolling through some news feeds on a popular social media network last week and one of the leaders that I’ve had the privilege of meeting said on his page, “The gap between doing something “nearly” right and “exactly” right is HUGE and usually the difference maker.” This got me to thinking about intentions. There’s an old saying that goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” This is meant in some respects that some people mean well when they set out to do something, but when poorly executed, those intentions are essentially moot. In other words, There’s a great difference between good intentions and being intentional.
I wish I could say that I am consistently intentional about everything in life. I’m not that perfect, but I work hard at being as intentional as I possibly can be. What I’ve learned is that planning means nothing if you fail to follow through with the plan. You’ve probably heard people say, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” What I’m saying here is that even a well laid plan is meaningless if you don’t do anything other than make the plan.
As I’ve said before, having good intentions is vastly different from being intentional and the difference is greater than two simple letters. Planning is only one step in the process to taking you from beginning to successful completion. Follow through is the other component that is required. It’s the difference between simply believing in something and having faith for it. Belief says, “this can be”, while Faith says, “I’m putting action towards what I believe.”
Planning is evidence of your good intentions, execution or follow through is evidence of your being intentional. I can have every good intention of raising a family that loves to be generous and loving, and I can plan all sorts of activities and object lessons to illustrate to them what that looks like, but it is only upon my being intentional about the follow through on those object lessons and activities that I begin to see the success of children who love people and are willing to give from their hearts. Some things are a natural by-product of children observing the habits and behaviors of parents, while others must be intentionally fostered.
When King Solomon came to the end of his life, one of the things he reveals in the book of Ecclesiastes is how much it pained him that so much of what he worked for would be lost on his children. He literally said that it was, “vanity of vanities.” If you don’t want to come to the latter years of your life and have those same sentiments, it is in your best interest to become intentional and not simply have good intentions.
QUESTIONS: Do you see the difference in having good intentions and being intentional?