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  • Writer's pictureJulie Gross

I Love Jesus, but I’m Struggling to be Intentional

So, I am writing this blog entry on January 2, 2023, and our first women’s brunch of the new year is in 12 days, January 14. For the brunch, we are focusing on being intentional. It’s something Michelle and I touched on last year at this time as well. But, I am struggling a bit with it this year.

One thing we did last year and we’re planning on doing again this year is that we asked ladies to think of a word or phrase or verse that they want to focus on for 2023. This isn’t a resolution–this is an intention. This is something they want to work on or be deliberate about in the new year.

For me, this started about five years ago when I had a co-worker who always picked a word for the year, and she asked me what word I was going to pick. I had never done that before, but it has become something I do every year now. Here are my words from the past few years:

  • 2018: This is me

  • 2019: Peace

  • 2020: Dare

  • 2021: Grace

  • 2022: Faith

When I look back at these words, there’s a story for each one. In 2018, I needed more confidence in myself, and the words, “This is me,” helped me to focus on the fact that I don’t have to try and impress anyone. God made me who I am for a reason, and I shouldn’t compare myself to others, and I shouldn’t care what others think of me.

In 2019, my younger son graduated high school in May and went off to college in August, and I knew being an empty nester would be difficult for me. Thus, I chose “peace” as my word, as I knew I would have to rely on God to give me peace when I was feeling sad or anxious.

In 2020, I was in the middle of taking classes with the South Dakota Leadership Academy, and I felt like I was really growing as a leader, and to challenge myself, I felt like “dare” would be a good word to help me see my potential as a leader. Risk taking is not something that comes naturally to me, but to be a good leader, there has to be a bit of risk taking involved, and “dare” was a good word to remind me of that.

In 2021, we were in the middle of the Covid 19 pandemic, and I felt like “grace” was something that we could all use and give. As a teacher, I felt like I needed grace, and I knew my students could use some grace, so that was my mantra that year.

Last year, in 2022, I was struggling with fear and anxiety and worry, and I felt like “faith” was the best word for me to focus on as I knew my faith in God could help me overcome the fears that surrounded me.

Now, here we are in 2023, and I am wondering what word I want to be intentional about. I just sent a text to my husband and two boys to see if they have suggestions, and the only one I got was from my younger son, Jamison, and he suggested, “gingersnap” as I made gingersnap cookies today. So, that wasn’t helpful at all.

Well, as I sat here in my comfy recliner, I pondered, looked up Bible verses, took a nap, and I think I’ve settled on “focus” as my word for 2023 as it seems I may have some difficulties with staying focused, not just on the every day here and now, but sometimes I have a hard time focusing on God. I get distracted with life and things and stuff, like schoolwork as a teacher and Netflix and Facebook and other things around me in this very distracting world.

Here’s a verse I found that puts my intention to words: “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. “ Psalm 16:8. I need my focus to be God, as He will guide me in the way that I should go. Now I just have to be intentional with my word and really execute it.

Maybe you’ll consider choosing a word as your intention this year.

Thanks for reading, friends!



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