We need to be intentional with our time, our words, and our deeds.
Today as I was getting some orders out of my trunk to mail at the post office, I stepped wrong on the curb, rolled my ankle, and went down like a bag of potatoes. Now, don’t feel too sorry for me, this happens to me fairly frequently and I have learned how to fall with minimal damage to myself. But as we continued about our errands and my husband and I were laughing about my ability to go “boneless” to avoid injury, I started to think about how important it is to be sure footed in our lives, to really think about where we are placing our feet. Ironically, that is a big part of this week’s lesson.
“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day… Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.”Proverbs 4:18 and 26
Even more important than me being careful in my foot placement for physical safety is the importance of our keeping an eternal perspective in mind as we make decisions in our lives for spiritual safety and growth. Each decision we make has an impact on what happens down the road. Wise decisions can set us up for happiness and great success and poor decisions can lead to misery and regret.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.Proverbs 3:5-6
Part of making proper decisions is keeping the long game in mind, the other part is learning to trust that the Lord knows best for us and learning to hear Him more clearly for direction in our lives. Sometimes when hard challenges come it is difficult to understand how what we are going through could possibly be for our good. I have had my fair share of circumstances where I wondered this exact thing. In retrospect, there is nothing I have struggled with that has not brought learning and growth that I treasure. I’m getting better at trusting the Lord while I go through hard things. Knowing He has never let me down in the past makes it a little easier. Being intentional in trusting the Lord has so much to do with being able to have peace in our lives as we go through the trying times in our mortal experience.
As you look back over your life, what is one of the trials you experienced that brought great learning and growth? How did that experience help you learn to trust God?
Intentional with our Time
For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy…Ecclesiastes 2:26
Learning to put our trust in the Lord requires that we be intentional with our time. We grow in wisdom and understanding as we set time aside to spend with the Lord. Time spent with the Lord is never wasted. Spending time on our knees and in our scriptures helps us to better understand who He is, what He wants from us, and how He can help us in our lives. This time helps us develop a relationship with Him. It helps us learn to trust Him as a friend.
What is your favorite way to spend time with God?
Intentional with our Words
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger… A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.Proverbs 15:1 and 18
Another area of life that where we need to be intentional is in how we use our words. It is very easy to react to accusations with anger and to say hurtful things. It takes a lot of courage and self-control to choose not to be reactive in these situations, but it is possible. Some years ago, I embarked on a personal journey to become more meek. I was tired of being reactionary and wanted to feel more control over my feelings. As I worked on this, I learned a lot about anger. I learned that when my gut reaction is to argue, if I will keep quiet instead and really listen, the Spirit can do so much to help me better understand the real problem. I learned that the accusation is not usually the real issue, the real issue is usually some kind of underlying hurt or fear. When I can figure out what that is, my reaction changes from anger to a desire to resolve things. When this happens, my answers are naturally softer and the whole conversation becomes more productive. My soft answers literally turn away the anger. Sometimes I have to walk away and pray before I can do this. Doing this first, God can calm me and soften my heart, opening it to be more receptive to the other person’s concerns, fears, and pain. I am far from perfect at this, but I have appreciated these realizations so much. Being meek is not being weak, rather it is not being easily ruffled.
A great promise is made to us in Proverbs 16:32, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” When we become meek, we have great strength and power but we are in complete control of it. Meekness gives us the ability to bring peace to our relationships as we practice self-control and not reacting with anger. Anger is not the Lord’s way. When we are intentional in trying to do it His way, He will help us and we will be blessed.
Can you remember an occasion when you chose to not react with anger and felt love instead?
Intentional with our Actions
He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.Proverbs 22:9
The last area of intention the lesson addresses is our actions. As children of God, we have been blessed with so much! And where much is given, much is required. God expects us to use the things that we have been blessed with and share them with others. It is not just about giving our bread, but giving our love. A bountiful eye is one that looks around and sees the needs of others, wants to help them, and follows through. There are so many ways we can bless others if we are willing and intentional. God will bless us each with opportunities in our lives where we can use the gifts and talents we’ve been given to help others. These invitations will be unique and individual for each of us. Sometimes our wealth is what will be required. Other times it will be a willingness to sit with someone and listen to them vent about their frustrations. Or maybe it will be noticing that someone needs help with their children, their home or their yard. The trick is being intentional in looking for where we are needed.
What are some of the opportunities you have been given to share your blessings with others?
I know that as we are intentional in our lives, in where we spend our time, how we use our words, and what we do to help others, we will spend less time tripping over ourselves and more time drawing closer to our Savior. We will feel His peace and joy more abundantly in our lives.
The Primary Manual for Come Follow Me is perfect for families with young children!
Free Coloring page downloads to help supplement your lesson:
Primary Insights for Come Follow Me videos –
Song 1: So Good by DOE
Song 2: Make a Difference by Danny Gokey