In the article, Simply Being Intentional in 2024, we looked at the need to simply be intentional to act if we want to see real change. Creating a resolution, or goal, whether at the beginning of a year or any other time, is great, but so often the resolution never moves to consistent action. The intention never becomes being intentional. There are different reasons for this as we examined last time, but there is one important element that plays a big role in taking a step into a somewhat unknown future: trust.
Question: is it easier to take a step when you know you will reach the destination, or when there is a certain level of uncertainly around your ability to reach it? This is an easy question to answer, isn’t it? Of course, we are much more willing to move forward when we are assured that result will meet our expectations. The problem is we rarely have this assurance. Think about it–how often in life are you really sure a step you take will get you to your desired destination?
You decide to eat healthier and exercise believing you will lose some weight. You are really hoping your pain and suffering will take a few inches off or allow you to do something physically that you cannot do, but do you really know it will happen? Yes, the experts, and maybe historical evidence, tells you it should, but is there really a guarantee?
One of the most well-known and often repeated phrases in the world is, “there are no guarantees in life.” In fact, Benjamin Franklin, upon the completion of the Constitution of the United States famously said, “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
This is definitely the case when it comes to living an impactful life and making a difference in the lives of others. As someone who has spent a lot of time taking steps to bring hope to others, I can attest to the lack of a guarantee in this life. There have been many instances when we have had the “perfect plan” that should have ended up with a beautiful story of life-change only to find ourselves asking “what happened” when everything falls apart. I talk about a few of these stories, including an agriculture project in Nicaragua, in my book Hope Realized. Sometimes the best plans with the best execution still end up in less-than-ideal results.
So, where does that leave us? Even when we are intentional, the end result is still uncertain. How do we live an intentional life in the midst of such uncertainty? We have to simply trust.
You might be thinking, “easy for you to say.” However, we do it all the time without thinking. When you get in the car and drive, you are trusting that your brakes will stop you, your tires will grip the road properly, and that other drivers will drive safely. Are these guaranteed? Well, if you have ever experienced the opposite, you know the answer is no. Life is a series of acts of trust, sometimes small and sometimes big.
It is in light of this reality we can choose to be intentional about creating change, whether in our own lives or the lives the others. The key is putting your trust in the right place. For me, there is only one place that, when everything else is stripped away, is worthy of trust. It is the same source from which real hope derives: the God who loves us and created us on purpose. It is in knowing that He is in control and is for me that allows me to take intentional steps toward real change.
Does this mean that everything always works out? Of course not. See above. What it does mean is that when all else fails, I know there is still hope and the story is not over. It also allows me to trust others and be more gracious because they are not my ultimate source of significance and hope. Even if they fail, my feet are still grounded on a foundation that never will.
This has been critical as I have been intentional about living an impactful life. The truth is I have faced many instances of discouragement and disappointment. I have wanted to give up at time. It is in remembering who I trust in that has allowed me to continue to remain hope-filled. It has given me what I need to be act intentionally trusting not in a guaranteed result but in a trustworthy foundation that holds all things together.
Do you want to live a more intentional, impactful life? You need to simply trust. However, this is just the beginning. When your trust leads you to intentional action, your next step matters. Trust does not remove our responsibility. Instead, it gives us the freedom to make the most of the opportunity we have been given. More on this next time.
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