Intentional = done on purpose; deliberate.

On the first morning of The Hideaway Experience four-day marriage intensive we start off with a devotional from John 5:1-9. The passage of scripture reads like this:

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie–the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’

‘Sir,’ the invalid replied. ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’

Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

It’s an interesting verse to start off a marriage intensive.

But here’s why.

Not everyone wants to get well.

“Do you want your marriage to get well?” is the question we ask the four couples that are present. Just because they are there doesn’t mean they want their marriage to get well.

I used to think that the question Jesus posed to the man at the pool was a dumb question. It just didn’t make sense to me. The man seemed pretty committed since he has been showing up for 38 years.

But showing up does not = being intentional. Like you and I, the man had a number of excuses of why he couldn’t get well.

And anxiety loves unintentionality. It allows it to live in the anxious land of “what ifs” where one really never has to commit to a course of action.

So to be intentional is to stop with the excuses and make a choice. It puts you on the path to transform your anxiety in a positive way.

What kind of excuses do you have?

I’m too busy.

It’s too hard.

It’s not worth it.

If you want to have a great marriage you have to be intentional about it. It’s not enough that you co-exist with your spouse like roommates.

If you want to be a great parent you have to be intentional about it. It’s not enough that you provide the basics.

If you want to be great at your vocation you have to be intentional. It’s not enough to just show up and go through the motions.

So ask yourself a few questions…

What do you want to be great at?

Are you being intentional about it?

Why not?

What do you need to change today?


For further reading on this subject check out Chapter 6 of my book The Anxious Christian where I talk about Getting Intentional and some of the steps we can take to live a more intentional life.

This post is the seventh in a continuing series on the topic of transforming your anxiety.

Post #6: Transforming Your Anxiety: Wrestling with God

Post #5: Transforming Your Anxiety: Beginning to ReImagine Your Anxiety as Good

Post #4: Transforming Your Anxiety: Stuck in a Rut

Post #3: Transforming Your Anxiety: Welcoming Uncertainty Into Your Life

Post #2: Transforming Your Anxiety: Embrace Your Anxiety

Post #1: Transforming Your Anxiety: Anxiety and Your Story