Life is about being intentional. However, sometimes, your intentions don't always turn out the way you intend for them to. Sometimes it's about your obedience rather than actually ending in results you anticipated.
Last week I was driving to work when I heard someone on the radio say, "God is more interested in your obedience than your sacrifice." I began to ponder that for a while and how that really plays itself out in my life. I think of times when I would "give up" something believing it would honor God in my self denial. Then I think of other times when I was truly obedient to what He was calling me to and often times they didn't turn out the way I expected, but rather have developed into something I couldn't have even imagined.
Sometimes I think we believe God has called us to a life of complete self deprivation. We, as Christians, can easily slip into following man made rules or turning God's laws into something they are not and we miss out on what He is offering us. We begin to focus on what we can and can't do rather than keeping our focus on Him and what He CAN and DOES do.
I would love to say that I have a perfect illustration for this, but I don't have a short one. I think my life IS an illustration of this. I can look back at times where I missed the mark and times where I hit it. Many of the times I hit it, the outcome was far from my expectations, but because I was obedient I was prepared for what was to come and things turned out for the best. I also think of times where I denied myself and tried to do my own thing without being obedient and while I may have still had encounters and experiences with God along the way, often I found that until I was truly ready to be obedient again I just felt stuck. I could sense that something was off and that things weren't as they should be.
Perhaps it's time to begin trying to intentionally be obedient to God. Perhaps we need to listen closer to what He is asking of us. Perhaps it's time to reflect on what He HAS asked of us and begin by being obedient in those areas so we are able to hear Him when He calls us to something greater.