Good intentions can eat relationships for lunch and heap guilt on you faster than you can say, “I should have…” A caring thought or great idea that goes nowhere, and does nothing can actually do damage. Been there? Someone makes a commitment to you then backs out last minute? A friend offers to help you out during a rough time but never shows? Don’t get your feathers ruffled all over again, because if you’re like me, you have probably done the same.

The truth is we are just not that awesome sometimes. We drop the ball, forget a commitment, lose interest, mean well but then we can’t find time to do the good thing that we intended to do.

Before you start beating yourself up, thinking of all the things you wanted to do, meant to do, should have done, but never did, we are all on this messy journey. I don’t believe that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. According to God, it’s paved with prideful, hard hearts that don’t think they need him.

Let’s talk about “good”.

So many times we know, without a doubt, the good and needed step to be taken. We simply get lured away long enough to let go of our intention, much like letting go of a helium balloon. How easily our good intentions slip away from us and soon become a far away dot in the sky.

We believe the whispers telling us, “you can do it tomorrow”, ” you can get to that later.” Or we simply get distracted by the cares of this world, even other good intentions. What once seemed so important, that it felt almost urgent, now appears in the rear view mirror, and there’s no time to turn around and go back for it.

For some of us, guilt and shame set in as the clock tells us we are out of time. As I watch my father growing more feeble each day, I experience waves of guilt washing over me. So much time has gone by, so little left, and I know I could have loved him better. I should have prayed for him more.

As we move through life at such a fast pace, we run the danger of missing the opportunities that are God’s intentions for us. A meal for a new neighbor, a phone call to an aging parent, a late-night conversation with our teenager, changes to our diet and lifestyle, or a moment alone in prayer with the Lord could change everything. For someone.

We just aren’t here very long, and moments disappear before our eyes like our breath in the winter air. Life will make our choices for us, unless we step up with intentionality and purpose and seize the moments that we are given.

One thing we can do is be careful what we say. Out of the love in our hearts for someone, we offer our time, prayer, or help. We really want to do something, but maybe it’s best not to talk about it at all. Just do it. My husband always says it’s better to under-promise and over-deliver.

Like telling someone, “I’ll pray for you.” Just pray for them in that moment, right there in the grocery aisle or on the phone. If you’re thinking you’d like to make a meal for a new mom, just make the dinner and drop it off. Don’t offer and then never follow through with action.

If you know God is telling you to do something, make a change, speak encouragement, then do it. Today. Now. For most of us, our “later” quickly becomes a “never”.

Our Father in Heaven is so unbelievably gracious. His mercies are new each day, and he can bring beauty from our ashes. Yet, our days here on this planet are already numbered. The good intentions we allow to be missed opportunities are on us.

I have several children who are runners. When I go to a track meet or cross country race, I try to find a spot, in the last stretch of the race to cheer on my kids. As they near the finish line with an opponent close behind, you better believe I let them know. I yell, “he’s right behind you! Kick it in!” I feel God doing that in my life at times. He is there, cheering me on and yelling for me, not at me. This is it. There’s not much time left. Go hard! 

Life is precious. The cares of this world can be all-consuming, can’t they? Work, finances, parenting, maintaining our stuff, hobbies, health issues. Don’t worry. God sees you and he knows your heart and situation. In his goodness, I believe he offers moments to us all, wherever we are and in those moments we have the freedom to say, “yes” to him. Don’t compare your opportunities to those of others. Be faithful and obedience to the ones you’re given.

Good intentions lead us down a paths of regret, guilt, and shame. Good intentions can hurt a relationship. Yet, when we have those good and loving thoughts and ideas from God and we act on them, someone’s world changes, even if it’s just for a moment.

Listen to the voice of the Father. God’s intentions for you are good. Will you step out and walk in them today while there is still time?

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13

All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:37