I wonder if you have a case of IDD.
Not ADD, which is Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADHD, which is Attention Deficit Hyper-activity Disorder.
IDD is when you have Intention Deficit Disorder. You have a deficit of intentionality. You are low on intentional living. You are weak on purposeful activity. You are dwelling on the bottom of the charts when it comes to determined decisions that advance you toward the things that matter most. Instead of being intentional, you are inattentive.
The dictionary says:
Attention: Take notice of something, you are aware of something, you consider something, and you are interested in something.
Intention: You plan, you prepare, you deliberate, you have forethought, you are willful and purposeful about what you do.
Inattentive: Not paying attention, not being considerate, not purposeful, not noticing, not involved… you are neglectful.
With those definitions, here are FOUR THINGS to know about intention (and lack of intention).
ONE: The road to You-Know-Where is paved with good intentions
Actually, I don’t believe that. I think the road to that place is paved with weak intentions, with inattentions (or no intentions), or with mis-attentions (wrong intentions).
TWO: The Deadly Sin of Sloth
The ancient spiritual teachers identified one of the seven deadly sins with inattention. Sloth is when you are sluggish or sleepy about what is important. Sloth means you are lackadaisical, lethargic, even LAZY about what matters. These spiritually wise teachers believed this was a deadly demeanor, one that would lead to the ruin of the person who was slothful.
THREE: Attention + Intention = Great Results
Along the way, I discovered that the best leaders, the most fulfilled individuals, and the most faithful Christians I knew, were highly intentional about the things that mattered most to God.
This is not rocket science. This is biblical wisdom and common sense. This is confirmed by the science of excellence, as well as daily experience. Focus on something, engage with something, and give ANYTHING sustained attention and intention, and that THING grows stronger in your life. The best leaders were highly intentional about:
Learning and personal development
These are NOT ranked in any priority, just as they came to my mind.
Because they were highly intentional about these things (which matter most to God), they tended to experience the benefits or good results of that intention-attention.
FOUR: The Cluster of Positive Traits
I don’t know if this a chicken and egg issue (which came first), but here is what I noticed.
Intentional people tended to persevere more. They hung in longer. They were all in. They were committed. They were steadfast. They seemed to have more stamina and they were certainly more resilient.
So, was it because they had those character traits that they were able to be more intentional? Or did those things develop because they were more intentional?
Like I said, it’s a chicken and egg question. But how about we START with giving something more attention and intention? Maybe as we practice those things (which like anything else good, are not automatic, but need development) we will see other desired virtues growing as well.
Don’t be spiritually diagnosed with Intention Deficit Disorder (Sloth).
Decide what matters most, then, if it truly matters most, give it the attention it needs and be intentional about that attention. Try this for 3 months on anything you choose and pay attention to the results.
And may all your roads be well-paved with the best intentions.
Having the ability to empower and resource leaders to bear much fruit that lasts. Being a part of a team of friends and missional servants committed to changing the world.