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Setting Your Intention for 2023

Listen to this week’s Devotional here.


Author: Linda Kowatch


And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21


This week we find ourselves still in Christmastide as we celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas. The anticipation of the birth of the Christ Child is over. Christmas Day has come and gone and now we are left to bask in the afterglow of knowing the Messiah did come to earth. But if you are like me, my mind is moving forward. I start asking, “What’s next?” I am all too guilty of looking at the calendar to see what is next.  Maybe there is a New Year’s Eve party. Maybe the Buffs will be in a bowl game next year. Maybe I should take down the tree before I get too busy.  This all leads me to ask the big questions, “What will 2023 bring?” “What should I do this upcoming year?” It is at this moment I realize that I need to slow down.  Maybe I need to ask a different question, “What is my intention for 2023?”


In past years I thought about New Year’s resolutions and/or goals. While those are important, they offer me a path that leads to a pass/fail grade. Usually I am failing by January 12th (ok, maybe January 3rd). This year I am changing the question to add nuance to it. “What is the intention for my life in these coming months?”  Examples of intentions might include, I intend to:

  • show compassion to those around me
  • be grateful for what I have
  • connect with nature
  • let go of what no longer brings me hope or joy
  • pursue activities and people that nourish my soul
  • be present
  • be the person God created me to be


The reason I am moving toward intentions is because they are more open-ended, create space for imagination and remove limitations. They allow me to change course when something doesn’t work. They allow me to imagine ways that I never considered before. Intentions align the Spirit within me with how I want to it to be manifested in the world around me. I believe that these intentions then guide the strategies and goals in my life in big and small ways. As I continue living this life my intentions will transform my daily living.


Richard Rohr refers to aging as ripening. He says, “Ripening, at its best, is a slow, patient learning, and sometimes even a happy letting go – a seeming emptying out to create readiness for a new kind of fullness – which we are never sure about.”  I am going to continue to ripen in 2023, but will I just ripen and spoil or will I ripen guided by intentions to a sweetness that I have never known? How will this year be different than any year before?


As we set intentions for 2023 they have the potential to not only impact us this week, but all the weeks yet to come. They also impact the lives of those around us and all of creation.  Maybe this year we will be more assured of God’s presence and shalom in our lives. And when we turn to the right or when we turn to the left, our ears shall hear a word behind us, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”


Gracious and Loving God, You walk before us, beside us and behind us. Your Spirit is continually guiding us when we are intentional to listen for your voice. May You continue to guide us in this upcoming year so that we can live as you fully intended. Amen.

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