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Last week I attended a trip to the Boundary Waters with a group of five guys from my church and twenty plus gentlemen from another church. In preparation for the trip we were asked to read the book “What on Earth Am I Here For?” by Pastor Rick Warren. On our trip we read the final four days of readings in the book and discussed them in small groups. We were able to relate to each other on topic such as anger and marriage struggles. We discussed the fact that many of us would return from trips such as this and incorporate changes in our marriages and in our interactions with our children. However, these changes tend to last for a week or two for most, shorter for some, and longer for others. What stopped these changes from being sustained? It is easy while at a retreat to make changes. After all, we are removed from the stressors that “make us” angry. Truth is, nothing can “make us” anything. Our feelings are our choice. How we respond to a situation or interaction is up to us. When I come home after work and the kids do not have chores done or they are fighting or they have made a big mess, it is easy to become angry. Some would even say that I am justified if I yell at them or am angry at them. When I do not help my wife around the house and instead expect her to take care of everything, people would say that she is justified if she is angry. Just because something may be justified (and I am using that term very loosely at the moment) does not mean that our anger is just or appropriate. Our anger will actually create more issues that it helps. If I don’t want to lash out in anger, if I want to be a better husband and a better father, if I want to show more love to my family, then I need to be intentional. Intentional simply means that you are deliberate in your actions. I need to be intentional in my consideration for my wife and support and listen to her. I have to be intentional in holding my tongue instead of letting the anger rush out of my mouth. I have to be intentional with the changes I want to make in order to make them sustainable. On the Boundary Waters trip, we were intentional when we listened to each other. We were intentional when we helped each other out when someone struggled. We were intentional when others needed encouragement. In order to be intentional, there are some simple steps that can be done. You first need to examine yourself, examine your environment, and recognize that you have choices. Second you need to identify a purpose, set goals, stay focused, and learn from others around you. Ask for help when necessary and admit mistakes when they are made. Is it easy? Nope! Is it possible? Yep!!!!! Audrey Hepburn once said, “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m possible. It’s time to stop short-changing ourselves in life. It’s time to live life with a purpose and be intentional.

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