Fine Lines: Intentions vs Tendencies

‘Tis the season for more Fine Lines.

There’s something about the holidays that brings out our best intentions vs tendencies we seemingly are joined to at the hip. (Which is where plenty of our indiscriminate tendencies tend to land, unfortunately.)

Though this little duo goes to the mat all year long, by the time we reach December, too many bruises on the elbows have worn our wrestling skin thin. ‘January past’ is barely recalled and ‘January future’ is around the corner, all shiny and bright with glowing intentions vs tendencies we know much too well.

So what do we do?

I’ve been thinking about this very question for awhile. I’ll start with what my right arm won’t do:

  • I’m not going to write out any New Year’s Resolutions. By the time I can say Feb-roo-ary, January’s pledges to myself, however noble sounding, have melted like Frosty the Snowman.

On the other arm, I’ve thought about and put into practice things that do help. I hope they may be of help to you too:

  • Intentions are just that: mere intentions – if they don’t have action attached to them. I can intend to do the laundry and cook meals at home, but if I don’t load the washer and dryer or get busy in the kitchen, we run the risk of running around the house starving and half-naked. Of course, we can go out for dinner but that doesn’t solve the half-naked dilemma. “Clothes may make the man”, but more importantly, they make you presentable in public. Love ’em or not, if we let our tendencies run rampant over our intentions, eventually we metaphorically run out of socks and have a fridge full of condiments staring back at us when we open the refrigerator door. Action = get up and act.
  • Tendencies are often hijackers in disguise. They will arm wrestle the best of intentions for the win time after time, unless we do something different. This, my friend, is a critical aspect of coaching. The numerous tendencies that rear their heads are rooted in specifics, not some vague whatever.

If we believe that God has planted the seed of good intentions in each of us for a purpose, then it follows that our hijacking tendencies are the weeds that warrant dealing with so those good intentions can take root, thrive and grow. Tendencies are best described as leanings, bent, propensity, inclination, penchant, affinity, and predisposition. When we recognize any of those in operation (motivating our lack of action), we have a choice to make. Do I want to be a better me?

  • While some may view our doing something different as ‘acting out of character’ (which can make them excited or uncomfortable depending on their expectation), I have found it heartening to compete with myself instead of others. This too is a vital aspect of coaching. In order to find our ‘lane’ and begin to run in it without becoming distracted or intimidated, it helps to put on mental horse blinders and keep looking straight ahead. If we’re diligent, there will come a time when our experiences deepen us and our capacity enlarges; then we can and will do more. A coach can help, because tendencies left to themselves will continue to put intention’s arm to the mat.

One reason I love coaching is that God has given me eyes to see potential in the clients he brings my way. Working together, His enabling grace and wisdom combine to identify fine lines that are in operation; like tendencies that threaten to repeatedly hijack the best of intentions we really do long to fulfill.

When the hijacker is exposed and doing something different is determined and acted upon, both the client and the coach get to celebrate the victory! Forward movement is like honey.

As the year hurries on to its expected end, there are as many intentions vs tendencies combinations as there are individuals. They can range from life-altering status to a tiny turn on the ship’s wheel, unaware of what the smallest of intentions followed through on will grow to produce.

What Fine Lines of Intentions vs Tendencies might you identify as a fresh new year approaches?

Here to help others live life forward! You’re welcome to contact me. I’m stocked up on hijack spray 🙂

~ Nancy

Photo credit: free CC0 Creative Commons

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  1. Love this post, Nanc. As I work my way through this novel, my tendency is to do anything else but write. Avoidance. Ugh. However, onward, it is. On the goals? Well, I’ll do those come January, but NOT resolutions. That’s a waste of time for sure! Thanks for your encouragement, my friend.

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