Toward the end of last week, I was feeling a little low. I wasn’t particularly bothered by anything, just a little run down. Maybe it was just that that weekend happened to be the last go round of a very busy series of weeks. Either way, I was ready to sit down for a good devotional and quiet time to refresh my spirit.

As I sat down on Monday, I tried to remember last time I’d given God more than a passing thought. I’d been busy the past few weeks, so a lot of my prayers were more along the lines of a quick thank you or fleeting requests. I hadn’t really sought God or shared my heart with him in a while. No wonder I needed a recharge.

As I enjoyed this much needed quiet time, God used it to remind me of the importance of being intentional. First and foremost, I need to be intentional in my relationship with him. Incidental moments of prayer aren’t enough; I need thoughtful, purposeful time to meditate on His word.

This became even clearer as I tended to my poor little cactus later that day. I’ve had this cactus for two years now, and it was originally one of four plants I used to decorate my apartment balcony. Cacti and succulents seemed like the perfect plant for me, as they require little skill or care. They all did well that first summer, but then I had to bring them in for the winter. That’s when I lost the first plant. The other three survived the winter, but they weren’t as vibrant as before. This past winter has seen the demise of the two succulents, but my little cactus has hung in there and even managed to grow.

I’d like to take credit for this, but I can’t. Sure, I’ve watered it every so often as I remembered, I’ve moved it into the window on a few sunny days, but mostly I’ve let it sit on my bookcase in winter and my balcony in summer. As I looked at it that afternoon, its spindly little arms reaching for the sun but barely able to hold themselves up, I scolded myself. How could I expect this little cactus to survive if I didn’t do anything to take care of it? And so, I gave it a little water (it had been about a month), cut up a coffee stirrer to prop up some of the heavier arms, and put it in the sunniest part of the window. It has actually grown a bit, even in just one week.

It all goes to show the importance of intentionality. We must be purposeful in our actions and relationships, or else we might end up w/ a spindly and sickly little cactus, instead of a strong and thriving one.

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