Week 4 Day 6: Intention

Question: Make a list of three intentions for your work life today. What difference would these make?

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Transcript of Video:

One of the distinctive features about monastic life is that it’s an intentional life – which is why a community like ours lives by a Rule of Life. We tried to state our intention, the way that we want to live together. And I think this principle of intentionality is important, too, as we consider our work: to be thinking clearly about what is it that I’m being asked to do or called to do, or what is it that I’m inspired to do, and to focus on the things that are essential. In my own experience, I find myself too often just saying “Yes” to a multitude of requests, without really carefully considering whether this is – whether I can really be enthusiastic or intentional and focused on this at this time.

So I think that kind of intentionality needs also times of reflection, times of stepping back and taking a longer view or a bigger view of how this piece of work fits into the overall scheme. So I think almost the busier we get, the more we need these times of reflections; and the more fast-paced our life is, the more we need to find times to slow down and step back and ask ourselves important questions about: is this something that I’m passionate about? Does this really tap into my talents? And is this something that the world really needs? And to ask important, deeper question like that so that we can be more intentional about the work that we’re doing and the way that we’re doing it.

-Br. David Vryhof


  1. Janet on April 9, 2019 at 19:05

    (1) Believe in when I know that it’s a no and not a yes
    (2) Mentor when I say no, send the person away with ideas and resources – will take the same time as ambivalence takes or explaining why it’s a no
    (3) Add music to my day, keep it fresh and inspiring

  2. Carney on March 29, 2019 at 07:27

    1) Examine my motives for action – is it about me or is it to promote another into the communal life?
    2) Realize time is a gift but it is also steady – use it well in organizing my day
    3) Maintain a little more focus.

  3. Brenda on March 27, 2019 at 08:59

    Read Lenten Meditation. Read Power of the Praying Wife and Parent. Listen to Our Daily Bread online.

  4. Gwedhen Nicholas on March 26, 2019 at 09:54

    1. invite Christ’s help
    2. do what I do to the best of my ability
    3. trust God

    Because I am at one with God and doing the best I can through Him, my work will be inspired and beautiful.

  5. Ruth on March 23, 2015 at 08:05

    1) to keep my focus on work
    2) to stay focused on each project
    3) to follow through and complete each project and not allow interruptions.
    (catching up, I’ve been away for a week)

  6. Susan Dredge on March 17, 2015 at 16:50

    Thank you Br David for your thought-provoking words and for the contributors for their inspirational input. The words rang so true in my life. I now have the pleasure of retirement but in some ways it is now harder to say “no”, not having the excuse of being at work. I think my three intentions would be not to feel guilty at saying “no” to a request; secondly to petition God if what I am being asked to do is what He wants me to do and thirdly to take that time to reflect, to pray and to think about the task I have been asked to do. Not to just “knee jerk” the immediate “yes” reaction and perhaps regret that decision on reflection. ‘Reflect before Replying’ I think has to be my thought.

  7. Lissa Davis on March 17, 2015 at 10:52

    1. Think before I say yes to another shift.
    2. Am I doing my best for the client?
    3. Do I really want to be here?

    This will cause me to decide if I’m working this shift because I care or just to earn more.

  8. Karen on March 16, 2015 at 12:37

    1. Pace myself today and every day so that I am not overwhelmed when the deadline gets closer.
    2. Figure out what my priorities are today and do those things.
    3. Determine an appropriate stopping time and stick to it.

  9. Terri on March 16, 2015 at 10:01

    My first and foremost intention is to continue looking for employment.
    Continue to prepare food vouchers for the outreach ministry the church supports.
    Continue to take care of myself.

  10. Margaret Drumm on March 15, 2015 at 23:35

    1. To faithfully worship God in community.
    2. To nurture my family, physically and spiritually.
    3. To encourage and work alongside those who seek to teach the youth in my congregation about Jesus.

  11. Charlotte Williams on March 15, 2015 at 11:45

    Many years ago I was telling a very weighty Friend that when I paid my taxes, I INTENDED that they should be used for parks and roads and children. He was out raged with me. This wasn’t the way to do it. I still think I was and am right. When your actions are very limited in many ways, I think that it is an option. I want the world to work,I don’t want children to be hungry, I want the government to work. Maybe if I say that this is an intended prayer, it’s better.

  12. Mark on March 14, 2015 at 19:31

    1. Get to work on time
    2. Stay out of office politics
    3. Leave on time
    Get there on time because when I’m its seems my day will be lousy, you don’t get involved anything going in the office so mind your business and when I leave on time I realize the job is important but its not my life!

  13. Jana Everett on March 14, 2015 at 16:32

    Three intentions for my work life today
    1. Grade fairly–paying attention to what each student can do well and not so well.
    2. Think of ways to have the students engage more with the course material.
    3. Figure out or make some progress figuring out what you want the students to get out of the course.
    What difference these would make?
    1. Students would gain more
    2. I would have more of a strategy of doing my work
    3. I would learn more

  14. Susan Zimmerman on March 14, 2015 at 09:32

    …in the morning wake up to PRISM with some Louisiana holy keyboard…start the day by thinking of the transcendent.
    …out the door, turning the key into the secular, and CONSTANT VIGILANCE comes on, which is prayer all day long
    …turn everything off w/running, reading and ready to sleep

  15. shawn on March 14, 2015 at 09:32

    To pray to my Employer (God) for clarity about what His will is for me today, to do it mindfully and to the best of my ability and to be happy with it.

  16. Lisa on March 14, 2015 at 09:15

    Okay, this is something I could do when I worked in an office, but once I was a stay at home mom, was impossible. They know when you are withdrawing into yourself ( even to take a shower) and feel threatened. And one is so tired from being 100% emotionally available 24 hours a day (including all night) that one can either go mad, become deeply resentful and ill, or make a choice. I felt like I was on a boat in a tempest tossed sea, and I chose to surrender, completely and absolutely, for the duration of this trip. To be available to them even if it destroyed everything I once believed was essential. Needs. Goals. Intentionality.

    I had practiced meditation for 18 years prior to having children. It was frustrating to me that I couldn’t manage to sit as a mom: I had imagined myself in the lotus posture with a peaceful infant ( almost like a spiritual accessory!) on my lap. She arrived with a very different journey and needed me to walk with her. When she slept, I collapsed asleep. All my spiritual identity looked like vanity, compared to the ever present call she brought.

    The surprise is that no spiritual practice bore so much fruit, for me, as that surrender. I guess that moment of choice was my intention. Though I almost didn’t recover, I now see that tsunami-like time in my life as a gift from God. It destroyed “spiritual me” and taught me how to be fiercely present, no matter what.

  17. Christopher Engle Barnhart on March 14, 2015 at 07:20

    1. To learn to listen more intently.
    2. To forgive myself for my errors.
    3. To have more Faith, Love and Hope.

  18. Jana Everett on March 14, 2015 at 00:47

    I will take tomorrow to reflect about the rest of the semester and how to be more intentional in my teaching–what are my goals and how can I improve my strategies.
    I also am involved in several church projects–where/how are my gifts being directed in those.
    then there is Mira’s visit.
    Also do I want a relationship with x. He doesn’t have much time for it.

  19. Kathy on March 14, 2015 at 00:18

    1. Pray throughout the day- thanks, help, wow- take intentional God stops. I did this today and it was so calming and centering in a very stressful day.

    2. See others through Christ’s eyes and remind myself each is God’s child – so I should respond to then accordingly. Strive to be kind, gentle, and compassionate to everyone I meet (even while driving 🙂
    Makes dealing with frustrated and demanding interactions much more positive and helpful.

    3. Reflect Christ’s light and love in all I do- dedicate my work to Him, according to His purpose. So full circle back to praying throughout my day.

  20. Karen Fast on March 13, 2015 at 23:32

    This will be for my work tomorrow since I am writing at the end of this day. Tomorrow I am to be present at a 4 hour gathering, including worship, lunch and speaker, for women in my diocese. As a retired priest, I am serving as Anglican Church Women chaplain. My 4-year term ends at the end of April. The 3 intentions: 1) be aware of the presence of God during the gathering; 2) be totally present to whomever I am with during the gathering; and 3) leave at 2 pm when the meeting is to end. These 3 intentions will keep me faithful to the task and fair to myself in a volunteer role I am glad will soon end.

  21. David Cranmer on March 13, 2015 at 22:46

    The 3 intentions that I hope were present with my work this day are: (1) to be present to the people I am with; (2) to strive to do the best job possible; and (3) to be pleasant to work with and be around.
    As for what difference these would make, I want to think that they would help the people I work with to be more relaxed, and if the chance comes up to talk about Jesus, my witness would not be compromised by my poor behavior.

  22. jane on March 13, 2015 at 22:24

    1. I need to take time to reflect on what Must be done at home and for Church before doing it. This requires more time for prayer
    2. I have apassion for writing and know I will go on writing as long as I can. I am finishing apicture book now.
    3. Taking time to serve a nice meal to my husband or anyone who comes. Hospitality is important
    4. I love being involved in my parish with pastoral care.

  23. Sarah Acland on March 13, 2015 at 21:42

    I list intentions every day. They rapidly become unmanageable, and the day ends with a frustrated feeling and many unchecked items. To limit intentions to three seems wise.
    For one, I mean to go on reading these posts and reviewing them from time to time. The posts often expand the two-minute presentation, and often lead to interesting and helpful new lines of thought.
    For another, I mean to stop saying yes every time.
    That leaves me with one intention for each day.
    It’s enough!

  24. Harold Pound on March 13, 2015 at 18:16

    As a chaplain for up to 40 homeless men I want to be a better servant to them and to Jesus, show them where the love of God/Jesus can be found, and how to have fun in their present circumstances.

    The difference these three things would make is to help with their worrying and their attitude about life and where they find themselves in respite.

  25. Sophfronia on March 13, 2015 at 16:30

    My work today included being a guest on the WNPR’s Colin McEnroe radio show and these were the 3 intentions I set for myself going in:

    1.) Be present and listen well so I can offer useful thoughts to the conversation.
    2.) Support local women writers. (I knew I would have an opportunity to make endorsements.)
    3.) Enjoy my time with my friends in the studio.

    What difference would these make? The first helps the host and the producers so they can do their job well of creating a good radio show. The second allows me to use this great opportunity to provide exposure for sister writers so more people can benefit from their excellent work. The third allows me to take care of myself and remember to have fun. I think I fulfilled all three intentions and I’m still buzzing with the good energy of having done so. I’m truly grateful. #SSJETime #intention

  26. Kimber on March 13, 2015 at 15:47

    First, I intend to think more clearly and deeply about every new task that I take on, to discern whether it is something that is truly part of my ministry and falls within my range of abilities. Second, I intend to give my whole and best effort to those things that I have discerned are part of my calling, including my life-long profession of college teaching—even when I’m feeling discouraged about it. Third, I intend to trim away from my commitments those things that I feel no passion or calling for, or things that someone else would be better suited to doing. I even have a fourth intention to list: I intend to look for new pursuits and assignments that I discern would stretch me and help me push forward my spiritual, professional, relational, and emotional development.

  27. Michael on March 13, 2015 at 13:19

    To stop thinking ” I’m the only one” with this or that issue. Try to be little less harsh about myself, and to remember God doesn’t not make junk

    • NA on March 14, 2015 at 08:11

      Of course you are not alone. 🙂

  28. Christine white on March 13, 2015 at 13:03

    Work by a schedule. Try to remove myself from employees problems. Don’t expect people to do as I do.

  29. Bill on March 13, 2015 at 11:59

    The theme I hear is to be authentic – to God and to self:
    1) be present to staff and visitors and see them as Christ in my midst.
    2) Take a breathe now and then – relieve the pre-Holy Week liturgical angst!
    3) Go see a home-bound parishioner I’ve been meaning to visit, but have been claiming to be “too busy.”

  30. Verlinda Henning on March 13, 2015 at 11:31

    1. Be more focused and intentional in taking on new things–today’s meditation goes hand in hand with the earlier one on boundaries. Saying “no” isn’t a bad thing. Taking on more to (whether I realize it or not) feed my ego is.

    2. Be present in the moment–very hard for me to do, because I’m a compulsive planner/organizer who makes her living thinking 3 or more steps ahead.

    3. Use the gift of time wisely…allowing time for reflection and rest.

  31. gwedhen nicholas on March 13, 2015 at 11:14

    1. I’ll bring glory to God
    2. I’ll pray before I start and when I finish
    3. I’ll work with intentionality; to be aware of the presence of God.
    These things will bring God into my work, and make it holy.

  32. Patricia on March 13, 2015 at 11:13

    1 – Put finances for 3 separate accounts in order today. I always feel better when all the bills are paid and the checkbook balances.
    2 – Call a friend to see if she will accompany me to the art museum next week — if not, I will go by myself because the flowers will feed my soul.
    3 – Do laundry because my husband needs clean clothes — might be able to put off until tomorrow. If I do it today, however, Saturday will be mostly work free.

  33. Randy Ruffin on March 13, 2015 at 11:08

    I’m participating in a workshop on facilitating women’s Peace Circles today:
    1. Go to listen and learn and be reticent about jumping in with my two bits. Take the opportunity to get to know one or two people who are new to me.
    2. Although I said “yes” to this in part to support the person leading it, continue thinking and praying about how I may be meant to put my learning into practice.
    3. Be on the alert for how I can best help practically.

    Peace Circles, which bring together a group of 8 – 12 women from diverse backgrounds over 6 weeks to explore how they can be “creators of peace” in their families, communities and beyond, are at work in many countries. There is a real need for them here – with our racial, political, immigrant, Muslim, etc. divisions and I hope to be able to contribute in some way. I pray I can “walk the talk” through this weekend.

  34. Nicki on March 13, 2015 at 10:25

    After a prayer asking God’s help –
    1. to apply my whole self to each task, leaving other concerns and plans aside for the time being
    2. to focus carefully on the task, itself
    3. to be congenial with other people involved

    Each job might go more smoothly with less stopping to see whether everything is remembered and in order.
    The task might turn out to feel good and even peaceful.
    There will be less stress from interaction with other people.
    Thank you Brother David- I will post my suggestions in my kitchen.

  35. Tracy on March 13, 2015 at 10:09

    3 intentions include actively listening to my colleagues & trying to balance that with tasks I need to do for my job; learning as much as I can from different plAces to professionally pass ideas to young people I provide a service for; to continue to look to use my creativity (ideas as well as the arts) in my job.

  36. Elizabeth S on March 13, 2015 at 09:30

    – will doing this work allow me to love myself and my children?
    – can I do this work in a loving way with my coworkers/team?
    – if I can’t answer Yes, to the above, then I consider what do I need to change the No to a Yes, ask my boss for what I need (help, time, guidance, give it to someone else)

  37. NA on March 13, 2015 at 09:20

    My intention is to set aside the time and space in my life to contemplate the questions Br. David poses. I find that I tend to get far too caught by the things that “need” doing, responding like a fireman to what is on fire at the moment. My spirit functions best and is at its most creative and focused when I am intentional rather than being pulled in too many directions. Some days, this is more of a challenge than others, and the series of unfortunate noises currently coming from my kitchen would seem to indicate that perhaps this, too, is going to be one of *those* days. All the more important for me to turn inward and think on Br. David’s questions!

  38. Dana on March 13, 2015 at 09:09

    1. To look for opportunities to delegate and there by empower someone else to use their gifts.
    2. To be intentional about the time off, whether holidays, day off or specific times of day like lunch. By taking the time to recharge I will be better able to concentrate on the task at hand and focus during those times knowing personal time will be available for personal task and interests.
    3. To focus more on the needs of people than administrative tasks when possible. This will create relational opportunities.

  39. Linda B on March 13, 2015 at 09:02

    1. Be a channel thought which God’s love can flow to those I serve.
    2. Pray and turn the day over to the Lord that I might do what he asks.
    3. Give 100% of my attention to the task at hand. Focus on the present.

  40. Dee Paine on March 13, 2015 at 08:51

    1.) Work and study intentionally, remembering why I’m doing this.
    2.) Live mindfully today, not worrying about how I will get it all done. Do what I can in the moment I have right now.
    3.) Make God a part of my day, thanking Him, praising Him, and turning inward to meet Him when I feel the need.

    If I do all of these things, my day will be much less stressful and it will become more like a prayer of thanksgiving and honor to God. I have been sick for a week and have gotten behind in so many areas. Yesterday, I felt so hopeless and afraid and when I turned my fears inward and took my concerns to our Lord in prayer, I realized that I was given this “down time” for a reason… To seek Him and admit that I can’t do it alone, but that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

    • David Cranmer on March 13, 2015 at 22:38

      Thank you for this reminder. I too had a stressful day, and somehow in God’s grace I got through it.

      • Dee Paine on March 14, 2015 at 10:19

        I’m so glad you found a way to push through. I know it isn’t always easy.

  41. John on March 13, 2015 at 08:45

    1. Prepare for an annual review
    2. Use Time wisely
    3. Recognize appoach to a sticky matter

  42. Lucia S. on March 13, 2015 at 08:40

    Three intentions for my work life today:
    1. Complete my preparations for my lesson.
    2. Don’t allow myself to be distracted by ‘shiny objects.’
    3. Do the extra work on my grading rubrics that I never seem to find time to do, but would make it easier for everyone grading to do their jobs.
    The difference these three things would have would be to allow me to go on leave for a week to visit my 88 year old father and spend a few quality days with my husband with a clear mind and ability to focus intentionally on them. It would make me feel like I have done all I can do for the areas for which I am solely responsible, but impact others. Finally, it would force me to say no to distractions – something I find very challenging!

  43. Kenneth Knapp on March 13, 2015 at 08:35

    1. To work on things that are important.
    2. To strive for objectivity and to challenge my own assumptions.
    3. To be more charitable towards the opinions of others.

  44. N on March 13, 2015 at 08:31

    1) To view others as an end, not a means.
    2) To clear some time at lunch today for reflection and meditation.
    3) To try and see each situation as an opportunity for grace rather than as a hassle or problem.

  45. Karen on March 13, 2015 at 08:31

    1. Start playing my horn again. I can share this gift of God professionally (with LOTS of practice), for others in community, and for myself because I just love to play.
    2. Be realistic about what I can do in my ‘day job.’ I want to do everything, but it’s just not realistic without having to give up a part of me.
    3. Stop judging others based on whether or not they meet MY expectations.

  46. debbie on March 13, 2015 at 08:26

    1 to make someone smile
    2. To make someone’s day better
    3. To enjoy what I do the best I can

    • bob on March 13, 2015 at 18:24

      Those are cracking. Will aim for them tomorrow- a day off at last.

  47. Kathy B on March 13, 2015 at 08:25

    1. To stay focused on the kids during instruction and on the paperwork during planning – and not let the other interfere
    2. To make sure I’m responding to what is said or done at that moment, not what I’ve just finished with
    3. To make a space in the rush of classes to center myself in peace

  48. Kara on March 13, 2015 at 08:22

    Sh! Pray! Serve! Sets the mind and heart in the focus of God. The day is blessed for me and all those in my environment…

    • Jennifer on March 13, 2015 at 10:36

      Love this. It can be applied to everything!

    • David Cranmer on March 13, 2015 at 22:34

      This reminds me of something I can across a while back: love, pray, serve.

  49. Barbara on March 13, 2015 at 08:08

    Although not in formal “work place” and mainly in the company of a frail spouse, my intentions always are to follow ‘rules’ of compassion and tenderness, to live the Love of Christ to him. Lord, help me; Christ, help me; Spirit, help me.

  50. Jeanne on March 13, 2015 at 08:06

    1. Approach my work with confidence. It’s hard for me to be passionate about something when I am so afraid of not being up to it.
    2. Focus on the goal/outcomes (sort of the same as 1)
    3. Rationalize the process. Break it into manageable pieces and work on them sequentially.

    The hope is that this will put fear out of the equation and let me do the work I should be doing.. I believe in the work, and I need to push through myself to get there.

    • BH on March 13, 2015 at 11:03

      Thank you for articulating this so well. I am going to take this and use it for myself.

  51. Norm Anderson on March 13, 2015 at 08:05

    I will check the status of one clients
    I will focus my energies upon enjoying the next three days as I have committed to taking Friday through Sunday off from “work.”
    I will pursue my reading and prayer time.

  52. Dana Werts on March 13, 2015 at 07:30

    1. To be fully present to the one in front of me.
    2. To be continually aware of God’s voice and presence.
    3. Live with gratitude and trust in God’s love.

    • Ralph on March 13, 2015 at 07:50

      Nice…these three are really enduring and appreciated by those around you.

    • Jane on March 13, 2015 at 11:18

      These are three intentions I will try to focus on today and in the future!!

    • Tom on March 13, 2015 at 11:28

      Could not have said this any more wisely

    • Maria on March 13, 2015 at 15:14

      Indeed, thank you.

    • David Cranmer on March 13, 2015 at 22:32

      Thank you for these thoughts. i need to remember them in my own work.

  53. Virginia Brooks on March 13, 2015 at 07:11

    1. Think carefully before I speak or react and check my motives
    2. Ask myself if I am adding to in a positive way or subtracting from in a negative way
    3, Come to each conversation with kindness and care rather than the need to be heard and to push something through

  54. Page on March 13, 2015 at 06:56

    1st priority, all in, and completion,

  55. Margo on March 13, 2015 at 06:52

    Perhaps just a little effete. What a luxury intentionality is. Most people do the work that is available that will put food on the table and a roof over their heads. Their intentionality might be how they do this work. Margo

  56. Linda H. on March 13, 2015 at 06:51

    3 intentions about my work as Church Treasuer and the difference it would make.
    1. The goal is to present clear, current and accurate data to the Vestry.
    2. Ensure parishioner contributions are used wisely.
    3. All financial systems have a backup.

    The difference is that I would give my energy and effort to these tasks and leave the staff member issues to the Vestry and Senior Warden.

    Great question. Thank you for asking.

  57. Linda on March 13, 2015 at 06:41

    1. I ask God’s love be felt and be seen by others through me.
    2. Let me be the messenger of God’s words to those I come in contact with today.
    3. May I bring joy and happiness to all the people around me.

  58. Nancy W. Del Borgo on March 13, 2015 at 06:21

    Br. David is saying love yourself. Give yourself space and time to consider things, then choose wisely according to God’s will. This takes practice.

  59. Roderic Brawn on March 13, 2015 at 06:10

    The three things I intend to do in my work life today are:
    1. To practise my trumpet so I can retain the skill I have spent most of a lifetime developing with the idea that the music I make by myself and with others will be skillful and beautiful as an offering to others and to God.
    2. To take time to restore our home so that all who live in it may be comfortable and safe. To be careful of the Gift of God our home represents.
    3. To spend time kindly relating to others.

  60. Ginny Maurer on March 13, 2015 at 05:29

    1. Lead a seminar on sexual harassment in the military for business students.
    2. Welcome the speaker and visitors, and treat them with the kind of respect and graciousness that makes them comfortable sharing their life experiences.
    3. Read carefully the readings for next week, with an eye toward what kind of questions will spark interest and elicit thoughtful responses.

  61. bob on March 13, 2015 at 03:35

    1. Give the right treatment to each child/young person
    2. Challenge and support each student to move them onwards
    3. Only take on projects where I can add more than any other or will stretch me in ways that are important

    (& decline that last email that’s arrived despite the offer of cake..)

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