"Intentional" by Deanna Bartalini (

Created by Deanna Bartalini in using free elements.

Like many people, I choose a word for 2019. I didn’t use a word generator or take a quiz to find it though. I choose the word “intentional.” And then I made a list of 19 things to do in 2019 (an idea from the Gretchen Rubin podcast).

Why intentional? The short answer is God gave it to me. The longer answer is this: I spend lots of time trying to live up to other’s needs and expectations, forgetting to take care of what I say are my priorities in life. And I then become frustrated and maybe a bit angry. First I’m upset with others, thinking they should know better but then I realize it is my own fault. I say yes because I want to help or please or be there. And then, it comes to the end of the day and my blog post is undone, my deadline pushed back again, and my dream not becoming a reality.

We have been taught to put ourselves last, haven’t we? Serve others, as Jesus served. Do we ever stop to remember that Jesus spent 30 years getting ready to serve? Do we remember the times Jesus goes away to pray or leaves his disciples? We forget those things in our desire to serve others. We cannot be “on” all the time. Many requests people make of us are not reasonable. Or they fall into the “poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part” type of situation.

We can be intentional about our responses to others. I have promised myself to schedule my work and tasks just like I do those I get paid for. If I can help others I will, but before I rush to say yes I will check my calendar and find a time that works for both of us or maybe I will need to say no this time.

I did this today and it wasn’t easy. Short version, I set up a time to help my mom tomorrow because today was pretty booked. Yes, I could have squeezed her in but then I would be rushed instead of relaxed which makes her worry. In the end, tomorrow is better all around.

Yet we hesitate to ask for what we need. The voice in our head, dare I say, the Holy Spirit, prompts us and we reject the prompting, sometimes over and over again. Stop rejecting the wisdom you are given. Be intentional. Be who God has called you to be.

What is your word for the year?

Copyright 2019 Deanna Bartalini


About Author

Deanna G. Bartalini, MEd, MPS, is a Catholic writer, speaker, and educator. Her Bible study, invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life, is published by Our Sunday Visitor. Her website,, is for the Every Day Catholic. There you can find Deanna’s writing, free webinars on Catholicism, her podcast and social media services, and invite her to speak to your group, in person or virtually.


  1. Reading your post I think you would love a section of Fr. Josh Johnson’s new book Broken and Blessed. It talks about his journey of learning to be intentional with what to commit to. I don’t have my book right now to say the title of that section of the book but it was towards the end.

    What you describe has been an on-going part of my narrative. I have had words like simplicity (my first word). core (focusing on getting back to the foundation of what matters most 6 years after), filled (thinking about what makes me feel filled vs. empty). I have realized that it is definitely an on-going process of reflection and refining over time.

    This year my word is light.

    • Thanks Amanda, I listen to Fr. Josh’s podcast every now and then. I think most people following Jesus are reflecting and refining so we can better be who God calls us to be. I often think I’m done now, but then I realize I’m not. great word, light -it overcomes darkness.

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