New Year, New Spiritual Goals

Physical goals, resolutions to be healthier by eating cleaner and losing weight, plans to spend more quality time with those you love—these are all good goals. But the one thing that can help you do all this better is to spend more time in the Presence of the Almighty. He loves you. He wants You to know how crazy this love is He has for you. He wants to help you through every difficult situation you are going through. But a relationship with God takes effort. You don’t avoid your friends for weeks and just call them when you need something—you nurture these friendships. Same with God.

I’ve picked up some tips over the years that have helped me in my walk with God. I want to share these things in hopes that something might help you along your spiritual journey.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” 1Thesalonians 5:16-18

  1. Have a designated place to read and pray. Choose a spot in your home you can go to for some peace and quiet. If that has to change from day to day because of children or others living in your home, I recommend having a basket with the things you might need: your Bible, a journal, a pen, highlighter, and reading glasses. Add things to the environment you don’t necessarily need but that will make it more inviting—a candle, a blanket.
  2. Prayer Board. I got this idea when I went to see the movie War Room last year. I don’t have a closet I can turn into a prayer room, but this works beautifully: a portable prayer board. This has been such a powerful tool! I took a simple poster board you can fold and store anywhere. I wrote out verses and with markers and shiny colored paper for borders, I made it as pretty as possible. If you don’t have creative juices, do not let this stop you! You can print out verses, or just write them on the board. If you don’t know verses, Google whatever it is you’re needing encouragement for (such as “Bible verses for depression”). I added sticky notes up and down both sides and wrote out the names of people I pray for and their specific needs. When you tell someone you will pray for them, add their name to the list. I read all the verses first, and then get to the prayer requests. I encourage you to write out things you’re grateful for on some of those sticky notes. Going to God should never be all about asking Him for things, but to thank Him as well for Who He is in your life and all His provisions and faithfulness in the past. You can also take a picture of your board, and when you’re out and about and have the time, just look up the picture.
  3. Bible reading app on your smartphone. Another tool that has completely enhanced my spiritual life is the “You version Bible” app from LifeChurch. It’s free. It’s user-friendly. It’s incredible. One of the most frustrating things when you want to read the Bible is not having any idea where to start. If you want anything from a two-minute devotional to a plan to read the Bible in a year, it’s all here. It can send you reminders every day. Once you download this app, go to “Plans” on the bottom menu. Hit “Discover” at the top, and search among numerous plans! You will have access to the Bible in hundreds of versions and languages all at the tip of your fingers. There are more Bible apps out there—this is just the one I’ve used and can highly recommend.
  4. Take purposeful time off social media. You can go crazy and just deactivate your accounts for a time, but if that’s too much for you, start small! Maybe delete the apps from your phone for a few days, or give it up for 15 minutes a day to spend that time seeking God.
  5. Bible studies. I cannot tell you how Bible studies I attended in my late 20s and early 30s helped to keep me sane and grounded when I went through difficult seasons later on. At First United Methodist Church here in Tulsa, Bible studies are offered Thursday mornings, Wednesday nights, and Sunday mornings. Several years ago I attended Bible studies through Community Bible Study—a wonderful non-denominational organization that meets all over the country every Wednesday from 9:30 to 11:30 and they provide childcare. If you’re a stay-at-home mom with little ones, these are great because your children will get a Bible lesson as well, plus it gives you the opportunity to get out and meet people. If you work, consider a Wednesday night or Sunday morning study.
  6. Godly friendships. Iron sharpens iron! You need people in your life whose walk with God inspires you and challenges you. If you don’t have these kinds of friends in your life, ask God for them.
  7. Set reasonable goals and do not give up. Start with something, but make it reasonable. Remember the enemy is not going to stand around on the sidelines cheering you on. He will try to discourage you with lies like you don’t have the time or energy. Trust that God will honor your efforts and meet you right where you are.

Life is absolutely full of challenges. We can’t do this on our own. We were created to commune with our Creator. God doesn’t just want you to just survive each day. He wants to empower us to have peace and love and joy in spite of whatever comes our way.

“The Lord God is my strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army.” Habakkuk 3:19

Grettel Loney lives in Broken Arrow, OK with her husband, two kids, a dog, and a cat. She enjoys playing the guitar, Bible studies, learning languages, and taking way too many pictures of her cat. You can see pictures of said cat on her Facebook page (Grettel Loney).

Her other work for the918 includes: Heavy Lifting…Together, My Journey: Mother’s Day Without Her9-18 Tips To Help You Deal with Back Pain, Her Journey With Chronic Pain Part 1Part 2Part 3Her Journey Through Grace to Gracie, and Tips to Help You Throw a Successful Kid Party.

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