New year, new you…right? Most people start off every New Year with a list of goals, dreams, aspirations, or better yet, resolutions for physical well-being, family, friends, career goals, etc. How many of us actually write down our spiritual goals and really intend to stick to them? And how many of us are still sticking to those goals and resolutions now that we’re at the end of February?
Just like training for a big race or spending time in a gym working on that particular area of our body that gives us the most concern and heartache, we also have to spend time in presence of the Lord to become spiritually healthy. Here are 5 ways we can really stick to our spiritual goals this year (no matter when we make our goals) and learn to hear God’s voice in our lives.
We use big fancy calendars, super cute planners, or even these smart devices in our hands that allow us to constantly keep up with everything we have planned in a day, but we often fail to schedule the most important meeting of the day: our meeting with God.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know we can talk to God all day and spend time in His presence in different ways, but there is something about sitting down and having that one-on-one, uninterrupted time with the Lord. That special time to bask in His presence and be still before the throne. That time where it’s just you and God and you can think and process and listen to what He is trying to tell you. So plan time with God. Do it daily and don’t allow any interruptions to take it away from you. Every day is a good day to start spending time with God.
Get an accountability partner.
We weren’t made to walk the Christian life alone. Having a trusted, well-known friend who will help keep you accountable is essential in keeping those goals you have set for yourself. An accountability partner doesn’t have to read the exact same passages of Scripture as you, but they do need to be someone who is reliable in encouraging you in your walk with the Lord and challenges you to do deeper. This person also needs to be able to lovingly point out areas in your life that need work.
Keep it simple.
Having beautiful, calligraphy-filled journals, spending hours upon hours a day in the Word and prayer, studying the Bible in 5 different translations, and reading commentary upon commentary are wonderful. In fact, these things can truly take us deeper in our study of God’s Word, but let’s get real. Although we aspire to do these things, life is busy. The kids need to be picked up or taken to some sort of practice, the house is a mess, the car has no gas, the fridge is empty, the laundry is piled 5 feet high, and you haven’t fed the dog because you’ve been searching for him for 25 minutes to realize he is lost in the pile of laundry.
This list is just the start, and it doesn’t even include the two million things on your to-do list for work. I get it. Life is hard. That is why it’s important for us to keep it simple when it comes to spending time with God. I don’t say this to mean you should take this time with God lightly; just don’t get caught up in all the extra things you feel you should be doing when in fact, God just wants YOU. He wants to speak to your soul and direct you in your steps. Sometimes hearing from God is as easy as sitting down with His Word and listening.
Ask God for His help and also how He wants you to align with His will. Sometimes the goals we set for ourselves are just that, OUR goals. Have you given your goals to God and asked for guidance in knowing what He would have you do? Start there, by aligning with His will; then ask for His help and His strength.
Get back up.
Let’s be honest. By the end of February, most people have already given up on their New Year resolutions. Instead of giving up, get back up and try again. Pick up where you left off on your Bible plan, start journaling again, pray, try to memorize that verse. Whatever it is, try again. Most importantly, get with God. Talk to Him, read His Word, and ask for His help.
2020 doesn’t have to be another year that passes by and you look back thinking you should have done more. As long as you are alive and breathing, there is time to start again and reach the goals you have set for yourself. There is time to grow in your relationship with God and others. Don’t give up. Keep pressing forward. And don’t wait until the beginning of 2021 to start!
“…endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” – Romans 5:4-5