Monday, January 03, 2011

Goals for a New Year: Spiritual

I thought I would start at the top of my list of goals and work my way down through the week. :) First up: my spiritual goals for this new year. The past year was not so great in the area of my personal walk with God . . . I know that sounds really bad, but I'm just being honest. There were many days I would wake up late and didn't fit in time to read my Bible and pray, and other times when I would start over with renewed fervor, trying a new book or study to go along with my Bible reading, and then lose interest or get distracted from it within a few weeks. I have really felt the lack of a personal quiet time each day, and determined to start 2011 on a new page.

A while back, I saw a book recommended on the Home Joys blog. It's called His Word in My Heart, by Janet Pope. It sounded great, so I put it on my wish list, and Jim got it for me for Christmas! This book is all about immersing yourself in Scripture by memorizing large passages or books of the Bible. I think it's going to be really practical and do-able, and I am really looking forward to using this tool to help me get to know God's Word on a deeper level this year. I have also been thinking about reading through the Bible in a year, which I tried to do a couple of years ago, but never finished (as you can see, some of my goals don't end up getting accomplished!). At the very least, even if I don't read through the whole Bible, my goal is to read at least a little something from it every day. I might work my way through the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. I plan to do my Bible reading from my ESV journaling Bible (pictured above) and my memorizing from the KJV, which is what I'm most familiar with, and thus, easiest to memorize from. :)

Another area I have struggled with is my personal prayer time. My prayers usually end up being little bits and pieces throughout the day, nothing focused or organized. I would like to make my own prayer journal, but that takes time . . . and I want to improve now! So, I ordereda like-new copy of the Busy Mom's Guide to Prayer: A Guided Prayer Journal (the older version--it looks like a new version is coming out later this month)--hopefully it will arrive this week! And I also picked up Power Prayers for Mothers from CBD's big sale, to give me some organization and starter ideas.

Jim and I are also planning to use Devotions for a Sacred Marriage each week together (another book that he gave me for Christmas) to aid in strengthening our Christian life as a couple.

So, in a nutshell, these are my spiritual goals:
  • Memorize Scripture
  • Read something from the Bible every day
  • An organized and vibrant prayer life
How about you? Did you set any specific spiritual goals this year? How do you organize your Bible study and prayer time? Do you have any tips for a young mom who struggles to fit in this very important part of her day?

*And yes, the Amazon links above are my affiliate links, as always. :)


Mrs.T said...

Wow, Carrie, what a great idea to break down your goals like this!

As far as spiritual goals go, here are mine.

1. To make my daily quiet time with God ever more meaningful.

2. To grow in the areas of perseverance, self-control and unselfishness. (There are plenty of other areas in which I need to grow, but I've identified these that need a lot of work this year.)

3. To continue to grow spiritually and to use my talents and my spiritual gifts for God's glory. To spend more time in Bible study in the coming year, and to apply what I learn to my daily life. One goal is a study of Psalm 119. I also need to work harder at Scripture memory. I used to memorize a verse or passage every week, but have really gotten away from that. I too was interested in that book that Gina mentioned, His Word in My Heart. Keep us posted as to how it works for you!

4. To learn and profit from the lessons that God has for me so I that I won’t have to learn them more than once.

Now, some thoughts that may (or may not) be helpful:

I have read through the Bible numerous times and find that it really helps to "change it up" (your method of reading, that is) from year to year. One of my favorite ways is to read through the Chronological Bible. Another favorite is to do a topical Bible reading plan so I am in a different area of the Bible every day. You can find an assortment of Bible reading plans here, including a topical one. As you noted, it's better to read anything at all from the Bible than to not read it at all, so some ideas are to read through Psalms, Proverbs, the Gospels, etc. taking a chapter every day. Times when I have read through the Gospels, I found it really encouraged me to see how Jesus handled "everyday" life and ministry and how He dealt with people.

For me, a prayer journal has definitely made the difference to having an organized, effective prayer life. The one you are planning to use sounds like a great tool!

I tend to break my devotional time up into segments. I know it's ideal to do it all at once, but of late this is what works for me. First I read my Bible while sipping my lemon water or tea. (Bear in mind this is around 6 am or earlier.) Then I have breakfast, then immediately after breakfast I go to my prayer time. Following that, I may start a load of laundry or something and have that going while I do my Bible study. And I must admit too that I have the luxury, most days, of taking all the time I need for devotions. But if I put it off, the phone will start ringing early. I can count on it! So I do it early.

For a young mom, I think one of the most important things to keep in mind is that God knows all about your kids, your day, and what your time is like. He also knows your heart. As you look to Him, He will help you sort out what works best for your quiet time. Another thought is that, if possible, it's helpful to get up before the kids do and get that quiet time in right at the start. (But having said that, I know that some kids get up outrageously early and it just isn't possible to get up much before they do.) Some people, too, have the kind of kids where they can just close the bedroom door and say "Mommy is having her quiet time" and the kids just play quietly until she comes out. Other people do not have that kind of kids...

Well, that is probably more information than you wanted, but I thought I would share since you asked!

Mary Ann said...

Sounds like you are devising a great plan, Carrie. What has been working for me lately is to have my devotions early in the morning. Mike & I get up at 4:50 & he is out the door for work by 5:05. Then I have my quiet time & get ready to leave for work by 6:45. I struggle with having a focused prayer time, too & I have started to use 3x5 cards to jot down brief notes of things to pray about. If I have a very detailed prayer journal I end up reading it to God & that has never seemed very meaningful to me.
I have been hoping to get the chance to search the internet for a Bible reading plan to do this year. I'm trying not to think about how I'm already 5 days behind :-) I usually pick a read the Bible in a year program & end up taking well over a year to finish but reading it through has always been a major blessing to me.
Thanks for sharing your goals!