Yesterday, I started a post on some of the spiritual goals I have set for this year. This post includes the rest of the list... 2. Prayer The amazing thing about God is that unlike the tyrannical gods of the ancients, He wants us to respond to Him. It is not a one-way relationship. And so He instituted prayer.
I will have to confess that I really struggle in this area. Because I tend to be, ahem, bookish, I have a hard time relating to God as a person. I have a hard time asking for help because I think that I need to do it on my own. I have a hard time sharing my fears because I am afraid that He will reject me for my weakness. I am not a very emotional person, so it is hard to praise and worship Him.
Every year, I want to grow in my prayer life, but because it doesn't come naturally to me, it doesn't happen. Last year, I resolved to start praying for my husband and children. It was tangible goal. (gotta start with something, right?) Using Stormie Omartian's books The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Mom as guides, I aimed to spend about 5 minutes a day praying for my family. What I found really helped was to write those prayers down. Instead of rushing through a chapter a day, I allowed the Lord to lead me to a stopping point. I am still working through the books this year, but it has given me a good start to incorporate dedicated time to pray each day. As I am still a novice in prayer, I think I am just going to continue where I'm at, until this becomes ingrained in me (and that's okay to have the same goal the next year!).
3. Scripture Memory When I was, um, younger, I loved to memorize Scripture (another very cerebral activity). At first, it was just to see how much I could remember. But later on, I began to see the very powerful benefits of having God's Word stored in my heart.
However, I will confess that it has been many years since I have memorized God's Word. With age, it does get a little harder! I feel like every time I get a verse memorized and start on another, it slips out again! However, I am also realizing that I can't use age as an excuse. My husband really inspired me here last year, as he spent the year memorizing the entire book of Philippians. And he's over 40 too!
And so this year, I am attempting to add Scripture memory into my devotional diet as well. Not to win stickers and awards, but simply because I am realizing how much I need it throughout my day. How easy it is for me to close my Bible after my quiet time and then live the rest of my day in my own strength and by my own wits.
If I want to become more like Jesus, then being steeped in the Word is crucial for me. And so, I am going to aim to memorize Ephesians this year. (Nothing like aiming big, eh?) My prayer is that I will be able to not just rattle it off, but that in doing so, God will be planting good seed in my soul so that I can live in the truth of who I am and what He has for me as His child. (So far, I've gotten through the first 6 verses of chapter 1. Woo hoo!)
4. Extended Times of Solitude This discipline is one that I have wanted to bring back into my life. I used to go out each Saturday morning (early) and Dan would watch the (then) 2 kids. Now, with Matthew's sports activities and Dan's weekend work commitments, I am finding that difficult to do. And I am feeling the dryness.
Last month, I had a chance to go on an extended time with the Lord and He did more in that one day than I could have done in months. Since that day, I have longed to get this discipline back into my schedule, so I am going to plan one day out each month. My aim is the third Fridays of every month, when my husband is at home, so I can go to the local library or cafe and just "hang out" with God. I have taught this discipline and facilitated them, but I now need to actually do it again...for myself. I'm looking forward to that. My first retreat is scheduled for this Friday!
While these are the four main disciplines that I seek to instill in my life this year, I know that there may be others that God wants me to practice as well. But these will form the backbone of my spiritual goals. There will be some months when I will be able to reach them, but I know there will be months when I won't. But like Paul, I hope that my eye on the goal and not look back.