Often, the hardest part of getting started is getting started, amiright? Especially when you're trying something totally new. You're fired up and motivated to make progress, but you don't know where to direct all that energy!
This month, in a special blog series, we're laying out potential starting steps for the most common goals we hear in the Cultivate community. Each week, along with some of your most trusted experts, we'll bring you starting steps for health and wellness goals, finance goals, parenting and family relationship goals, spiritual growth goals (today!), and finally, business and work goals.
Unsurprisingly, for many people, their faith is one of the most important things they can spend time cultivating in any given year. This week, we turned to a few of our favorite experts — both names you might recognize and PowerSheets users in our Facebook group! — for great places to start if you're looking to grow your Christian faith in 2020. The very good news: you can't choose wrong!
Start with five minutes of daily prayer, and remember not to overthink it! Prayer doesn't have to look a certain way. It doesn't have to involve particular books, or some fancy litany, or the perfect praise and worship music! Prayer is nothing more than being with God and feeling his presence. — Claire Swinarksi, host of The Catholic Feminist podcast
When people you know or people you’ve struck up conversations with talk about some of the hard things they are going through, ask if you can pray for them. You’d be surprised at how many people are willing to be prayed for even if they’re “not into that whole religion thing.” And if they are comfortable with it, pray for them right then and there! These past few years, this has been something I have been stretching myself in and it is terrifying at first. I’ve had some of the sweetest moments with people, though, and it really fires me up and often moves me to tears. — Sara
Create space. Space to be interrupted, space for creativity, space to incorporate a true Sabbath into your week, space to remember that you're a human being not a human doing, and space to collide with the Holy Spirit. When our days are filled to the brim and we numb out by scrolling or binge-watching Netflix the moment we can relax, we are sure to miss out on all God has for us. — Manda Carpenter, author and speaker
I highly recommend the First 5 app (and for a little more, the experience guide that goes along with it!). I wake up to the alarm on the First 5 app and read that day's posting (takes about 5 minutes) while I drink a glass of water. I open the Bible to the daily reading (usually about a chapter) and answer the questions in the experience guide. It is simple, easy and not terribly long or cumbersome. Also the app and everything else is beautifully designed, which never hurts! — Kayla
Set a really small goal that will develop a good habit of time with the Lord rather than a big goal that's impossible. You need little victories to keep going. So maybe start a habit of praying TWO minutes every morning. Can you wake up two minutes early to pray? It might not feel like much, but establishing a habit that you simply grow is easier than stepping out the gate to a massive new change. — Val Woerner, author and creator of the Val Marie Prayer Journal
I always recommend starting with Jesus, reading about Him and His life in the first four books of the New Testament. She Reads Truth is a great community to be part of, as well — there are Bible studies and such that are helpful for anyone wanting to grow in their faith! — Amy
Accept the fact that if you're going to start walking with the Lord, things in your life will change. They may be big things, they may be small things; they may change today, or they may change tomorrow. But a life with God looks different than a life without him, and understanding that things are going to change in your life will make those changes easier when they begin to come! — Claire Swinarski
Read Ephesians, and write down everything God says you are. It is an amazing activity that has encouraged me to reread Ephesians multiple times! — Deb
One thing that always helps me get back on track with my relationship with God is to make a playlist of worship songs and play them in the mornings to start my day! — Vanessa
Stop trying to live up to your full potential and instead seek to fulfill your commitments one at a time. Jesus did not live up to his full potential, rather he fulfilled his mission one commitment at a time. Instead of striving to do more, achieve more, and multitask, focus on being present with one commitment at a time. Acknowledge and praise God for your limited capacity. — Manda Carpenter
Friends, I hope these ladies gave you a few things to think about as you set out on your spiritual growth goals this year! Below, I've rounded up some of our best resources for your use along the way. We're cheering you on!
- Write the Word Journals | An easy way to get in your Bible daily. Perfect for those new to faith!
- How to choose the right Write the Word journal for you (or a friend!)
- Listen to Lara's free class with Ruth Chou Simons on how to refresh your faith
- Start our 5-day YouVersion Bible reading plan: God + Goals
- Take our free class on how to cultivate faith with your kiddos
- Action step ideas for cultivating faith for your PowerSheets®
- Join our Cultivate Your Faith Facebook group
- Listen in to an encouraging interview with Lara and Sally Clarkson
- Get Lara's 10 Keys to Cultivating Faith (free download!)
- Subscribe to the Cultivate Your Life podcast
Next week: starting steps for business and career goals!