Are there specific tools you use to grow the most important relationship in your life? Spending time with others is necessary to deepen those relationships. The same is true in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Growing the Most Important Relationship
Hands down, the most important relationship in my life is with God. How about you? However, as in all connections, when we don’t actively take steps to draw closer, we end up growing apart. Most likely, we have all experienced lost relationships because we didn’t nurture them. Why would it be any different with God?
A Useful Tool
Years ago, I started a habit of setting aside time on an annual basis to dig deep and make sure God and I were growing in intimacy and continuing on a lifelong journey to become more Christ-like. After all, my relationship with God is my most valuable relationship. It is easy to hit a plateau. The tool I use leaves me with a God-directed spiritual goal for the year.
When is the Best Time?
January is the most beneficial time for me; however, anytime is perfect. It seems most people like to set goals in December. For me, the holiday hustle has me worn out. Plus, my perspective is almost always skewed. This year in December, I would have told you I had failed at my previous spiritual goals. This conclusion was far from the truth. However, it took a little help from God and my husband to see – I had made progress. We tend to be a little harder on ourselves.
Waiting for the perfect time to set a spiritual goal is not a smart way to grow closer to God. Start Now!
How to Set a Spiritual Goal
It is a two-step process. First, I take a spiritual inventory and then move on to setting a spiritual goal. This process takes time. I must reflect and listen for God’s voice.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24 ESV)!”
We must never solely look at where we are today but must consider where we have been and where we want to go.
Step 1: Take a Spiritual Inventory – A Year in Review
Looking back helps us to see where we have made strides in our connection with God. It can also pinpoint areas where change might enhance our relationship. Be careful, measuring our growth and intimacy with God based solely on our feelings can be grossly inadequate. We need questions to help us get a more detailed look.
Here is a snippet of a few questions:
- Do I have a daily habit of spending time with God?
- How active is my prayer life?
- Do I take time to listen for God’s voice?
- Was there a lesson or truth God revealed to me over the last twelve months?
- Is my faith more vital than it was a year ago? What is getting in the way? What is helping?
Step 2: Set a Spiritual Goal including Planned Steps
This part may appear simple – pick where you want to grow and go for it. However, more times than not, God may have something entirely different in mind. Nevertheless, aren’t God’s plans and dreams always best?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT).”
I usually end up with one word, a mantra, action steps, and a verse to go along with it. This year it is, “Seek God in Everything.”
Setting a small spiritual goal each year is a way to move into deeper intimacy with our Lord and become more Christ-like in the process. However, we must always hold our spiritual goal loosely and leave room for God to redirect. This spiritual goal process is not meant to condemn or tear us down. God is full of grace and love. Remember, it is never too late to start moving a step closer to God.
Every year I put together detailed worksheets to help me in this process. I offer them as a gift, on my website, with the hope we will encourage each other along the way.
Maree Dee is a Writer | Speaker | Advocate | Ministry Leader – passionate about encouraging and equipping others to embrace life in the midst of the unexpected. She is a warrior who doesn’t give up when the journey gets tough. Maree believes, together with God, we can all find incredible joy along the way, even when surrounded by tremendous pain.
Drop by and visit Maree’s blog on Embracing the Unexpected – www.embracingtheunexpected.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Embracing Faith and Mental Illness from a Caregiver’s Perspective.