New Year, New Me!
The freshness of a new year leads many of us to making resolutions we will keep this year.
I’m not sure about you, but most years I promise I will do this Christian walk better. I’ll start a new journal. I’ll be more intentional about prayer. Then, I let busyness slowly creep in.
And surely as I breath, trials eventually hit. Then I wonder how I let my faith slip from the forefront of my mind and actions.
It isn’t that my beliefs ever waver, it’s that I’m not always intentional about keeping biblical faith applied to every area of my life.
Sure, I read scripture regularly, but am I taking the time to truly mediate on it? I absolutely pray daily, but am I being conscious of each word I utter so as to truly be in fellowship with God?
We can be intentional about change at any day, even at any moment. However, there’s something about the freshness of a new year which makes being intentional just a bit easier.
Making resolutions can be rather easy. What isn’t always easy is sticking with them. So, what resolutions am I making this year to really build my faith? How am I going to really stick with them this year?
8 New Year’s Resolutions For Building Faith
As I shared in a previous post, I have never struggled to believe in God. I know His character and His goodness. I wholeheartedly believe God will always take me from point A to the necessary point B.
However, where I often struggle is trusting the journey to point B.
How do I build faith in that process? By being intentional about fellowship with and faith in Him.
These are the changes I plan to make for the upcoming year and how I plan to be consistent in them:
#1: Starting The Day Off With God
I’m a mama to five. I’ve been pregnant or nursing 11.5 of the last 12 years. Some seasons I’ve worked nights. I’ve struggled with health as well. To say I struggle with getting adequate rest would be an understatement.
That said, I still find time to be on social media. I still find time to ‘shut off’ my brain with random sources of entertainment. This isn’t to suggest either are inherently bad, but simply that moments exist that would allow me to start the day off with God without feeling like I’m missing rest.
I’ve done this before, say I’ll set my alarm to rise before my kids. Then there’s a sleepless night, I cave to my fatigue and slowly but surely that early alarm becomes nothing more than an extra snooze button.
Rising before I must get up has always been my struggle. But isn’t God faithful to those who seek Him? Yes, we need to meet our physical needs for rest but is that at the expense of our spiritual wellbeing?
In the moment, those extra ten, fifteen or thirty minutes of rest feels so necessary. Yet, as the kids rise and we’re already short tempered, the traffic relentless and we begin to become flustered, and by dinner we’ve no patience for our spouse, we can see the consequences of not beginning our day with God.
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You. – Psalm 143:8
What might our days look like if we start each morning off with a prayer like this psalm?
#2: Keep Accountability With Fellow Believers
As mentioned above, I frequently say I’ll start the day off with God and then ever so slowly the alarms stop.
The seasons that I’m most faithful to start my day off with God have one thing in common: accountability.
There’s something about knowing a fellow believer will know if I miss starting my day with God. Obviously, God knows and that should be enough, so here’s my humanness showing. But having another believer aware of my plans helps me stay accountable.
Find a friend or a few friends and be committed to sharing about your morning devotions. Talk to your spouse about what you’ve read or what you’re praying about each morning. Find a way to stay accountable with building your faith.
If you’ve made a commitment to finish a certain portion of the Bible, share it with someone. If you’ve made it a point to give an area of doubt to the Lord, share it with a dear mentor. In addition to accountability, being in prayer for each other as believers can be a vital part of our Christian walk.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.- 1 Thessalonians 5:11
#3: Keep A Journal Or Written Account
When you add a step that requires you to physically do something and keep record, you notice when you miss doing it. Keeping a journal or written record of the scripture you’ve read or the prayers you said can add a step of discipline.
Being in fellowship with God should be enough of a motivating factor. Unfortunately, in this busy world and fighting our flesh, discipline can be a big part of building faith.
A wonderful advantage of keeping a written record is the ability to look back and clearly see ways God has worked in your life. Looking back and realizing a prayer was answered can be the push we need to get through a difficult time.
Writing can be a way to help our brains process and meditate on scripture. Sometimes writing with our hand aides us in writing scripture onto our hearts.
Keep my commands and live,
And my law as the apple of your eye.
Bind them on your fingers;
Write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 7:2-3
#4: Make Praise A Priority
Spending time praising God for all He’s done can help us focus on what truly matter, things eternal. Sure, we praise Him at Sunday service, but do we praise Him daily? Multiple times throughout the day?
The Creator of the universe has made a way for us to be in constant fellowship with Him, that alone deserves our constant praise. However, as mentioned, we’re in a time of constant distraction making it easy to succumb to our flesh and not be in continual awe of God’s grace.
I’ve made it a point to keep Christian music on every time I drive. I spend a significant amount of time driving kids to school, appointments and activities so it’s a simple way to incorporate more time for praise.
Recently, I’ve found reading through Psalms and classic hymns as another way to incorporate more praise. Hitting the treadmill? Use it as a time to praise God. Doing work around the house? Put on some worship music. Resting before bed? Read through a Psalm.
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. – Psalm 95:1-2
#5: Read Through The Entire Bible
I’m not sure how many times I’ve read through the entire Bible, but I know it’s less times than I’ve set out to do so.
I recently finished Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon and the biographer mentioned Susie once read through the Bible in its entirety three times within one year.
I can’t say I’ll get through the Bible three times in a one year during this season of life, but I am making it a goal to read through it once this year. There are many different reading plans, I’ve tried a few. In this busy season of life, I’ve decided to go with a simple One Year Bible to eliminate any excuses for not getting through it.
That said, if I still fail to get through it this year, nothing will be wasted about my attempts. The Word never returns void.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness – 2 Timothy 3:16
#6: Use A Devotional
The main reason I compiled two short devotionals is I struggled to stay in the Word during life’s hardest challenges. And as I’m sure you know, when you’re walking your hardest challenges you need God front and center more than ever.
I’m so thankful God’s goodness and grace aren’t based on my actions; He faithfully saw me through everything. However, those hard moments are made harder when our eyes aren’t fixed on God and His promises.
After two losses, I found myself in the NICU with a baby born two months prematurely and while I desperately needed God, I was in such a fog that deep study felt impossible. When I came out of that fog, I wanted a simple tool to help keep weary mamas in the Word.
Be sure to check out The Busy Mom’s Guide To Biblical Mindfulness In 30 Days for an easy to navigate daily devotional.
I went through the devotional with a group and it was such a sweet time of fellowship with God and fellow believers. Life’s challenges didn’t stop. However, when you’re deep in the Word and prayer, you can have peace which passes all understanding regardless of your circumstances. It was such a sweet time, I wrote another to go through with the group.
The Busy Mom’s Guide To Growing In Biblical Faith In 30 Days is a great stepping stone towards making daily devotions and prayers a part of your everyday life.
This new year, I’m planning to go through a devotional which is a compilation of writings from A.W. Tozer.
There are no substitutes for reading through God’s Word. Devotionals shouldn’t take the place of our Bible. However, they can be a great tool to guide you and keep you in the Word.
#7: Make Prayer A Priority
As a believer, of course I pray. However, there are seasons prayer isn’t as much of a priority as it should be. I pray before meals, we pray during our morning run to school and there’s always bedtime prayers.
Yet prayer isn’t reserved only for specific moments. Jesus made it possible for us to come boldly before God, something we often forget. How amazing that the Creator of the universe is available to us at all times.
This year, making prayer a priority is an important resolution for me. I want to start my day with God, but also keep in constant fellowship. He offers peace and wisdom to those who seek it. Why am I not continually accepting these gifts by staying in fellowship with Him?
I plan to use a journal to keep a bit more accountability for myself. I plan to spend more time praying before jumping into devotionals and while meditating on the Word.
Prayer is an incredibly important part of building faith. I’m already praying for the wisdom and discipline to keep prayer a priority.
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – 1 John 5:14
#8: Put Faith Into Action
As mentioned above, I recently read a biography about Susie Spurgeon. I was in awe of this woman who had significant health issues but managed to run an entire ministry through all her ailments. Not only did she maintain faith in God through trials, she lived out her faith. Her works showed her faith.
Yes, salvation and faith are a free gift to us thanks to Jesus. And no, our works do not get us to heaven. However, we are called to live out our faith. We are called to work in a way which glorifies God.
We needn’t be globe trekking missionaries to put our faith into action. Though if you are a globe trekking missionary, that’s wonderful, and I’m so glad you’ve heeded His call for your life. We can be prayer warriors for those near and far. We can send cards and messages to those in need of encouragement.
We can be a faithful, respectful and loving wife. We can be a prayerful, patient and God honoring mother. We can minister to our family, our neighbors, and even to the globe trekking missionary by supporting them practically or in prayer. We can be the hands and feet in our church, the tangible reminder of God’s love in someone’s life.
Even in hard times, putting our faith into action is a way to build our faith and minister to others. This excerpt from the biography, they’re Susie Spurgeon’s own words, was an amazing reminder of why we should put our faith into action:
“Should I therefore have withheld its blessed story? Nay, rather, it seems fit that all should know how God comforted me in my affliction, and His wondrous pity and compassion uplifted me, from the sorrow of my loss, into joyful hope of eternal re-union in the land that knows no death.”
It’s easy to fall into feeling as if our faith is weak and thus, we aren’t capable of ministering to others, sharing our story or living out our faith. However, we can’t build our faith without living it. We can’t build faith without showing it.
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. – James 2:26
New Year, New Me!
Surely, I’m not the only person who has made resolutions and failed to keep them. I can’t guarantee this will be the year I make the right changes. However, I can guarantee that God is faithful. If I do these things in Him, it will not return void, even if there are days my flesh wins.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. – Ezekiel 36:26-27
What are you taking to God and seeking His strength to change?