Do you need to set spiritual goals? It depends on whether or not you’d like to draw closer to God. If you do, these five hacks will help you set meaningful goals for your season of life.
Have you ever wanted to set a spiritual goal but gotten confused and discouraged by everyone’s ideal of what your goal should be (according to them)? For the next five weeks we’ll explore why and how you can set spiritual goals.
The 60-Minute-a-Day Fallacy
“You need to spend at least an uninterrupted hour every day in Bible study and prayer,” the preacher announced from the pulpit. “Otherwise, you’re just not spending enough time on your spiritual walk.”
“What?!” I wanted to jump up from the pew, but instead contended myself with a huff under my breath. “You try being me for 48 hours and see how well you get 60 minutes of uninterrupted anything in a day.”
I reached over and pulled another book out of the diaper bag and handed it to my youngest. My oldest tried to pull the pacifier out of her little sister’s mouth, so I silently scolded her. Sometimes, I wondered why we even bothered coming to church.
Especially when the pastor gave out guilt trips with the sermon. “I don’t even spend that much time alone with my husband each day!” I thought.
“Please stand as we sing ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman,’” the pastor said. “As we enter the season of Advent, let us draw closer to our Savior through daily prayer and meditation.”
What?! I’d spent so much time fuming internally and refereeing the behavior of our girls that I’d missed the rest of the sermon. I gave an inward shrug as I held our oldest and her warbly voice joined the congregation’s. Pedro stood next to me holding our youngest and sniffing the air. Probably hoping it wasn’t his turn for dirty diaper duty.
The ushers took forever dismissing people from the front of the church to the back, where we sat with other harried parents. Probably a good thing. It gave me time to harness my inner critic and smile pleasantly at the clueless pastor as I shook his hand on the way out the door.
Check Your Bible
The pastor’s proclamation about sixty minutes a day with God stuck in my craw. It gnawed at my soul. Where did he even come up with that number? Did some saintly soul in seminary teach it to him?
Some saintly soul who’d never worked full time and mothered small children? I’d read a lot of the Bible, and nowhere did I remember Jesus handing out guidelines for daily Bible study time. In fact, the model Jesus gave us for prayer (Luke 11:2-4) takes under ten seconds to repeat.
John 5:36-40 makes it clear that Jesus knew Scriptures. But we have no idea whether he studied for six minutes or 60 minutes every day. In fact, he chastises the Pharisees because they study scripture and miss the point.
Don’t let anyone fool you into believing you have to follow certain protocols in order to develop a relationship with Jesus. And never let them take away your Christmas joy because they preach their preference from the pulpit.
Jesus just wants to spend time with you. It doesn’t matter if you say a prayer as you roll out of bed and keep up the conversation between hash browns and ketchup, carpooling and catnapping.
Women feel overwhelmed enough in life without having to worry about some guys’s pronouncement of spending 60 minutes a day in Bible study and prayer.
Five Hacks to Help You Set Spiritual Goals for the Holiday Season
Does that mean we get to forego setting spiritual goals for ourselves? I’ll let you draw your own conclusion. But I do know that what I schedule, I do. What I don’t schedule, well, it doesn’t usually get done.
In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season I find it easy to lose my focus and get wrapped up with all the things—good things—but things that suck away my time and energy. Which makes it especially important to set spiritual goals for the holiday season if I actually want to feel the Peace everyone wants to celebrate.
1. Schedule it
Pick a time, any time of the day (or night) and make a commitment to reading one Bible verse. If you’d like a guided Bible reading challenge, join the Jesus, Light of the World Bible Reading Challenge. Starting December 1, you’ll receive an email with a Bible verse and a reflection question each day in December.
2. Commit to it
If you want to make spending time with God a habit, you’ll want to set a trigger. What do you already do every day that you could attach this new habit to? Write down your plan and be specific about it. “I will read the Bible every morning as I brush my teeth.” If you have an electronic toothbrush, that gives you about two minutes to read a short Bible verse and reflect on it.
By piggybacking a new habit on an existing habit, you’ll discover the ease of using triggers to back up your commitment.
3. Make Time for Prayer
You don’t have to get on your knees beside your bed for an hour each day. But you can make prayer a way of spending your day. How? When you roll out of bed, say a prayer of thanksgiving for life. Let God know you’re grateful to be alive another day.
In this season of Christmas lights and decorations, choose to let them remind you to pray. Pray for our country when you see blue lights. You could choose to pray for your children when you red lights. Pray for your spouse when you see white lights. You get the idea. Let the lights trigger a response to lift someone else up in prayer each time you see them.
4. Say ‘No’ to Say ‘Yes’
Take inventory of all you usually do during the holidays. If you usually feel depressed, overwhelmed, and jaded in January, you probably do too much in December. What can you say ‘no’ to so you can say ‘yes’ to meeting your spiritual goals?
5. Grow with Your Season
Looking back, my well-meaning pastor may have been preaching to himself about the 60-minutes-a-day dictum. Or, in his season of life it may have come easily for him. Who knows? Just remember we go through seasons of life where our time gets used differently. I didn’t have 60 minutes of uninterrupted time when we had toddlers, or even elementary-aged children.
Don’t let anyone judge your spiritual walk by their standards. Just make sure you’re on the right spiritual walk for your season in life. Pray about your spiritual goals before you set them. Ask God to show you how to make life with him doable and enjoyable for this time in your life.
You Can Experience Comfort and Joy this Season
Remember that setting spiritual goals (the small, manageable habits) will allow you to experience the comfort of Christmas: James 4:8 reminds us that as we draw near to God, he will draw near to us. Our efforts (whether six minutes or 60 minutes) will set us on a right path, which will, in turn, help us to make right choices. I don’t know about you, but doing the right thing brings me joy.
Little victories add up to a sense of abundance. If I keep my spiritual tank filled, I’ll have plenty of comfort and joy to share with a world in need of Jesus.Five hacks to help you set spiritual goals–no matter what your season. #stress #Christianity #goals #selfcarehacks Click To Tweet