If you want to grow closer to God and have joy during hard times you must have a spiritual growth plan.
What is a Spiritual Growth Plan?
If you have never done a spiritual growth plan before, let me explain what it is and what it’s for:
- Your plan is a roadmap/guide for what you plan to do to grow spiritually. It could be a spreadsheet, a bullet list, pics, etc. Anything that works for you.
- It’s a tool to help you stay focused and hold yourself accountable throughout the year.
- It’s a tool to help you learn what works for you and what doesn’t.
- It’s a way to look back when the year is over to see what you have accomplished.
Getting Started with Your Spiritual Growth Plan
It’s easy to get to the end of the year and think that you haven’t grown at all. I don’t know about you, but 2016 was a hard year for me and my family. I want to say that it was the worst year ever. When I sat down to start planning I didn’t want to look back at all the pain and disappointment.
But something amazing happened when I did.
I was able to see all the blessings God gave me over the year:
Those things I didn’t like or that were really hard for me, I could see how God used them for my good.
Those closed doors that were God’s protection.
The things I thought were failures, I was able to see how they were successes.
And the times when I thought God had let me down, I could see how they were actually victories.
Take a Look Back
Sit and write down all the highs and lows from the last year.
Grab a piece of paper or a journal and pour it all out on the pages. Write down answered prayers. Write down the things that you struggled with too. List your successes and failures. And anything else that comes to mind.
You are looking for patterns. Themes that continue to pop up no matter what your circumstances. I know it can be hard to evaluate your past, especially when there’s pain and loss. But God can redeem anything that we hand over to Him.
Take a look at your list:
- Did you notice any patterns?
- Any recurring themes?
- Was there anything you repeated?
- What were your biggest struggles?
Using Your Spiritual Growth Plan to Move Forward
First, take some time to praise God for all the things He carried you through. Thank Him for the blessings He sent your way.
Second, look at the things you struggled with. Is there anything that you are still struggling with that you don’t want to drag around anymore? Pray and ask God to reveal what it is that He wants to free you from. That is often your focus for spiritual growth.
You cannot do all the things
There are many different things we can each do to grow spiritually. We don’t have time to do all the things! We have to be choosy! Pick a few things to make priorities and then give those everything you have.
In a season of raising children you may have to (temporarily) say no to missions work, serving on the worship team, or other ministry work. That doesn’t mean you can’t grow. It just means making your home and your family a priority.
I recommend that you choose 3-5 priorities to focus on and then create goals around them.
Writing Down Your Spiritual Growth Plan
Do you make a grocery list when you need to go to the store? Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. When I forget to write the list I always spend a lot of time trying to remember what I needed and I always forget something. When I take the time to write the list, I rarely use it but I also never get home without something I needed.
When we take the time to write things down we do a better job of sticking to it.
Write down your spiritual growth plan somewhere. You can use a journal, a sheet of paper, or even type it into a document on your computer. Just get it all together and written down somewhere you can look at it often.
Making it Official
- Take some time to really put into words where you want to be spiritually at the end of this year. This will become your mission statement.
- Write down your priorities and goals.
- Each month, evaluate your progress so you can stay on track and make any necessary changes.