Inside: Journaling is a great tool for spiritual growth. Here’s a list of must-have supplies for Christian women looking to get started! [Read more…]
Inside: How setting goals the biblical way can help you achieve a true transformation!
I did something a little radical …
I gave up my need to control all the things!
Sounds a little crazy right?
I get so many emails from ladies trying to figure out how to manage a hundred different things when they walk through a crisis.
Here’s what I’ve learned: The only way to manage all the things that are going right and wrong in your life is to let it all go!
Yep, you heard me right. Let it go.
Sing the song if you need to.
Did your flesh just cringe or scream a little? When I first decided that I wanted to be less of a control freak everything in me screamed HECK NO GIRL!
- Maybe it comes from growing up with an alcoholic father and all the instability that creates in a child’s life.
- Maybe it’s because I was given very little control or say in my life growing up
- Or maybe it because I went through being abused and stripped of all my human rights that I have this overwhelming need to feel like I am in control
- Maybe being in control is just my way of trying to deal with this thing called life.
Whatever the reason the truth was that I needed to make a change. My desire and drive to be in control of all things, at all times were killing me.
I had taken on a burden way too heavy for me and in the process, I was just making things worse.
I spent years telling God how to do His job. How He needed to answer my prayers in the exact way that I wanted and on my timetable.
God, I need your help. But if you could just do it my way that would be great. Thanks.
See, I told you that I had a serious problem. I needed to let it go if I was going to have peace and joy in my life. But wasn’t sure how …
Maybe you are not a recovering perfectionist and control freak like I am. Maybe you struggle with watching too much TV or eating too many cookies once the kids go to bed.
Or maybe you have some really big decisions to make and you aren’t sure where to start.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way we could be sure that we were making the right choices? A step-by-step process that we could go through any time that we wanted to accomplish something.
Actually, there is!
The Bible is the tool that will help us set godly goals and make wise decisions if we know where to look.
Digging into the word is what helped me overcome my struggling with not trusting and surrendering to God when I knew I needed to. My Bible helped me set that goal and meet it!
5 Steps to Setting Goals for True Lasting Change
Learning to trust God to take care of anything that was going on in my life was the goal.
That sounds super Christian, a no-brainer but it was very hard for me to let go. It’s in my nature to fix things that aren’t going the way I want them to. It’s so hard for me to sit on my hands.
But I was determined to overcome this obstacle in my life so I sat down to make a plan!
Step #1: I sat down and searched my heart to figure out what my goals were. I need to know what I wanted:
- more peace
- less stress
- more clarity
- to be in God’s will
- a closer relationship with God
I just made a list of everything that was in my heart. Anything that I wanted to do. Learning to let go was just one thing on that list.
Step #2: I took my list to God and asked Him what He thought of my list. I had a few things that really jumped out at me to work on but I wanted to make sure that I was working on the thing that God wanted me to work on. (This is how I landed on my control issues)
Step #3: I made a list of all the things that I felt I needed to do in order to meet that goal. Some people like to create vision boards. I’m more a word person than graphics so I just sat down and thought about what I wanted my life to look like by the end of the year and wrote it down.
Step #4: I wrote down some good things that I felt would happen once I was able to let go of my need for control. I found these things in Bible. Anytime that I found a promise that related to learning surrender to God and trust Him completely I made a note of it.
I kept all these things in my journal so I could pull it out and look it over when I had a rough day.
Step #5: I began to walk out this plan that I created. One day at a time, I worked my way toward letting go and letting God lead.
What do you think? Does that sound manageable?
I know that this process might seem super Christiany (I think I made that word up) but it is really easy and doable.
Are you ready for your breakthrough this year?
Setting goals that were manageable and in line with scripture was always a struggle for me. Honestly, if it weren’t for the process I learned in Arabah Joy’s Biblical Goal Setting course I would likely still be stuck in bad habits like eating too many cookies and always wanting to be in control of everything.
I was stuck in some destructive patterns and couldn’t see a way out.
I used to have these grand goals and plans and then never get around to them. You know, because I would try the first day and then feel overwhelmed and give up.
Or I would get so caught up in the planning process that I never put anything into action.
I figured that there was no hope for me. I couldn’t change it’s just how I am.
Arabah Joy helped me see how easy it is to not only set goals but to grow spiritually and really see some true change in my life with the help of Grace Goals.
If it weren’t for the breakthrough in my faith … I could never have accomplished as much as I have in the past few years.
There’s no way that I would have control over my temper instead of being controlled by it. Or that I would be able to work, homeschool and care for my children without losing my mind.
And I definitely would not be spending consistent time in prayer and Bible study every day if I had developed some good habits and worked hard towards change.
I learned the hard way … I made a bunch of mistakes trying to do things my way instead of inviting God into the process.
You don’t have to struggle like I did! You can skip right to the most effective way to set goals and see positive change.
Arabah Joy has a bundle called Grace Goals: A Revolutionary Way to Set Goals and Achieve Change. It teaches you step-by-step how to set goals and actually see it through to the change you desire.
If you are tired of life as usual and you are truly ready to see a transformation in your life, grab a copy of this bundle right now! Yes, it’s that good!
Block off some time each day for a week to work through the process and great your plan of attack.
Here’s a sneak peek of what’s covered in the bundle:
- Learn why grace is the enablement you need
- Begin to recognize and appropriate grace in your daily life
- Set practical, godly goals
- Be confident of God’s favor and power in your endeavors
- Develop a doable, personal plan for change
- The comprehensive 48-page workbook with 5 mini workshops
- Printables for each of the workshops to guide you and help you implement what you learned from the workshop
Arabah Joy made it possible for me to lay a spiritual foundation for the goals that I wanted to accomplish in every area of my life. Inviting God into the process gave me the strength and determination to see it through all the way.
It’s so hard for me to imagine what my life would be like if I had never taken the time to work through this system. I would be a hot mess if I hadn’t made the changes that I did.
Don’t miss out on the chance to experience true transformation and growth in your life this year. Get your copy of Grace Goals today !
Inside: Getting your priorities straight is important for all parts of your life. Most importantly your spiritual growth.
I recently did a little soul searching in an effort to clear out some emotional junk and unnecessary stress.
I’d grown weary of chasing stuff, trying to make things work in my own might and effort. Something was missing but I was having a hard time putting my finger on it.
One day while reading my Bible I found the answer:
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33 NLT
I realized that day was that I was not seeking the Kingdom of God above all else. That was a hard pill for me to swallow:
- The rule follower in me doesn’t like it when I get it wrong.
- The good girl in me wants to be perfect.
- The Holy Spirit in me convicted me of my selfish thoughts!
I was saying with my mouth that I wanted to live a life obedient to God’s word but there were some areas of my life that I wasn’t walking that out.
Our job as daughters of the King is to seek the kingdom and live righteously. God promise is that when we do He will take care of everything else.
Sounds easy right?
I thought so too.
The truth is that seeking the kingdom means saying no a lot. No to myself, no to the world. No to the things that I think are good for me. Things that I want.
That’s hard. But with determination, it can be done!
Make a commitment to make God your #1 priority no matter what. To crave Him, His word and knowing Him more than anything else.
Because God promises that if I do, He’ll give you the desires of my heart.
How could you say no to that?
How to Practically Seek the Kingdom of God with Priorities
What are your priorities?
If you’re anything like me you have a ton of things on your plate. You probably have more than one plate, LOL! There are so many things that we have to get done each day. Families that we need to take care of, work to do, people to serve.
How can we do all of that and make sure that we are giving God His proper place in our lives?
That’s the same question Martha asked of Jesus when she was doing all the work preparing for guests and her sister Mary was just sitting around doing nothing. Well, she wasn’t doing nothing.
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 NLT
Mary had her priorities right. Martha was focused on the wrong thing in that moment.
Don’t misunderstand! It’s not wrong to take care of your family and invite people to your home. It is wrong to be so focused on those things that we forget to make time for God.
- The dishes can wait for 5 minutes if it that’s all the time you have to read your Bible.
- Your children can entertain themselves or watch TV while you take a few minutes to pray over your day.
- Your guests can eat a meal you pick up from the grocery store if it means you have time to pray and allow God to give you a hospitable attitude before they arrive.
Seriously! There’s nothing worse than going to someone’s house and they spend the entire time in a bad mood because they are exhausted from cleaning.
You just have to put your priorities in their proper place. And then create a schedule that works around them.
Creating a Schedule that Reflects Your Priorities
Having a schedule/routine in place that works for you will give you the freedom you need to get the things done that need to be done, with a good attitude and room for rest and margin.
It’s pretty easy to create a schedule or a routine:
- Make a list of all your roles
- Write down all the tasks that go with those roles
- Sort out the tasks that must be done and the ones that do not (these are your priorities)
- Spend a week keeping track of your time.
- Create a schedule that actually works
Are you ready to embrace your inner Mary? Are you ready for God to give you the desires of your heart? Let’s seek His kingdom together!
If you struggle to stay consistent with daily prayer and Bible study this Christian agenda planner from DaySpring is just what you need!
Having a spiritual growth plan in place helps me to continue to grow and learn about who God is. It’s what helps me stay calm in the face of hard times. It’s what keeps me sane.
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. When you sit down to start planning you may not want to look back at all the pain and disappointment.
But something amazing happens when you do …
You’ll be able to see all the blessings God gave you over the year:
- Things you didn’t like or that were really hard –you’ll see how God used them for your good.
- Those closed doors that were God’s protection.
- Things you thought were failures — you’ll be able to see how they were successes.
- Times when you thought God had let you down — you’ll see how they were actually victories.
Take a Look Back
Sit and write down all the highs and lows of 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 them 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.
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.
My Christian Agenda Planner is My Secret Weapon
My planner has become my secret weapon for staying on track. I have all my important dates and plans written down. My reading plans already penciled in.
I don’t have to wonder what I should read or study. I can just grab my Bible, journal, and planner and spend time with God.
The key to successful and consistent growth is having a plan. And this principle applies to every area of your life. If you want to hit a goal, develop new habits or establish new routines you have to have a solid plan. And then stick to it!
So many of you share your struggles with staying focused and being consistent. I totally get it. There are so many times when I want to do all these things for God but no matter what I do I can’t seem to make it happen.
Well, I finally found a way to overcome all of that.
My love for planners comes a close second to my love for journals. Both have been game changers for my faith and spiritual growth.
I’m pretty picky about what planner I use. I spend hours researching and checkings things out before I buy one. For years I have tried to use one planner for everything: work, homeschool, life and spiritual growth. I finally realized that wasn’t working for me.
I need something specifically for my spiritual growth plans so that I’m not distracted by all the things! That’s where the new agenda planners from DaySpring come in.
They were kind enough to send me a free planner to check out and use and I LOVE it! Here’s a sneak peak:
How to use your Christian Agenda Planner
I share a little about how setting BIG goals and breaking them down into more manageable tasks have really helped me be consistent with my quiet time and cross of my goals for the year.
Here’s a quick rundown of the process:
- Set a BIG goal for the year. If there was one thing that you could accomplish when it comes to your faith what would be it?
- Make a list of all the things that go with your goal. Books to read, Bible studies to work on, sermons to listen to, etc
- Each month take 1-3 things from #2 and make those the focus of your month
- Break those monthly goals down into weekly tasks
- Take those weekly tasks and assign them to specific days.
For example, One of my goals is to read the entire Bible during the year my planning process might look like this:
- Read the entire Bible in a year (all 66 books)
- I need to read 5.5 books each month to reach my goal
- Make a list of 5 books to read each month
- I need to read about 1.5 books each week
- Create a daily reading plan that covers 1.5 books each week
By breaking down our big goal we get rid of that feeling of overwhelm that can hinder our growth. When we take the time to break things down it becomes doable. One step at a time.
Having a planner is a great way to write your plans down. We are more likely to do something when we write it down. Plus we get the satisfaction of crossing things off the list when it’s complete …. and who doesn’t love that.
The new planners from DaySpring are perfect for this kind of planning. They are beautiful, lightweight and durable. So simple and easy to use and there are so many accessories if you really want to jazz it up.
Learning how to study the bible is very important for growing your faith, especially during hard times.
I used to think that I wasn’t smart enough to study the Bible.
Growing up I struggled to read the King James Version of scripture. The words were foreign and hard to pronounce. I didn’t enjoy reading the Bible and I couldn’t understand any of it on my own.
I was dependent on other people to tell me what the verses meant. I didn’t like that. It made me feel stupid.
How in the world was I supposed to teach my boys to love the Word if I couldn’t understand it or love it myself?
I tried different versions of the Bible and reading it got easier but I still struggled to understand and apply it to my situation.
I knew that the answers to my questions were inside the pages of that precious book. But it seemed unreachable.
Can I share something personal with you? My lack of knowledge and understanding of the Bible made me vulnerable in more ways that one.
Because I was so dependent on others to explain the Word to me I was an easy target for spiritual abuse. People twisted scriptures and used their version of the Word to manipulate and control me. To keep me under their thumb.
That was a scary way to live. Especially when I didn’t realize it was happening. I ended up with a faulty view of God and a shallow faith that left me searching for validation and love in the worst places.
Studying the Bible was my ticket to freedom! It was how I was able to see the truth and reclaim my life.
The more that I studied the more I understood the truth of God’s character and His love for me. I knew that He wanted good things for me and that I was valuable. The more that I understood the more that I wanted to understand more.
Studying my Bible saved my life!
I no longer need someone else to tell me what God has to say about my life or my situation. I can read it for myself. I can explain it to someone else and point them in the right direction to study for themselves.
I no longer feel stupid or ashamed. I’m not confused by the words on the page because I know that God will reveal all things to me if I take the time to study and ask Him.
God lives in the pages of the Bible and I love getting to know Him through the Word.
Learning How to Study the Bible Made Easy
Learning how to study the Bible has been vital to my spiritual growth especially during hard times. Being in the word of God is what showed me the truth about who I am, how to manage my emotions and how to find hope and peace in any situation.
All of that has been great but even more than that I have accomplished something that I thought was impossible: I can understand the Bible on my own. I don’t need someone else to tell me what the scriptures mean or to read them to me. I am able to dig deep into the Word for myself and I’m learning so much about my God in the process.
I took this course recently and it really helped me understand the many different ways that I can study the Bible.
Here’s the Cliffs Notes version of what you need to know about the class:
- Bible Study Methods is taught by Arabah Joy and it’s a short class that packs a BIG punch faith-wise
- It’s easy to follow and implement (I did the whole course in one day)
- She teaches you step-by-step 7 different ways to study the Bible
- You don’t need anything special to take this course. Just your computer (or phone) and a willing heart.
Learning to Study the Bible takes Work
Learning to study the Bible didn’t come easily to me. Honestly, if it weren’t for the methods I learned in Arabah Joy’s Bible Study Methods course I would likely still feel like I wasn’t smart enough to understand God’s word.
I was stuck in my spiritual growth because I thought I was too stupid to understand the scriptures.
I used to have these grand goals and plans and then never get around to them. You know, because I would try the first day and then feel overwhelmed and give up.
I would tackle deep in-depth Bible studies without thinking about the time commitment it would take to finish it.
I gave up at one point because I figured I just wasn’t meant to successfully study the Bible.
Thank the Lord that’s not the end of my story. Thanks to a random post about verse mapping and another on word studies I was able to see that it didn’t have to take hours and a Ph.D. to understand the Bible.
If it weren’t for the breakthrough in my faith … I could never have made it through the most difficult trial of my life.
I learned the hard way though … I tried methods but gave up too soon. I took on too much at a time. I had such a negative mindset that I convinced myself that I would never be able to understand even before I got started.
You don’t have to struggle like I did! You can skip right to the easy way to learn to study the Bible.
A Quick and Easy Way to Study the Bible
I know that one thing that really held me stuck in Bible study was feeling like I didn’t have enough time to actually do it.
I pictured myself surrounded by commentaries, dictionaries, and notebooks not coming up for air for hours. I just couldn’t do that.
Well, I’ve learned that that isn’t true. We can study the Bible in a deep and meaningful way in the small pockets of time that we have. Arabah Joy helped me see how easy and fun it is to dig into God’s word. She showed me 7 simple ways to study. Here’s a quick tutorial on verse mapping one of the methods from the course:
Verse mapping is also a great jumping off point for other methods of reading and studying your Bible. You could do a word study, topical study, write out prayers, and even create a reading plan all from mapping out one verse!
How you can Learn to Study the Bible
Arabah Joy has an online course called Bible Study Methods: 7 Ways in 7 Days. It teaches you step-by-step how to study your Bible with confidence and ease. She even gives you a Bible study to practice on.
If you are looking for a way to learn more about the Bible, God and yourself then you would be crazy not to get this course! Yes, it’s just that good.
I don’t want you to just get the course, though. I want you to take it seriously. Watch each of the daily videos and work your way through the Bible study. Really put your heart and soul into this. I have worked my way through the class and I can’t encourage you enough.
If you put in the work for a week you will be amazed at much your faith grows!
Here’s what’s covered in the course:
- 7 daily videos— one for each day of the course. In these videos, Arabah Joy will show you exactly how to do each Bible study method, step by step.
- The 7 Bible study methods we’ll cover are the
- Topical Bible Study Method
- TASTE Bible Study Method
- Verse Mapping
- Chapter Analysis Bible Study Method
- APPLE Bible Study Method
- Lectio Divina and
- Word Bible Study Method
- A comprehensive workbook outlining all 7 methods.
- Printable worksheets for each of the methods. These printable templates walk you step-by-step through each process.
- A Bible Coding Guide Bookmark to help you mark the passages you study
- The Study the Word: Ephesians Plan beautifully combines all seven Bible study methods to create a rich and exciting deep dive into the book of Ephesians… in just six weeks!
I want to learn to study the Bible, is this class right for me?
If you are looking for help with studying the Bible, feel like you don’t have enough time to study the Bible or are looking for a way to try something new with your devotion time this class is definitely for you.
You’ll also need at least 20 minutes a day for a week to watch the videos and work your way through the practice worksheets.
This may not be a good fit for you if you are not a beginner when it comes Bible study. If you are already comfortable with the methods in the course then this isn’t for you.
For everyone else … I think you’ll love Bible Study Methods!
Is the class worth it?
Yes! I would never recommend anything that I wouldn’t use myself. Yes, it’s worth it.
You have to do the work in order to see the results, but there isn’t a doubt in my mind that if you take the class, you’ll see a huge transformation of your bible study time.
You can sign up for Bible Study Methods here.
Arabah Joy made it possible for me to grow my faith stronger than before. I truly love studying my Bible now. She showed me that I can do it! Being able to study the Word for myself has brought me so close to God and helped me become a stronger prayer warrior!
It’s so hard for me to imagine what my life would be like if I never learned these skills. I would truly be in a bad spot spiritually, mentally and emotionally for sure!
If you are looking for a way to learn to study the Bible, grow your faith and get closer to God you need to get this course today!
Inside: One common mistake when it comes to studying the Bible is not knowing what to focus on. Here’s how to overcome that.
There’s a difference between reading your Bible and studying your Bible. They are both equally as important. But they are not the same.
I hear from ladies that are having a hard time with their Bible study or reading their Bible, usually, it’s because they’re trying to do both at the same time. If you’re just reading your Bible, then it’s probably not the time to study your Bible. And if you’re studying your Bible, you don’t want to just read it.
So what do you do when you’re studying your Bible? How do you know if you’re reading the right thing? How do you know what’s important and what needs to be written down?
The Key to Studying Well
When I was in high school, I was in a very strong, stringent academic program where I was basically doing college-level work from freshman year all the way through.
During our freshman year we took a class, and while I can’t remember the name of it, the whole point of the class was to teach us how to study.
We learned note-taking skills. We learned how to read a textbook and take notes. We learned how to listen to a lecture and take notes. We learned how to organize our notes and how to put together notebooks for our different classes.
The big thing that they really focused on, because most of the learning in high school was through textbooks, was how to read your textbook to be able to pull out the important information so that you could study it.
Step #1: Open up the section you’re supposed to be reading and skim it
Read all the bold headlines, look at all the bold words, look for definitions of the bold words, read any captions. Flip to the back where the questions are and look through them.
The reason for doing that was to have an idea of what that particular section was about. Reading all the headings and bold words, along with any captions and definitions gave us a broad understanding of what that chapter was about.
Step #2: Go back to the beginning and actually read through one time
Once you have a basic idea of what the section is about, it’s time to read it through carefully. You know what to look for after skimming it.
The key here is to just focus on reading the material. You are not taking any notes or highlighting things you want to remember. Just read, no studying!
Step #3: Take Notes
Go back through the same section this time and highlight the important parts. Take notes in the margin or on a piece of paper. And see if you can answer the questions you skimmed in the first step.
Applying the Method to Studying your Bible
Those same principles apply to your Bible study and your Bible reading.
Skimming helps introduce you to what you are about to read. The first full read through gives you a basic understanding so that by the third read those important parts jump out at you.
You can read the entire Bible from cover to cover and you’re not going to go deep because you’re not taking the time to study and go into all the meanings and all the words and all the events. But you will have a wide and basic understanding of what the Bible is about.
That’s like skimming the chapter before you read it.
When you get ready to study, you’re not going to study from Genesis to Revelation in one sitting. That’s too much. You’re going to take smaller sections, like maybe one book of the Bible or maybe just one chapter, and you’re going to really go deep when you’re studying.
The inductive Bible study method does a great job of breaking the Bible down like this.
What to Focus on When Studying your Bible?
How do you know what’s important, what to highlight, what to write down, and what to focus on?
That depends on what the Holy Spirit prompts for you. You’ve got to have a purpose.
- Why are you reading?
- Why are you studying?
- Do you want to learn more about something you’re going through?
- Do you just want to have more knowledge about something like what it means to have more peace?
- Are you trying to understand more about an event like the Passover or something like that?
That’s going to help frame what jumps out and is important for you to mark down as you study.
What Jumps Out at You?
When you’re taking the time to read through a passage of Scripture, certain things will jump out at you, depending on what you need.
If you’re going through a financially hard time and you’re reading the Scriptures, then the stories of God providing for His people are what’s going to jump out at you. If you are struggling with fear, then those kinds of things are going to jump out at you.
There’s really no way to determine that ahead of time. You just have to read and see where God leads you. A great way to be able to focus and know what’s going to be important is just to pray and ask God before you even start studying.
Letting God Lead
“Lord, I am reading through the Psalms because it’s what I feel like You are calling me to do.” Or, “I’m not familiar with this book of the Bible, so I’m going to spend my time digging deep into the book of Psalms. What is it that You have for me, that You want me to learn, that you want to reveal to me, while I’m reading or studying this book?”
Just ask Him!
You might not get an answer immediately, but as you continue to read and you notice certain things that are like, “Oh, that fits. Oh, that’s interesting.” Maybe there are points of conviction, where you read something like, “A soft answer turns away wrath”.
And you know you really need to work on that, so you keep reading and even more things about anger or words begin to jump out at you. You know what to focus on then.
Reading for Overall Understanding
When I decided to read through the Bible in 6 months last year, I had to force myself not to highlight and mark and dig deep and ask questions. My purpose was not to dig deep and understand the deep level things about the Bible.
My purpose was to read the whole book, from Genesis to Revelation. I wanted to see the big picture. I wanted to understand how it all connected because I had never done that before. So when you’re reading, even if you’re just reading a small passage as you begin your quiet time, try to focus yourself so that you’re not getting distracted by all the things you want to go really deep on.
Just be there. Just read it. Just read it.
Just read it like you’re reading your newspaper or your favorite book. Just read to have an understanding of what that passage or word of Scripture is about.
Studying your Bible doesn’t have to be difficult!
Bible study and prayer are not meant to be difficult. It’s actually very simple. It’s easy. But we have built it up in our minds into this big mountain that we can’t climb.
That’s a trick from the enemy. He doesn’t want us reading the Bible because that’s how we learn how to find victory in every area of life. He doesn’t want that.
Don’t be intimidated. It’s God’s Word. It’s there for you!
Inside: When you fall behind in your Bible study it can be tempting to quit. Here are some other ideas to help you get back on track.
I don’t always stay on a schedule or a plan that I have for my quiet time or my Bible study. This summer I signed up to do an Armor of God study, and the first week I was on the ball. I had all my homework done three days early.
But a few weeks in found me scrambling to try to catch up!
I went through the same thing when I was reading through the Bible in a year. Some days I was on track, but every now and then I got seriously behind.
4 Tips Ways to Catch-Up When You Fall Behind in Your Bible Study
Option #1 Don’t try to catch-up!
If you are doing a small group study it can be really hard if you fall behind. It means that you won’t be able to follow the conversation or discussion. Or maybe you will have nothing to add.
One thing that you can do is skip over what you’ve missed and just stay where everybody else is. If it’s a 5-week study and you get week 1 done but you miss week 2, and then everybody else is on week 3, just skip over week 2 and go on to week 3 and keep going forward.
Please don’t stay home just because you aren’t caught up.
You can still get a lot of learning and encouragement from just listening to what’s going on. Especially if it’s a video-based study. You can learn so much from watching the videos even if you can’t keep up with the homework.
Just skip over the week you’ve missed and when the study is over or you have extra time during the week, go back and work on the parts that you missed.
Option #2 Pick up where you left off
Instead of skipping over what you missed, simply pick up where you left off. If you left off in your 7-week study on week 3, and this study is over, then just start where you left off and work forward.
Maybe you just do a week at a time and that means you finish later than everybody else. Or if you have some extra time, work in there. But just keep going.
This is an especially good option if you’re in a study where each week builds on itself. In most studies, the content will be related, but there are some studies, like Beth Moore’s Daniel study, where if you try to skip over a week and then catch up, you would be lost.
Option #3 Do a Bible study blitz
Carve out a block of time and just plow through whatever it is that you need to get done. And that way, you’re all caught up.
Option #4 Consider your season
The last option is to evaluate where you are. There are different seasons of life where you have more (or less) time to focus on spiritual growth and your faith.
Often for me, especially when my older two kids were small, I found that every time I joined a study, I was always behind. And I had to realize that that was the season I was in where group studies weren’t going to be a really good fit for me. Because I didn’t have the time to keep up.
That doesn’t mean that you should abandon them altogether or that they’re a terrible idea for everybody. But there are seasons in life where you’re not going to be able to keep up with the homework.
What happens when you realize that you’re in a season where a Beth Moore or those types of studies aren’t going to work for you?
- You can choose not to do groups at all and do something different
- Study your Bible in a way that doesn’t require the commitment of daily homework assignments
- Join the group but just don’t do the homework. Go every week, watch the video, take notes on what’s in the video. Participate in the discussions as much as you can. Be there in prayer and enjoy the community and fellowship.
It’s okay to go sit in a group study and not even buy the member book. Just sit there with a pen and a piece of paper or your journal. Watch the video and take notes. Jot down the different references that the teacher mentions.
Then as you have time during the week, pull out your Bible and read that verse and take some notes. You’re still a part of the study and you’re still able to have that dedicated time where you’re working on growing your faith and being with God.
You’re in fellowship with other women, you’re in that community, and that can be a really great thing. Especially if you’re going through a hard time, don’t isolate yourself. Just go and be honest. You can always, when life calms down a little bit, buy the member book or pull out the member book that you bought and never used and work through the study on your own.
What Not to Do When You Fall Behind in Your Bible Study
Do not beat yourself up.
You don’t want to be so hard on yourself. The Bible says that there is no more condemnation once you’re in Christ Jesus. God is not going to come down like whack-a-mole and bop you on the head because you fell behind in your Bible study!
He loves you. He wants to spend time with you. But He’s not concerned with the amount of time. If all you have is 5 minutes, He is happy to have those 5 minutes with you and He will bless you during those minutes.
Remember, God looks at your heart. If your heart is motivated and your intention is to be with Him and spend time with Him, it doesn’t matter if it’s 5 minutes or 5 hours.
Inside: If you struggle to make time for devotions keep reading. You’ll learn how to tell if you really don’t have time for God.
I really wanted to read my Bible but my to-do list was a mile long.
I thought I had a minute to pray but then I suddenly remembered all the dishes and laundry that waited for me. I had a plan to work on my Bible study when the kids went to bed but by the end of the day, I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
The key to being close to God during everyday life and struggles is being consistent in Bible study and prayer.
But it’s a struggle!
Good Intentions Aren’t Enough
We are all very busy these days with kids and family and work and all of those commitments that pull our time. Those things are important, but sometimes there’s so much going on that we just don’t have time to pick up our Bible or time to pray.
I am so guilty of this. I always say, “As soon as I get the boys to bed and have a moment of peace and quiet, I’m going to sit down and pray. I’m going to open my Bible and I’m going to work on my Bible study, or I’m going to work on my Bible reading plan.”
And then I fall asleep.
For me, waiting until the end of the day when everything is done and all the kids are asleep, I’m so exhausted from the day that I fall asleep. I just can’t keep my eyes open anymore!
Are you really short on time?
What is your biggest struggle right now?
If I came to you and said, “Hey, I know you’re going through a hard time right now but you know what? I can tell you one thing that will completely solve whatever your problem is.”
I’ll bet that if you’re anything like me, you would want to know what that one thing that is. If this one thing could make anything that you’re going through easier, you would want to know about it.
No matter what you’re going through, no matter what you’re dealing with, there is one thing that you can do today that will make it easier, that will solve all of your problems. Something that will help take the stress away and help you find peace and joy and strength.
That one thing is time with God.
Being in the Word and praying consistently is the key to whatever you are facing in your life today, big or small. It doesn’t matter if you are just trying to figure out how to get through the day today, taking care of your babies without completely losing your mind; a quiet time is going to help you with that.
If you are having financial hardships and you just don’t know what to do, spending time in the Word and time with God is going to show you what to do. It’s going to solve whatever your problem is. That is the answer.
Are You Too Busy for God?
Are you really too busy?
Are you really too busy to do the thing that’s going to make your life easier, that’s going to give you peace and sanity and rest and offer all the things that you need?
Are you really that busy?
I’ll bet that the answer to that is probably no. If I could do one thing that’s going to make everything bearable, that’s going to help me get through, that’s going to help me find peace…no, I’m not too busy.
So if we’re not too busy to do something that’s going to ease our load and bring us peace, then what’s the problem?
The problem is that we struggle with our priorities and time management. We’ve got all of these important things that we want to do or that we are doing. But we forget what is the most important.
And what is the most important thing?
Clubs, movies, play time…all of those things are important. They are all part of being a whole and healthy person, but they aren’t the most important thing.
Your laundry will still be there when you finish praying. The dishes will still be there when you’re done studying your Bible.
You can clean your house 5 minutes from now if you only have 5 extra minutes. You can get to that. Your kids will still be there in 5 minutes. It’s okay if they play on their own for a little while. It’s okay if you need to pop them in front of the tv for 10 minutes to get some time to be with God.
Seek Him First
The most important thing is God. God first, and everything else falls into place. He says that. He says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and then all these things will be added unto you.” What are all these things?
They are everything that He talks about before that verse. All the things that are important to you, the desires of your heart. If we seek God first, if we put Him in the proper place in our lives and in our schedules, everything else becomes easier.
People ask me all the time, “How do you manage to homeschool and to work from home and you’re a single mom, etc?”
It’s because I’ve learned to put God first. When I do not make time to be in prayer and to read my Bible and to just really spend time with God before I jump into the day, the day is a lot harder. I struggle with my attitude, with my patience, with everything.
Just that one thing first thing in the morning really makes all the difference. Now, having said all of that, I want to share another secret with you.
It doesn’t have to take a lot of time.
Making Time for God
You don’t need hours and hours in order to be efficient with your quiet time or to really get to know God. If all you have is one minute, then give God that one minute. It’s possible to grow closer to God and to grow spiritually in just a few minutes a day.
The Bible says, “But God rewards those who diligently seek Him.” If you are diligently seeking God with that one minute that you have in the morning before all chaos ensues, He is going to reward you for that one minute. And then you’ll grow from one minute to five minutes, and from five minutes to ten minutes.
And then maybe one day you will have an hour that you can spend.
A Day Spent with God
Here are some ways to find God in small pockets of time during your day:
- Take five minutes in the morning to pray over your day and read one verse
- In the afternoon, take 5 minutes to go back and read a few more verses
- While you’re cooking dinner take a minute to thank God for all He’s brought you through that day, share a need with Him, and maybe read that verse one more time to get you through the rest of the day
15 minutes spent with God in prayer and in the Word throughout your day. Seems easy when it’s laid out like that doesn’t it?
Here’s a few more:
- While folding laundry: pray over each person as I fold their clothes
- While cooking dinner: thank God for providing the means for you to have healthy food
- While paying bills: Ask God to continue to bless financially and for Him to teach you to be a good steward of the resources He provides
We Need Time with God in Order to Survive
That is how we, as busy moms, find time for Bible study and prayer. You have to realize that it is the most important thing that you can do. And then you have to put it in its proper place in your priorities.
Its’ got to be the most important thing.
You don’t have to think about breathing or eating. You just do that because you need it to survive. That is what your relationship with God is as well.
You have to do it. It is not optional.
If we don’t have God in our lives, we are going to crack up and lose our minds, We won’t be joyful, we won’t enjoy our work, we won’t enjoy those beautiful kids He gave us, and we’re not going to be able to serve our families the way we want to.
He is the key. God is the most important thing.
When you realize that and put it in the proper place, then it becomes easier. You’ll feel off when you get so busy that you forget to have time with God. You’ll miss it!
Let me say it one more time.
Spending time with God is the most important thing. You’ve got to get it done.
No matter what you’re facing, no matter what you’re going through. If you want to get through it with victory and peace and joy, you’ve got to spend time with God. It’s not optional, so stop thinking of it as optional.
Inside: A few tips on how to decide what to study during your quiet time with God.
You’ve set aside the time and gathered your materials for quiet time. The house is (relatively) quiet and you are ready to spend some time with God.
There’s just one problem …
You don’t know where to start. What should you read or study? What should you pray about?
One struggle I hear all the time is that women have no idea what to do during their quiet time with God. It can be confusing and frustrating really hinder spiritual growth.
I used to feel the same way. But I have found a few things that help me when I feel stuck.
Keys to an Effective Quiet Time
The two keys to having a successful and effective quiet time are prayer and Bible study. Bible study can encompass a lot of things, reading the Scriptures, digging in and memorizing them, etc. But a lot of times, people get stuck because they have no idea what they should be studying.
The Bible is this big, huge book. There are so many topics and it can be hard to know where to start. Today, I want to share a few tips that I hope will help you not get stuck trying to figure out what to study.
Tools to Make Study Time More Effective
First, you need a tool that will help you find verses of Scripture when you need them. I like to have a concordance. When I was young, every Bible that I had had its own concordance in the back.
A concordance is like an index for your Bible. You can flip to the back and look up a person or a topic, and it will give you a list of Scriptures. I recommend Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. It is huge, but I love it. You can also find it online.
If you want to look up a topic or a person, just pull out a concordance and look up a word like “faith.” The concordance will give you a list of all the verses that talk about that topic in the Old Testament and the New Testament. That will help you to create a plan for what I am studying or reading.
But I can hear you ask, “How do I figure out what to look up in my new, giant concordance?” Great question!
Deciding What to Study
Option #1 – What Are You Struggling With?
One idea is to ask yourself what you are currently struggling with. Or if you’re a mom, ask yourself what your children are struggling with. My oldest son has a bit of a temper problem (which I must admit he gets honestly. Both of his parents have temper issues.) For a long time, I was having a hard time reaching his heart and talking to him about his anger.
One month, I decided to focus my own Bible time on learning about anger and specifically what God says about anger and self-control so that I could help him more. So that’s exactly what I did. I got my concordance out and looked up anger. And every day in my quiet time, I read and studied what the Bible had to say about anger.
Option #2 – Pick a Book, Any Book
Another thing you can do is pick a book of the Bible. Maybe you choose the book of James. One of my boys is reading through the book of James right now because it’s something he wanted to do. Picking a book to focus on is a great way to have a plan for what you want to study.
Option #3 – Look at the Calendar
Another thing you can do it look at the Biblical calendar. You will see that there are lots of big events that go on: Passover, Christmas, Easter. That is also a way to pick something to study. When December rolls around and it’s Advent season, what a great time to study the prophecies that foretold the coming of the Messiah.
Option #4 – What Do You Want to Know?
Is there something you just want to learn more about? I have done this many times. Just last year, I wanted to learn all I could about prayer. I wanted to know what God said about prayer and what was the right way to pray. I looked up every verse that I could find on the topic of prayer.
This is probably my favorite way to study and read is to just dig in deep on something that interests me.
You could also choose a person to study. Maybe you want to study the life of Paul or Abraham or the women of the Bible. These are all themes that will help you focus on what you can study in your devotional time so that you have a plan and you aren’t spending the 5-10 minutes you set aside trying to figure out what to read.
Option #5 – Pray!
Yes, pray and ask God what it is that He wants you to learn about, what He wants you to work on, what He wants to reveal to you during your time with Him.
He is faithful to answer those questions. He says, “If you want wisdom, just ask for it”, and He will give it. He gives it freely. Sometimes we have not because we don’t ask.
So ask Him for direction, and He will be faithful to answer that question.
Inside: How to know if you are doing your quiet time the “right” way.
Quiet time with God is something that needs to happen if we are going to grow spiritually. But often we aren’t sure what we need to include.
Our hearts desperately want to grow closer to God but our heads aren’t sure what that needs to look like. We have questions like:
- Do I need to always pray on my knees?
- Is there only one Bible translation that’s okay to read?
- What’s the right length of time for my daily devotions?
What is the right way to do this quiet time thing!
What Does “Quiet Time” Even Mean?
Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to talk about what “quiet time” is.
when I say quiet time, I’m talking about daily devotions, or a time every day that you’re going to spend with God for spiritual growth. That usually includes some form of Bible reading or study and prayer. It can include other things too, but those are the two that I tend to focus on.
Is there just one way to get it right?
Do whatever works for you. There is no one way to do your Bible study. There is no one way to read your Bible. There is no one way to pray.
I understand the frustration. When I was growing up I only saw people pray in a certain way. When I went to church, the people were on their knees, they were speaking in tongues, they were singing and groaning and moaning. At home, my own mom prayed in a very similar way.
I didn’t know anything else. For the longest time, I thought that was the only way to pray.
When you want to do something else …
As I got older, I had some problems with what I thought was the norm.
If I tried to be on my knees to pray, I would fall asleep. To be 100% honest with you, I still fall asleep if I try to pray that way. But I had in my mind that it was the only way because it was what I saw.
We all tend to copy what we see other people around us doing, and that’s great. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that.
But sometimes it just doesn’t work for us, and there’s no need to feel guilty or feel bad about it. That doesn’t mean that you’re doing it wrong.
Which Bible translation should you read?
When I was growing up, my church and my mom used the King James Bible. My mom still uses it. As a kid, she bought me a King James Precious Moments Bible.
I cannot read the King James Bible. It doesn’t make sense to me. I get hung up on all the “thee’s, thou’s, ‘eths” etc. For the longest time, I hated reading my Bible. So I didn’t read it.
Until I was in middle school and someone gifted me an NIV student Bible. I thought, “Oh my goodness! I can understand this! I can read this. I’m not stumbling over the words.”
That really opened up a way for me to enjoy reading my Bible. I was able to start studying it.
It’s okay to think outside of the box
If you are driving to work in the morning, you obviously can’t be on your knees with your face on the ground and pray, because you would crash.
You can pray however it works for you.
- Walk around and pray
- Journal and pray
- Sing songs as prayer
- Pray a prayer that somebody else has written
It doesn’t really matter as long as you pray!
God is not hung up on the mechanics and things about how you are approaching Him and how you are seeking Him and trying to get to know Him. He just wants you to spend time with Him. That’s it.