Do you have a plan for growing closer to God in the next 12 months? If so, I guarantee you’ll be a better parent by the end of the year.
I used to think I needed to read more books and talk with more experienced moms to learn the secret to being a more patient, loving, capable parent. But now I’m convinced that the best way to improve my relationships — and my effectiveness in all that I do — is to improve my relationship with God.
Instead of making “new year’s resolutions” each year, I sit down with God and ask “How will I grow more in love with You this year?” By being intentional about setting goals to prioritize my relationship with God, I’ve found the result is growing in my relationships with my family and friends, as well.
Here are some examples of setting spiritual goals so that you are one year closer to Christ – and to those you love – by the time next January rolls around.
- Meet with God before anyone else. Do you have a daily plan to meet with God before anyone else? It’s one way of prioritizing Him above anything and anyone. It’s also a way of making sure you’re at your best, emotionally, by the time you start interacting with your family. When my daughter was just 3 or 4 years old, I remember telling her “I’m a better Mommy after spending time with Jesus.” When she was about 6 years old, I also remember her saying to me one day after I snapped “You’d better spend some time with Jesus, Mommy.” My lack of time with God apparently showed!
- Get into God’s Word every day. If you’ve owned a Bible for years but have never read the entire book, this is a great time to start. There are several good resources available to help you read through the Bible in a year. Try it in a different translation than you usually read. Or, ask yourself where you want to be in your relationship with the Lord by the end of the year and then set tangible goals for getting there through study. For instance, if you want to know God better, consider a study of His names in the Old Testament and Jesus’ “I am” statements in the New Testament. If you need to slow down and learn to listen for His voice, study all the Word says about “rest” or “hearing” or His “voice.” The more you know God’s Word the more it will penetrate your life causing you to live, think and act differently.
- Participate in a weekly small-group Bible study or lead one among your friends, co-workers, or parents in your neighborhood. We can grow at a faster rate in community because we are able to share our experiences with one another and hold each other accountable. This growth applies to marriage, parenting, and our personal life, as well. Find a small group study in your local church or be the catalyst to start one in your sphere of influence.
- Record your blessings and answered prayers. Keep a “blessing book” in which you record every blessing that comes your way throughout the year, adding a prayer of thanks or praise. In addition, write out your prayer requests and record the answers as they come. By writing out these types of things, you will not only be more keenly aware of how God is working in and around your life, but you will become a person who is able to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (First Thessalonians 5:18). This blessing book or prayer journal can be a great teaching tool with your children as you share with them what God is doing in your life and teach them to be people of gratitude, too.
- Pick a ‘theme verse’ for the year. Say it aloud every day. I guarantee if you do this, by the end of the year — and probably a lot sooner — you will have memorized one more verse of Scripture. You will also have incorporated that verse into your life, instead of just reading it on the page. The more we recite something and let it into our hearts and minds, the more it becomes a part of us.
Make some of these action points priority in your life this year and hopefully, by the end of 2017, you’ll be not only another year older in your body, but another year older in your faith and walk with Christ…and a better parent because of it.
Proverbs 14:26 assures us: “Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge”(NIV).
Which of these steps will you focus on this year?
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The HeartCORe Single Parent Conference will inspire and encourage you to be the best mom or dad you can be during these challenging times. Be blessed by the messages given by single parent experts, Misty Honnold (Single Mom KC) and Matt Haviland (A Father’s Walk Single Dad Ministry). Culturally relevant material presented by Lori Wildenberg and Becky Danielson, co-founders 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting, will arm you with the current cutting edge information for families.