Several years ago my husband and I were in a small group. One guy in that group was a militant goal setter. He persisted in pushing us to set goals, and really slid into high gear around New Years, challenging us to set goals in all sorts of categories, including spiritual.
Spiritual goal setting—I’d never before considered that.
I’m not a big long-term goal setter because I’m not a very diligent long-term goal keeper. I’ve rarely kept a New Year resolution going from January 1st through December 31st. However, this possibility piqued my imagination, and I decided to do what the small group guy proposed.
I don’t remember a single one of the multiple goals I set that year except the one focus I desired to pursue in the spiritual category:
“I want to be a better pray-er.”
This one sentence was powerful. It guided me through that entire year…and beyond. It motivated me to explore prayer in fresh ways. I read a number of books about prayer that year. When I heard about a prayer workshop coming to our region, I registered.
My understanding of prayer expanded. I became a student of prayer and felt freedom to practice various prayer models. I discovered what methods fit my unique spiritual design. Guilt I’d felt most of my life about not praying enough or not praying in the right way dissipated. My communication with God became more meaningful, more natural.
I learned journaling prayers works well for me. This makes total sense since I’m a person who loves to express herself with written words. I also found praying Scripture resonates with my spirit. I started personalizing and journaling Scripture prayers. Today, praying Scripture feels as organic as breathing.
This experience showed me I’m more likely to implement a principle or expand a value than I am to keep a resolution. Actually, science supports what I learned seemingly by coincidence. Scientific evidence reveals people have a psychological limit to the amount of willpower we possess. When we attempt to change too much at once, failure is the result.
Now, each year in October or November, I start thinking about and praying for one word or short phrase to become my next-year theme.
The phrase I’ve chosen to guide me through 2017 is “Soul Care.” This emphasis came into focus after reading Soul Keeping by John Ortberg. I’m excited to see where the phrase leads. Already, I’ve placed an Amazon order for books to read. I’m sure as 2017 progresses, I’ll write posts on the topic.
Until then, blessings to you and yours as we journey together through this New Year!