One of the unexpected things that happened once we moved to the mountains was how much closer we’ve felt to God. I told Brandon that sometimes it amazes me to think that from our mountaintop we’re able to look down on the world as God created it to be. There are no cars, no buildings, no bridges, or anything other than the natural world. It’s like, for a few minutes, we’re granted the ability to see God’s creation in its purest form. There’s something inspiring about that and it makes me feel closer to God than ever before.
When we were setting goals for the new year one of the goals I set was to continue to grow closer to God. Our word of the year this year is “Cherish” and I’m trying to use that to also focus on cherishing the blessings I have in my life despite the ache I feel over our continued infertility struggle. I’m trying to focus on the good things and concentrate on the blessings rather than the struggle. It’s hard but it’s doable, right?
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Pray with a grateful heart
One of the things I’m the most guilty of is seeking God in prayer when I need something from Him rather than to thank Him for the blessings I have already been granted. There’s a quote that goes around all of the time that says, “If the only prayer you ever said was ‘thank you’ it would be enough.” It convicts me every time because I know I don’t share gratefulness as much as I share neediness but sharing gratefulness is an important step toward a closer relationship. It leads us to acknowledge blessings and forces us, even if just for a moment, to see the good in our lives and each day.
Set your lock screen
I like to set the lock screen background on my iPhone to a graphic with a bible verse or an image with a verse overlaid somewhere. Right now my lock screen is a picture of Brandon holding our chihuahua in the snow but in the snow, in the bottom left corner I also added Ecclesiastes 7:9 – “Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.”. I chose that one because my dogs try my patience sometimes and I need a reminder to control my irritation. I check my phone about 4,753 times per day so having that on my screen is a constant reminder to check myself.
Buy a coloring Bible
I bought this Beautiful Word Coloring Bible on Amazon a few weeks ago and I absolutely love, love, love it. I’m also being deliberately specific when I say to buy a coloring Bible, not just to buy a new Bible. There are a lot of coloring Bibles out there so you have plenty of options to choose from. The coloring pages in my new Bible have helped me focus on the words I’m reading rather than just reading them without taking the time to stop, consider, and comprehend the words. The coloring pages make me slow down and process what is being said to me. The Beautiful Word Coloring Bible chose powerful and impactful verses to color which have been good for my heart and spirit.
Still ask WWJD
I kind of feel old here because I know WWJD (what would Jesus do?) was huge in the 90’s and not so much anymore but it’s still relevant. I’ve done a lot of studying lately of the words and actions of Jesus in the Bible. I’ve skipped over a lot of the stories, background, and setting to focus specifically on the words and actions of Jesus himself. It’s important to me to seek Him in all of my words and behaviors (although I constantly fail miserably) and the best way to do that is to focus on Him in the Bible. I’m not disregarding the rest of the book (that’d be foolish) but I’ve done a lot of seeking out specifically the words and actions of Jesus. When I’m faced with situations that bring out the worst in me I’m doing better about seeking Jesus in my response because I’m more familiar with him.
Create a special spot
One of the odd/little things I’ve loved about Game of Thrones is that they have a Godswood in Winterfell. Of course, I know it’s not about my Christian God and I know that George R.R. Martin is anti-religion but I still appreciate the concept of a special place designed for spiritual connection. I often tell Brandon when I plan a hike that I feel like I’m out seeking Eden because when I’m in the wild I feel like I’m viewing the world as God intended rather than as we created. I have trails and locations that help me feel especially connected to the created world and I find it easiest to pray or talk to God when I’m there. If you don’t have your own spot, try to find or create one. It doesn’t have to be outdoors, it can be anywhere you feel able to decompress and connect.
Connect with a verse for the year
Many people (myself included) create a “Word of the year” instead of setting New Year resolutions. If you’re not familiar with the concept there’s a great post (and word suggestions) about it here on The Spirited Violet. My word of the year for 2018 is “Cherish” but I also set a verse of the year which helps me stay focused on my word and on the word of God. My verse this year is, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18. I plan to use that verse all year to continue to be grateful for the things I do have rather than being upset over the things I don’t have, to cherish my blessings, and to accept the will of God. I pray over that verse each morning as I ask God to continue to work in my heart and keep me grateful.
Consult God for big decisions
I noticed this was a huge area where I have been lacking lately. My husband and I have made a lot of big decisions but rarely was I asking God to weigh in on what we were about to do. I always felt God’s hand leading us (which is why we made the decisions we did) but never did I actually stop to talk to or pray to God about it. We all have the tendency to consult family, friends, church members, neighbors, co-workers, etc. for advice or opinions and while it’s good to get outside opinions you’ll feel closer to God if you ask Him too. I’m trying to train myself to avoid making any big decisions until after I’ve prayed.
Anything I missed? What do you do to feel closer to God?