If you've ever been in a relationship, or even a good friendship, you know the importance of quality time. I lived with my best friend all through college. We did almost everything together. On-campus Starbucks lines, random Mexican restaurant trips and loud music blasting sessions while outfit swapping to get ready to go out.
When we both got serious boyfriends, our time shifted a little. We didn't have as much time at home together, but we made a point to get together once a week. Sometimes, we got our nails done. Other times, we grabbed margaritas and enchiladas. Most of the time, we did both. Regardless, we made the time.
Now, she lives in Kansas City and I live in Montgomery, Alabama. We still make the time.
We met for a long weekend in Atlanta over the summer. I went up to Kansas City to bop around with her in October. We try to have a weekly phone date.
Relationships, like the really deep ones, take time. You have to spend time on people. With the world we live in and as busy as things can get, we simply have to make the time.
The thing is this- your relationship with the Lord is no different. You have to make the time. To be honest, I don't think you can afford to not make the time. I say that, not because I'm any sort of religious authority (HA), but because that has been my experience.
I say that because for the latter half of 2017, I got intentional about making the time for God in the morning before work. And you wanna something? It changed EVERYTHING. Every single thing. Real talk.
Sometimes, five minutes. Other times, 45 minutes to an hour. Singing worship songs, reading scripture and just frankly speaking to God. Thanking, asking, trusting. All of it.
I miss days. I do. But I make it most days. Usually with a pen and a ton of highlighters. Always with coffee and fuzzy socks.
If you are wanting to grow your faith, encounter the Spirit in a more personal way and/or just simply hear God's voice and get to know Him better, I promise it's simply a matter of sincerely looking for Him. His Word says so.
One of the best ways, if not THE best way, to find Him is to spend time in scripture. As important and incredible as it is, The Bible can be intimidating. It's massive.
Mine, for me, is like a loved on blanket. It's familiar, cozy and comforting...but only because I have underlined, highlighted (and spilled coffee, woops) all through its pages. It's edges are filled with notes, song lyrics and page folds. It's like an old friend...one that it took time to get to know.
One of the most helpful tools I've had to help me navigate the Bible, find passages that speak life to me and just honestly helped get me comfortable enough to open it up and dive in is a devotional. The ones I've had really helped me unload God's truth, and see how His words apply to my life and faith journey. There are sooooo many good ones out there. I just wanted to share the two I've used over the past two years and show you the one I will be using for 2018.
You can pick and choose how many, how often and how you really want to do this- for me, I focus a whole year to one devotional and really let its truth sink in.
For 2016, I used "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young. I know this one is super popular because I've seen its pages on a number of Instagram stories.
This little book, really packs such a powerful punch of spiritual truth. A really cool thing about it is that it goes by calendar day. Starting on January 1st, there is a page for each day. Each new month starts with a piece of scripture outlining a sub-theme for the main theme of the entire devotional, which is that Jesus is truly always with you. Each passage is short, digestible and brings that message home in a new way. They each also end with versus in your Bible that you can go to to see exactly where the message came from in Scripture.
I can't think of a more powerful way to start your day than to be reminded each morning that, no matter what you will face that day, Jesus is right there with you. It's actually pretty mind-blowing that Sarah Young found 365 ways to tell you this and 365 different bunches of scripture to back it up.
I would definitely recommend this one for a first devotional, especially if you just really need that extra comfort and reminder that you're never alone...which is honestly something we all need from time to time.
As 2017 comes to a close, I'm finishing up Joyce Meyers' "Battlefield of the Mind" devotional. She has two separate books with the"Battlefield of the Mind" title, a book and a devotional. I loved the book, and the devotional has been an incredible guide for my year. Unlike "Jesus Calling", this one is not laid out by the day. Instead, there are 100 entries. Each one is titled by the life issue it addresses, and they all center around the concept that each day we do this whole life thing is a day that we're engaging in spiritual warfare. I would say this devotional is awesome for people who are looking to take that next step and go all in with their faith journey. It's clear, but intentional about addressing the every day attacks Satan uses in our lives- anxiety, worry, money stress, jealousy, comparison, judgement of others, lack of confidence, etc.
It does an incredible job of breaking down these issues and explaining all the ways the Lord intends for us to live free from them.
I loved Joyce Meyer's style because she's direct and convicting, but never judgemental- she always empathizes and explains how her own life applies to everything. This year, this devotional was an incredible way to reset my mind every morning and really prepare myself for the day.
If you're wondering about there being only 100 entries, I think it works anyway because they each touch on something different. There will be days when you'll need to re-read an entry and meditate on it. I promise.
Lastly, for 2018, I'll be using another Joyce Meyer called the "The Confident Woman Devotional". It's also based off a book, and it's specifically designed to address the everyday issues of being a woman. I am super excited about next year's devotional, especially because I stumbled upon it while skimming the clearance section of my local bookstore. It's always a good purchase when it finds you, ya know?
I hope these recommendations are helpful to you. I think getting in the Word can be a little easier and less daunting, when we have digestible nuggets to review and reflect on. My recommendation...set aside some time in the morning to grab a cup of coffee, a worship playlist (I put some of my favorite songs at the bottom of this post), a highlighter, a pen, your Bible, a devotional and maybe a journal (also food if you're like me in the morning and your stomach is making ALL the noises).
Start small. Be real. If you don't have the hunger for it, ask for it. Really, pray for for the hunger to WANT to spend time with God. It's okay.
I did it, and it was okay. Better yet, I did it and it worked.
Make your time with the Lord just that, yours. Spend the time, and watch how that relationship grows and then transforms your entire life. Really Really.
With Love & Glitter,
P.S. If you need some songs to get you started, here are 10 of my favorites.
1. "Oceans" by: Hillsong United
2. "Whom Shall I Fear [God of Angel Armies]" by: Passion, Chris Tomlin
3. "Flawless" by: MercyMe
4. "Road Trip" by: Kirk Franklin
5. "Grace to Grace" by: Hillsong Worship
6. "Not Today" by: Hillsong Worship
7. "I'm Getting Ready" by: Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Nicki Minaj
8. "Broken Things" by: Matthew West
9. "So Will I (100 Billion X)" by: Hillsong United
10. "My World Needs You" by: Kirk Franklin, Sarah Reeves, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Tamela Mann