Soul Sunday: Getting it in with God Part II
So last time we chopped up, we discussed some of the barriers to spending time with God. We talked about behaviors, attitudes and choices that interfere with our ability to really hear from God. If you haven't already read part one, I'd lovingly encourage you to click HERE to read it! It will lay the foundation to the nuggets in this post.
Alright, up and onward!
Today I want to drop some knowledge into creatively seeking God in different seasons and using different methods. Sometimes I find myself using a particular method for a season, and other times I see myself using multiple methods. I like having a variety of ways to seek him because if you know me, I can be very sporadic and well..."impulsive". I personally hate being constrained and forced to do things (ANYTHING) one particular way. This side of me has forced myself to look for, develop, and be creative in my time with God. Some of my favorite ways to get it in are:
1.) Journaling - I've always been a writer [I've actually had a blog since high school =)] And before blogs I have diaries and journals on deck. But it wasn't until about 4 years ago that I started writing 'to God'. I found it easier to talk about my day, my feelings, and process my thoughts with God on paper versus praying. When I really got the hang of things, I started looking for what God's word said about my issues, my feelings, and my thoughts. Then I was really making some progress.
2.) SOAP notes - The clinical side of me, enjoys documenting things. I like to use SOAP notes spiritually! I found this through Good morning girls blog, they use SOAK notes (similar), and it's a tool that I really like. I use this during my devotionals. To explain it briefly, the SOAP notes help you to define a scripture, write how it stands out to you, write how it applies to you, and write your plans or prayers based on it. I found it really helpful, and a great way to 'hear' what God may be telling me. I also liked that it was something I could do relatively quickly.
3.) Devotionals - I like signing up for a good devotional (my favorites are from Proverbs 31 ministries - did you see my blog post about their New App?) but sometimes I use Joyce Meyers or For his Utmost, etc. Devotionals are great ways to start your morning, allowing you to meditate on what God's speaking to you during your entire day. OR - a great way to wind down in the evenings. When I struggled with managing my mornings, I found that resting with God after the kids were down and I had some alone time ended my day perfectly.
4.) Podcasts - I started listening to Joyce Meyers podcast, when I couldn't journal, wake up or go to bed remembering devotionals, or consider doing anything else. Honestly - I listened in the mornings on my way to work. And I listened so frequently - I begin tuning into my favorite sermons if I knew I was struggling in a particular area. I also enjoyed Jimmy Evans, when looking for relationship refreshers, and Joel Osteen for encouragement.
5.) Writing prayer lists - For a long time, I truly struggled with prayer. It just came so hard for me. I couldn't pray very long, or smoothly like I had heard others. And I always got off track in the mornings, or fell asleep in the evenings (you know how it is!). I read a book my hubby bought me for Christmas one year called A busy woman's guide to prayer and this helped provide me with many new creative ways to pray. One of the mentioned ways were writing prayer lists and throughout your day saying quick prayers. I'd make a long list at the beginning of the week, and when I had a quick minute I'd look at my list on my cell phone and pray about one person/thing at a time. This helped me make positive progress towards developing a simple prayer life.
6.) Meditating - This is can be very challenging, especially for me - as sitting still without reflecting and ruminating on my to-do list are beyond me. But I found a great way for me to start OR end my day, through taking a walk around my neighborhood listening to meditative music, or meditative dialogue (declarations or positive affirmations). I used this while I decompressed from my day in the evenings or planned for my day in the mornings. I'd often myself in a atmosphere of gratitude seeing nature and thinking about all that God has blessed me with.
7.) War Room - So after I saw the movie War Room - my prayer life was transformed. I had always struggled with prayer but God knew what he was doing when he sent me off by myself to see that movie in a theater. I don't know why, but it suddenly dawned - such as easier way to pray. Just declare God's word over every area of my life. I began writing out lies (strategies) from the enemy and then what God's word was saying. I wrote them out on paper and looked for a War Room. Well - don't judge (or laugh! =]) but I found my shower as my War Room. It was private, I spent time in it every day in the morning and I could go as long or short as I needed.
Now I look forward to my time with God. I'm at a place where I talk to him by journaling, hear from him through journaling and devotionals, and visit my war room daily to pray about my life, ministry, husband and children.
I hope you will find some of these tools helpful in developing your own ways to get some time in with God. If something works, great! If it doesn't modify it, or get even more creative with it to make it consistent and enjoyable. I find that the more time I get in with God, the more direction, stability and fullness my life has.