In celebration of our upcoming Still Saturday event, I thought I’d share a few practices I’ve found helpful to create space in my life for God to do His work. (Note that there is still a LOT of it left to do…like a lot, a lot.)
Four Practices + Two Bonus Ideas
1. Get out of bed 30 minutes earlier.
This is your time, it is thirty minutes that you are adding to the day for your own spiritual growth so protect this time. Be careful not to let email, dirty dishes, or Twitter notifications steal from it. Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and sit down in your most comfy spot. Open up your Bible and read your scripture for the day. (More below on what to read.) It is extra nice to have a journal or sketchbook handy where you can briefly write or doodle about the parts that speak to you most.
- Offer gratitude for the day ahead, for your life, your loved ones, and for God’s faithfulness.
- Ask God to lead you through the day and help you to be a beacon of light and love.
- Share your thoughts about the scripture you just read; ask for clarification and understanding, let go of the confessions it stirred up, ask to be shown ways to apply it, and reflect on your convictions.
- And finally, be quiet. Give it another 5 minutes without any talking. Be silent and listen…give God a chance to respond before closing your prayer.
2. Take up a quiet craft.
Crafting as a spiritual practice seems to be overlooked, but I have seen it work wonders in my own life so I’d really encourage others to give it a shot. I recently had a miscarriage that was a hard and devastating loss for me…it really threw me off my tracks – physically, emotionally, spiritually…I was a wreck.
Just two days before it started, I had taken a beginner’s crochet class, and the days that followed were mostly spent taking it easy, processing, and trying to heal. I picked up my yarn thinking if I was going to be stuck in bed not sure what my heart was doing from one minute to the next, I may as well get in some practice.
The quiet, focused, repetitive motion of crochet stitches calmed me. It gave me time to sit still without feeling bored, and without wanting to look at my social media feeds or feel like I should be doing some more productive. It helped me give myself grace in a way. It was something I could do even when I was very sad and tearful, and it brought me a zen kind of peace as I sorted through my thoughts and feelings. It has truly made a difference in this part of my journey, and I ended up falling in love with a craft that now joyfully reminds me of my grandma.
The important thing I think, is to find something that requires you to focus, but does not need a whole lot of thinking, and that you can do quietly by yourself. Knitting, crochet, needlepoint, making hemp or beaded jewelry, painting, or any number of things. Just something for you to peacefully co-create with the Lord.
3. Be with His People and His Creation.
This is pretty simple. You need two things on a constant, regular basis.
- Nature walks.
- People to love and be loved by.
You’ve probably heard how immensely beneficial it is to spend time in nature and have a supportive community of people around you. And I absolutely agree, these are definite quality-of-life improvers. But these things also have a HUGE impact on our understanding of God.
There have been a lot of prayers lifted up and tears fallen down through the trails of Oak Canyon Nature Center. This is my go-to place when the noise has gotten too loud and I need to feel God in the trees and the streams. This is where I go when I need to be wrapped up in peace, and I am better for it. Both immediately after each and every walk, and also in the long run. I am better for the time I’ve spent soaking up the natural world the way it was created, rather than the way humanity has managed to mold it.
And my people…oh gosh. My people. I would be a big, stinking, hot mess if it weren’t for the people who walk this wild life with me. From my husband who is my actual best friend and partner in all the things, to my artfully curated group of girlfriends (seriously, I have the very best), to my extended church community. These are the people that hear me out, share my prayers, encourage, inspire, and celebrate with me. They are people brought together by a plan and purpose far greater than I can describe, and I would be nearly nothing without them.
These are two big areas where God makes himself known – creation and community. So make it a real point to spend time with trees and build a community of confidantes. It will change your life and widen your view of the Creator and Life Force of the entire universe.
4. Spend intentional and significant time praying.
There is nothing – not one single thing – that will bring you closer to God than prayer, so pray continuously. Pray every day about every thing. Pray when you’re driving or taking a shower. Write your prayers in letters to God. Set reminders on your phone to take short prayer or quiet time breaks throughout the day. Pray, pray, PRAY. Whenever you can, tune out the world’s clamor and talk to God. If you don’t feel like talking, then skip it. He already knows what’s on your heart and mind, so go ahead and hangout quietly for a few minutes and just let your soul rest. It doesn’t much matter how you pray, just that you do.
….you might also want to….
- ~~Find a Bible reading plan.
How will you know what scripture to read each morning? With a plan. This is no breezy summer beach read….there is significant weight here and having a plan makes for a much more coherent experience.
I have only been studying the Bible for about 3 years, but I’ve found my favorite method is to dig through one book at a time to really wring out what’s going on there.
But there are many other ways too! If you have the (completely free) YouVersion Bible app, then you already have access to literally thousands of reading plans. If you prefer printed plans or want something emailed to you, check out She Reads Truth and He Reads Truth, Proverbs 31 Ministries, Faith Gateway, Bible Gateway, and the “Bible In A Year” plan.
Do real, actual Bible studies. (I know…but hear me out.) The thing about this is that you need to come to your own conclusions about God. There is a lot of insight to be found in the Bible, but its a complicated text that needs to be taken apart a fair amount to really make sense, and its nice to be able to reach understandings about it yourself. It is better to read and discern something for yourself than it is to adopt someone else’s perception of it as your own. And its invaluable to know what you believe and why you believe it, to separate the literal from the figurative, and to be sure of what you accept as truth.
Lifeway has a great selection of studies. Beth Moore and Kelly Minter are a couple of my favorites in this area, and Priscilla Shirer has recently piqued my interest too. These are just a few of many though…take the time to find one that will be interesting to you.
© Danielle Hewitt (of Loving A Fit Life) and DanielleHewitt.com (including LovingAFitLife.com) 2011 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Danielle Hewitt and DanielleHewitt.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.