Reaching your goals feels doable when the specifics are concrete—lose 15 pounds, pay off debt, get a new job. Specifics give you a starting point and tell you what to do.
Spiritual goals, though, are sometimes more abstract. We long to grow closer to God, but what does that look like? How will we get there? And will we even know when we’ve arrived?
So many questions! And thankfully we’ve got an answer: start small.
Our relationship to the Creator is one that will last a lifetime and then some. You won’t arrive in 2017 and, thankfully, no one expects you to. So put aside any worry or guilt that might be holding you back and commit to taking small steps each day, week and month as the year goes by.
1. Prayers for the year
Grab a sheet of paper, a pen, and some time to think. Consider the things you’d love to see happen that are a tad—or way—outside of your reach. What can only God do? Jot down your prayers, ask your spouse and kids for contributions, and commit the list to God. Display your prayers in a prominent spot and make a note next to ones that are fulfilled as the year goes by.
2. Verse for the month
Every month, select a verse to memorize and pray over your family. Try to choose a verse that’s either new to you or especially timely for you. Write it on an index card and make it your month’s mantra. To get started, try one of the following verses:
“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” —Psalm 25:4–5 (NIV)
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” —2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)
“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” —Micah 6:8 (NIV)
3. Hour for the week
Substitute one hour each week of passive time and devote it to spiritual education. Trade TV time for devotional reading, commute time for podcast listening, or earbud time for meditation and prayer. If this sounds like a chore, remember the facts: A week holds 168 hours. You only need to borrow one.
4. Routine for the day
Create a brief—yes brief!—morning or bedtime routine that includes a few minutes of prayer and Bible study. If you’re a morning person, you might wake at 6 a.m., shower, spend 15 minutes in devotion and then get ready for the day. If you’re a night owl, you could be in bed and ready to sleep by 10 p.m. Then crack open your Bible to close out the night.
With these small steps taken day after day, week after week and month after month, you’ll no doubt find yourself closer to Christ at the end of the year.