Tithing your time

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I love setting a lot of goals and therefore, new year resolutions stress. me. out. I started to think about the standard ones I typically set- read the entire Bible this year, only listen to Christian music, go to the gym more, eat healthier, write more, read more, and on and on the list goes. But this year I decided to try something a little different. What would happen if I consolidated everything? What if every area of my life could improve if I only changed one thing? I’ve read many scriptures in the Bible about tithing and giving God the first 10%. Scriptures on tithing your time.

I thought about how we are quick (or not) to throw 10% in the offering plate and be on our way. But what if you gave God 10% of your time? Could you do that? Would it be easier or harder than giving monetarily? Regardless, this is what I’ve decided to do. I do spend a lot of time with God but not 10% of 24 hours. If you are like any of my friends or family, you might be thinking that is A LOT of time. It is but not really.

What can you do for 2.4 hours a day?

Bible

Read the Bible. Listen to the Bible. Meditate on God’s Word. Journal about it. I like to sometimes just pick up the Bible and randomly a chapter. I also enjoy picking a book of the Bible and take my time, analyzing verse by verse. One method that has helped me to be more focused and intentional about my reading has been the SOAP method. Basically, you write down a scripture that stood out to you, your observation of the scripture, how it applies to you, and a prayer.

Devotionals

Devotionals can help add a different dynamic but remember they are still man’s words. I like to use them to stir new ideas and think about God’s Words in a different way. A few of my current favorite devotionals include She Reads Truth, Quite Women Co., Max Lucado (several different devotionals), Jesus Calling (by Sarah Young), and Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest).

Christian Books

Just like devotionals, books offer another perspective and have a way of grouping themes for better comprehension. You can also read about specific things you want to focus on. Worry, fear, relationships, giving, leadership, goals, you name it. I always like to use the fish method that one of my friends told me about. With fish, you eat the meat and throw out the bones. With books, you take the good and throw out the bad. A few of the books on my list include You and Me by Francis Chan (I love his books!), The Four Loves and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and Live Love Lead by Brian Houston.

Sermons

I love listening to podcasts on some of my favorite pastors and teachers. In addition to a couple ones locally, some of my favorites include Andy Stanley, Charles Stanley, Ben Stuart, Matt Chandler, Francis Chan, Joyce Meyer, and Joel Osteen. I am not saying each of these people are perfect but I enjoy the scriptures, teaching, and focus each one of them provides.

Music

Worship music is my favorite. And there are some really great Christian bands out there that help you focus more on God and less on worldly things. Some of my favorite bands include Hillsong, Swithfoot, Kutless, and Everyday Sunday.

Community

Lastly, there are things you can do that involve other people. Church will be one of them and probably the only thing I’ll do consistently. But other ideas include bible studies and small groups.

These are some things I’ll be doing this year. If you have any suggestions for books, music, devotionals, and/or sermons I’d love to hear them. My goal is to spend at least 2.4 hours a day focused intentionally on God. While at the gym. Early in the morning. Before I go to bed. On my lunch break. While driving. The point is- if I am intentional, I know I can do this. Whatever your goals are for 2016, I pray you find your purpose and the motivation to be all God created you to be!

Happy New Year!

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photo credit: London Clock… via photopin (license)

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New Year, New You? My 2015 New Year’s Resolutions & Great Ideas for YOU!

2015

Common phrase isn’t it? What attracts us to this catchy phrase so much is the fact that we don’t like ourselves. At least we don’t when that phrase sounds appealing. And what better time to make changes than with the new year? I’ve had many New Year resolutions in the past- things I didn’t like, areas I wanted to improve in my life:

  • Read the Bible in a year
  • Only listen to Christian music while diving
  • Journal everyday
  • Go to the gym at least three times a week

The thing I like most about this time is the self- reflection component. I always look at myself and try to pick things that will improve my weak areas. Last year I was feeling pretty ambitious and came up with this list:

  • Write down one thing I’m thankful for each day
  • Write a prayer for someone I know each day
  • Write a short entry about my day each day
  • Reach out to a total of 52 people
  • Pay it forward to people at random times
  • Read the entire Bible again

The only thing I fully completed was writing at least a sentence each day about what happened. Can I have my pat on the back now? Haha. I got overwhelmed to say the least. I like lists- they keep me focused and I can track my accomplishments. The problem I was having however, was the fact that each of these things were designed to better me but they were actually having a negative effect. I prayed, I read, I wrote, and I thanked- just to check it off my list. Real noble, right? And because of this I started to lose heart. Was I really making a difference? What was I really accomplishing?

I want this year to be different. If everything you are doing is mandated, where is there room to hear the Holy Spirit? Where is your flexibility? I believe in structure but not too much. It was with this in mind that I settled on what I want to do this year and what I hope to accomplish:

  • Christian Accountability– I started up a Facebook group again for sharing and accountability utilizing uplifting thoughts, quotes, songs, whatever. This is a place for people to share ideas and receive encouragement to grow closer to God in their own ways whether it’s through music, reading, praying, etc. I hope to not only help others but continue to grow in my walk with the Lord.
  • Passion Planner– I stumbled across this awesome planner that allows each unique person to focus on what is important to them. It takes planning to a whole new level. I can’t wait to start! I’m such a nerd:p
  • Rememberlutions– I love this! Basically you write down good things that happen throughout the year and place them in a jar or some other container. At the end of the year, you get to read them and remember all the good things that happened over the previous year. This is great for me because I always seem to forget everything I did lol.
  • Who I am– Oftentimes I get focused on what I am doing rather than who I am. I want to focus on who I am rather than what I do. Here is where my flexibility comes in. Rather than a checklist of items, I want to be more aware of myself and my surroundings to be able to hear the Holy Spirit so I can grow and improve myself and the relationships around me.

That’s all. Pretty simple, huh? I’m so excited for the new year and seeing all God has planned for me! In case you are interested, here are some other cool resources and articles I found regarding resolutions:

1) Getting organized– This is a great article on getting organized in the new year. ( I needed this:p)

2) Excellent Bible reading plans for 2015– pick the one that’s best for you!

3) 10 toxic people you shouldn’t bring into the new year– Enough said.

4) Cool ideas for things to do this coming year– minus the cussing in some parts, these are some pretty good ideas.

5) Lifestyle resolutions– this were some great ideas for improving your life!

6) Rememberlutions– what I was talking about earlier and what I’ll be doing this year!

I thought I had more on eating and exercising but apparently not. The truth is, you can start fresh any day but why not take this opportunity now to make some positive life changes? We can always learn, grow, and improve. God gave you this precious life for a reason- find your passion and get out there and start doing it.

Happy New Year! xoxo

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