Happy New Year!
On the blog this month, our focus is Loving God With All We’ve Got. To do that, we will be chatting about several topics pertaining to personal and spiritual growth. To begin this conversation, let’s take an overview of the most impactful areas of our lives. When asked what is most important, Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Secondly: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Mark 12:30-31) So, it makes sense that if we want to live our lives to the fullest, we ought to look closely at those same things.
Is there anything weighing you down emotionally? Are you struggling with unmet expectations, guilt, grief, anxiety, or depression? Perhaps a situation is causing emotional turmoil, sadness, or stress. Steps toward growth include regularly pouring your heart out to Him, scheduling sessions with a counselor, making an appointment with a doctor, meeting with a mentor, journaling, and talking through your feelings with a trusted friend.
Another healthy process is to evaluate our relationship with God. Do you feel close to Him? Do you feel any barriers in your prayer time? Are there spiritual questions or topics you would like to study this year? Do you have consistent times of prayer and bible study? If so, what would you like to read and study this year? If not, how can you make time with God a priority?
Do you make time for rest and sabbath? Has your walk with God become ritualistic, stale, or seem unattainable? This is the perfect time to address questions such as these with someone you trust, join one of our weekly Bible Studies or a book club, read a book on spiritual growth, or take steps toward implementing spiritual practices. And please, click here to join our Council Road Women Group Bible Reading Plan! Just start with today’s date or go back to January 1’s assignment and catch up if you like.
How can we better love God with our minds? Our mind is the most powerful tool we possess. How can you mentally challenge yourself this year? How healthy is your thought-life? Are there patterns that need to be addressed like obsessive, perverse, or negative ways of thinking? Helpful methods for renewing our minds include scripture memory, reflection and meditation, reading books on a particular topic, or meeting with a counselor to gain tools for great mental health.
When we take care of ourselves, we are better able to care for those around us and to love God with all we’ve got. How strong do you feel? Do you prioritize yearly medical exams? Are you ignoring any health concerns? How much exercise do you get? Do you sleep well at night? Does your body get adequate nutrition? Are you over or under-concerned about your physical appearance? If your physical health could use some TLC, consider meeting with an accountability partner or exercise buddy, seeking professional help, or trying some meal planning methods.
We were created to live in community with others, which can be both the richest blessing and most difficult part of our lives. Although every relationship will have moments of misunderstanding, frustration, and stress, they should not be characterized by these qualities. Do you have a relationship that needs mending? One that is unhealthy and needs professional help? Do you have a healthy network of relational support?
If relational health is on your list of priorities, consider making time to purposefully connect around the dinner table, a weekend getaway with your spouse or family vacation, working through conflict with a counselor, or planning regular dates nights to better connect.
Taking inventory is a great place to begin when thinking and praying about future growth. I’ve discovered what works best for me is to choose an overall theme for the year (for example, strength) and a couple specific areas to concentrate on. From there, the only way to discover what is sustainable for me is trial and error. I implement new approaches, add or remove things from my life and calendar, and keep learning until I settle into what becomes a new normal. And if I happen to get to the end of a year still hoping for more progress, I’m thankful for another January with another blank-slate. Each of us is a work in progress, each new year is an opportunity for growth.
As we embrace a new year together, we pray this blog space would not only be a source of encouragement, but also a connecting point to share life with each other.
We’d love to learn from you and cheer you on as we all grow forward from here. Please comment and let us know how the Lord is challenging and moving you forward!
Meet the Author!
Heather McAnear is a wife, mom, author and speaker with a passion for sharing God's truth to help women understand their uniquely beautiful design and how to use it for God's glory! In fact, Heather hosts the Uniquely Beautiful Stories podcast on iTunes in hopes do just that! She loves teaching young married couples with her husband, homeschooling their three children, traveling the world, enjoying good chocolate and long conversations in coffee shops. CRBC has been her church home for two decades and she is thrilled to be part of the Women's Ministry team, helping women connect with each other and grow in their walk with Jesus!