How to Connect Your Heart to Your Life
Loving God intentionally through these habits has helped me be more in touch with who I am.
Most of us have high hopes for the New Year. I start thinking about it sometime before Thanksgiving, or anytime I have a twinge of guilt or hope about a change I want to see happen. I also envision what my life would be like if I actually made that change.
One of the twinges is often a desire to have a closer relationship with God. But what would that look like?
Reading through the Bible in a year?
A half hour of morning devotions, six days a week?
Praying for a specific person or situation until there is a breakthrough?
I spent many years wanting to do the right thing. I intended to set appropriate goals and keep them, but I often found myself falling short of my dreams and pinning my hopes on the next year.
Then I found two simple practices and one overarching truth that changed everything, including me.
Practice #1: Look for something(s).
When you read the Bible, look for something specific. When I’m intentionally looking for something, my reading is completely different. I’m more alert and even excited to read.
Here’s how it works. First, I decide what I am going to be looking for, and then I assign a color to each item. For example:
Word pictures are blue.
God’s character qualities are yellow.
Personal words are orange.
Anything to do with lies and truth
Coaching concepts are green.
Other ideas include verses on justice, keys to prayer, promises, or names of God. The list could go on.
For me, this simple focus tip changed the way I read. I’m excited, thorough and look forward to what I will find.
Practice #2: Micro-Journal
This hack was a game changer for me, and it’s so simple.
Each morning before I get out of bed I journal for just a couple minutes. Most days it’s just five words or phrases and takes only a minute or two. I use little symbols as prompts.
Asterisks for things I am thankful for, hearts for things I am looking forward to, exclamation points for things that I need to accomplish, upward arrows for prayer requests and occasionally a question mark for something that is puzzling me.
So, in the morning there are usually three asterisks, one heart, and an exclamation point. Starting the day out choosing to be thankful has been so helpful for me, as well as one thing I am looking forward to and deciding one thing to prioritize.
In all honesty, it has been most helpful to have to write the one thing I am looking forward to. That has helped me to slow down and intentionally enjoy my life. Some days it’s just a simple choice to have a different perspective, and other days I build something fun into my day that likely would not have been there had I not been intentional.
I journal again right before I go to sleep, but change it up a bit. There are three upward arrows, one exclamation point, and a heart.
It’s comforting to write out my concerns and purposefully give them up to God before I sleep. Some days the accomplishments or joys are different than the morning choices for various reasons, and the reflection helps me deliberately acknowledge God’s presence in my life.
Both the color coding and the micro-journalling have transformed my life. Not because I have developed habits, but because these practices have connected my heart with my life.
Loving God intentionally through these habits has helped me be more in touch with who I am and how I am doing, as well as be in touch with who He is and what He is offering.
And I am grateful.
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