It may not be January 1st, but that doesn't mean I can't still give tips on how to have a great year, right? I believe that you don't have to wait till the start of a day, week, month, or year to change the way you live. If you want to have a great year, it doesn't matter what date it is - it all starts with your attitude. Most of us know how to make our lives a little bit better, but we have the tendency to procrastinate - and we do it for unknown reasons. Each day, we find little excuses to procrastinate yet another day. Over time, we begin to convince ourselves that the reasons for our failure was because of all those irrelevant excuses. But deep down inside, we still know that we are capable of so much more.
Here's the thing: you, my friend, are definitely capable of so much more! You can have a great year if you start working towards things that will make your life a little better. Slowly, bit by bit, baby steps. You will find yourself being so much more than you were in the past.
Classic Sarah has so much to say that she couldn't fit it all into one post so I'm splitting it into two parts!
With that being said, here are 3/6 of my top ways to have a great year :)
ALWAYS MAKE TIME FOR GOD
You saw this coming, huh? ;)
As I was planning my blog post for this week, I really wanted bible verses to back up what I was saying for each point. Every other point I found verses for so easily - but for some reason I found this point incredibly hard. It really started to push my buttons because there was no way I was going to take this point out, because this is the most important one. I slowly felt myself giving up until Sunday morning when I sat to listen to the sermon in church. Every single word that came out of my preachers mouth was so relevant to this point and there's still no doubt in my mind that God set that up. I went note crazy on Sunday morning (but to be honest, that's me every Sunday morning) and a smile never left my face because I was just so happy. God works in crazy ways!
Anyways, everything I say in this point you might sigh and say, "Sarah, we KNOW all this! We hear it every day/Sunday/week/month/year" etc. But honestly, you can't hear this enough! Think about it, who wakes you up every morning and who puts fresh air in your lungs every second? That's right, God. Without Him, you wouldn't be alive. He's worthy of your time, love, and attention. All He wants is for you to seek His face.
Psalm 46:10 NIV says...
"He says, 'Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations
I will be exalted in the earth.' "
Here are three of the most basic (but effective!) ways to spend time with God.
1. READ YOUR BIBLE
If I'm being honest, I was never good at this - I still struggle. I only started reading my Bible daily very recently. I'd just been at a youth camp in January, and when I got home, I had built some incredible friendships with some incredible people. Two of those people really inspired me to read my Bible more. Long story short, each person had amazing knowledge of the Bible, and each time they spoke about it - I was just in awe. I literally would sit there thinking, "I want what they have." So I picked up my Bible. Typical me thought, 'Oh I'll just start in Genesis!' For some reason I decided against that and found myself asking one of my new friends where to start reading. He told me to start with Matthew. So I picked up my Bible and flipped to Matthew. Every morning since then, I've been reading a chapter a day. Tomorrow is my last day reading Matthew! I instantly found myself being excited each and every morning to read my Bible.
Joshua 1:8 NIV says...
"Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips;
meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.
Then you will be prosperous and successful."
We're reliant on the scripture because it really is a Christians handbook. If you want to know anything and everything about life - turn to the Bible. Set aside a time to read your Bible, whether it be when you just wake up, you're on your break at work, or you just got into bed. Sit down and start reading with an open heart because you never know, maybe something you read might be God telling you something vitally important! We come to know and learn about Him through reading the Bible which helps us gain a personal connection with Him.
Another way to gain a personal connection with Him is to...
How else do you talk to God? To me, praying isn't just about asking for things - it's also about acknowledging God's presence. One thing I love about prayer is that you can do it anywhere. This freedom allows us to communicate with God whenever we like. With that being said, I still think you should set aside a time to just sit and talk to God in complete silence. Maybe it's right after reading your Bible, or right before you fall asleep at night. Just sit - with no distractions - and just have a heart to heart with God every single day.
Don't get me wrong, worship is a lifestyle, not just music. Although, the music plays a HUGE part. Worship music is basically prayers put to music, which to me is one of the most beautiful concepts ever. If you ever struggle with prayer, I suggest finding a worship song that means a lot to you and just worshipping. Sit outside with a worship playlist and just close your eyes and listen. Sing along - who cares if anyone hears you! Our God has done incredible things! He's worthy of your praise & worship. Deuteronomy 10:21 NIV says...
"He is the one you praise; He is your God, who performed for You those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes."
YOUR BODY IS A TEMPLE
1 Corinthians 6:19b-20 NKJV;
"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you,
whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
For you were bought at a price;
therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's."
I clearly remember my youth pastor from years ago saying, "yeah, society sucks. There's so many body ideals for males and females, we end up starving and hurting ourselves just to achieve it." A couple of weeks after that, he said, "garbage in... garbage out," and no friends, he's not talking about your digestive system.
One thing I will say is that God made you in His image - so before you go comparing yourself to others and disliking how you look, remember God looks at you and all He sees is beauty. In saying that, we should honour Him and take care of our bodies! That includes eating healthy and exercising. Ah yes, exercising. Some people love it - props to you guys! - and some people hate it. One of my new years resolutions is to work out more and I don't do it as often as I would like to, but seriously, every time I do it, it hurts but I always feel so amazing after! Also, have you ever eaten fresh fruit? YUM.
Alongside that, you can honour God through thinking positive thoughts and watching what you say. Garbage in = garbage out. If you fill your mind and heart with negative thoughts and societal garbage, it's going to impact the way you think and speak. Honestly if you cut the crap out of your life, I promise you'll feel 100x better. One of my good friend's stopped using Twitter because things people were posting weren't resonating with what she believed in and she said it wasn't helping her because every time she opened the app, everything would be negative, leaving a negative impact on her. I am so proud and honestly she's way happier now without it!
LET GO AND LET GOD
Life's going to throw some horrible stuff at you - it's inevitable. You'll do everything you can to try fix it and change it but you won't succeed. Want to know why? Because you haven't asked God to help you. As humans we try our hardest to do things our way because we have this clear image in our mind of how things should be. That's where we go wrong. We pressure ourselves to get things right the first time and when it goes wrong we blame God - as if it's His fault! We have to remember that God has huge plans for us and I don't know about you, but if I ruin something, I'll do everything to fix it - no matter how long it takes. This is a problem because I spend all my time dwelling on the past and how to fix something unfixable that I'm not even looking out for God's great plan for me.
1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV;
1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV;
"Humble yourself, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you."
The future's scary, no doubt about it. Life is hard, definitely! But Jesus is willing to take our burdens and carry us through. He cares for you! If you want to have a great year, sometimes you just have to turn the page to realise there is more to your book of life than the page you're stuck on. You need to stop being afraid to move on. Close the chapter of hurt, and never re-read it again. It's time to get what your life deserves, and move on from the things that don't deserve you. Don't spend your days trying to correct your past, instead, let go and let God create something better for your future.
I can't believe I still have 3 more points to share with you! I've already started typing up part 2 and I'm hoping to get that up by the end of this week. I know this post was a lot to read and if you're still reading this right now, comment "eating grapes rn" down below. Do it, I dare you ;)
I'll talk to you very soon for part dos!