November has seemed to be a full month. I started writing a book for NaNoWriMo, which has taken up a decent amount of time (but not as much as one would think), I’ve been working on getting ready for the holidays, and along with all of everything else that goes on in life, Andrew and I went away for a few days.
We went to Wisconsin for a wedding, so that threw off my journaling and devotional time, too. I prefer to be alone when writing and spending time with Jesus otherwise I get distracted and can’t focus, and besides locking myself in the bathroom for a while, it’s hard to get alone time when you’re in hotel rooms and guest houses where there’s only a bed to sit on.
Excuses, I know. But strangely, I think it might have been good for me to take a break, as odd as that sounds. Getting back into the routine of it, I appreciate the time more and realize what life is like when I neglect to take the time to process the day and spend time in God’s Word.
What My Quiet Time Looks Like
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Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been going through Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It was gifted to me at my wedding shower by my dear voice teacher/mentor growing up. Oddly enough, it has helped me understand how she is always so focused on Jesus and seems so much more (for lack of a better word) spiritual than almost anyone else I knew. She just has this peace about her no matter what she is going through.
Working through this devotional that has a much stronger spiritual theme of understanding God than being a Biblical lesson has changed my outlook on my relationship with Jesus, which is probably the only thing that got me through this year of spiritual trials.
I was also introduced to the Daily Examen and that has been a practice I’ve been working on implementing in my daily journaling and prayer life. I spent the first part of my life thinking anything from a “saint” that wasn’t in the Bible was poppycock, but looking back now, I’m not sure why. The spiritual practices that were developed years ago can bring you to a better understanding of yourself and Christ in you.
As I go through this more spiritual stage of my Christian life, it’s been important for me to look backwards, see where God was, where I felt far from Him, and how I can prevent that in the future. Being more mindful of my emotions is not a bad thing; emotions aren’t bad, trusting emotions can be. I love how this approach helps you step back, see the emotion without feeling the emotion, and determine, with God’s help, why you felt that way.
Journaling beforehand helps me go back through my day in a more physical and tangible way before I mentally review it, which helps the Examen not take too long.
Right now I am also going through “Gratitude Challenge: Ten Days of Thanks” which are devotions from Sarah Young’s books Jesus Calling and Jesus Always. Since I have also tried to commit myself to a NaNoWriMo project this year, I wanted to do something to prepare for Thanksgiving, but didn’t want it to take much time.
This year for Advent I am going to go through Ann Voskamp’s book The Greatest Gift and I am excited to try something new! This is the first year I’ve ever actually done an Advent reading myself, but since I’m actually excited about Christmas this year (goodbye, retail job!) I figured it’s only proper to celebrate the right way – with Jesus in mind.
These are all ways I can spend time resting and focusing on Jesus, and I find when I make myself make time for that, I have more time to get other things done. It’s weird, maybe it sounds crazy, but it’s true. Everything else I need to do gets done faster, maybe because I am better focused, or maybe because God helps me determine what actually needs to be done instead of just what I think needs done.
What Else Has Been Going On
I’ve added yet another new thing to my list of things to do: I became part of a book launch team. The book, In Want + Plenty by Meredith McDaniel, is available for pre-order now, or for more information about it click here, where you can also receive access to the first chapter of the book! As a launch team member, I get access to the first four chapters, and let me tell you, it is good.
In the works for the next month is an email list…which has been in the works for a while now, but hey, by writing it here that makes it much more substantial, right? I think so.
I’ve done a little writing here and there lately, and I have accepted a challenge for the upcoming holiday month of writing one sentence a day. One sentence can say a lot, and as a hope*writer we are encouraged to keep up with our writing and honing our craft, but we also have to give ourselves grace because life happens. So, my favorite author and one of the co-founders of hope*writers is doing a one sentence challenge and I’m actually loving it. You may be seeing a post of my top favorite sentences written.
I hope you see why you haven’t heard too much from me recently. I’ve been doing all the things and writing more than ever before, but in a much different capacity than I write here. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my thoughts, I’d love to hear from you!
Till we meet again