6 ways to make Jesus your focus in 2016

With the start of a new year always comes high hopes and expectations. Unrealistic resolutions that set us up for failure long before the month of January ends.

I’ve decided to go about “New Year’s Resolutions” a little differently this year.  By the end of 2016 I want my heart to be more in love with Jesus, not be in a smaller pair of pants (although that would be nice too!).

Below are some tools that I’ve gathered for myself to focus more on Jesus and less on myself. I’m sharing them in hopes that you might benefit from them too.

  1. FOCUS: I deeply crave focus and goals so that my days don’t feel wasted.  A friend just gave me a set of Lara Casey‘s Powersheets and I am LOVING them!!  To be able to write down ideas that are swirling around in my head is so helpful.  They also help me meditate and articulate a direction or call that I feel like the Lord is currently leading me in.  Read more about them here.   
  2. READ: If you only read one book in the year 2016, it should be Imperfectly Brave by Whitney Putnam.  Oh my, friends.  It will challenge you in ways you didn’t know possible. Whitney will help you redefine bravery and discover what it means for you to live your imperfectly brave life.
  3. MEMORIZE: The heart behind ETCH is to help all of us bring God’s Word into every part of our lives.  One of the ways we can do this is through memorizing Scripture.  We designed Alphabet Scripture cards to help us and our kids memorize a verse for every letter of the alphabet. Using a key word makes it helpful for memorizing and will benefit any age group.  When combined with our magnetic wall organizer, they can become the focal point for your family to see and soak in.  
  4. BIBLE: Every year I set a goal to read the Bible in a year.  And, every year (but two), I have failed.  I have trouble keeping up with the amount of reading that’s necessary to cover all 66 books in a year.  Several years ago, my sister-in-law shared a Bible reading checklist with me that has helped so much.  Each chapter has its own box to check.  So, if you feel like reading the Psalms one day, you can!  And then skip to Luke the next!!  Everyone is different, so this may or may not work for you, but thought I would share just in case.  
  5. PRAYER: I don’t know if I’m the only one, but prayer can be overwhelming for me.  With my kids, my husband, my friends, my small group, my church, my neighbors, and myself — whew — there are a lot of needs and prayers to be offered up…not to mention worshipping God and thanking Him for all that He is in my life.  It can be overwhelming and paralyzing sometimes.  I found this prayer calendar to help me focus each day — with prayers for myself, my husband, my kids, thanksgiving, adoration, and confession — it becomes a tool to guide me through my prayer time.
  6. And last, but not least: DREAMS: Yesterday, Jennie Allen just posted a Dream Guide on her blog that she and her husband do together every year.  It helps you dig in and explore several areas of life and allows you to dream about how God can move you out of the box of the expected.  My husband and I are going to sit down with a cup of coffee and do it today!!  I’m super excited!!!

Friend, we are praying that 2016 is a year that God shows up in your life — in unexpected ways, ways that seem impossible from your point-of-view today.  Our God is a big God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

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