I guess this should be titled tools that help me grow my Christian faith. I'll admit I don't like posting faith based stuff because it can come off cheesy, judge-y, and just annoying and I tried my best to share things that were neither of those.
I was looking through my journals and devotionals and trying to figure out which ones to pack on my trip. After looking through the most recent one, I noticed a big jump in the maturity of my prayers, my wisdom, even my writing. It threw me off because this is how I used to be before- not that good of a writer, prayers were pretty selfish (“Lord, please let there be fast wifi at this Starbucks. Amen.”), and my wisdom went as far as having gray hair. My devotionals were short and grew long and longer in notes.
So why the jump?
I connected. I grew. There are tons of tools out there to flourish, I used them and I met God halfway. He provided, and I took action. Okay, Apostles didn’t have apps and websites to connect and they did just fine. I also bet Apostles didn’t have wifi, TV, and books and the distractions that comes with it.
Another thing I learned while reading my journals? No one is responsible to grow my faith except myself. Not my pastor, not my Bible study, not my more Christian friend, not even an app. It’s up to me to decide what I put into it and what I get out of it.
Find a church. That seems obvious but you won’t get the same connection from a podcast or live streaming. When I hurt my leg and couldn’t leave the house much, I was partially feeling worse because I missed community. I missed gathering, I missed sharing. I can only get that from a church. A church helps you find a connection group to grow, and volunteer services.
Find a connection group. A connection group is just a millennial term for Bible study. After being in a connection group for almost two years, I don’t really see the point of going to a church if I wasn't going to challenge myself with a study. Yeah, it’s great to be there and listen for an hour but what will I do with that message? I got out of my comfort zone and it helped me grow. I met with people I though I'd never talk to simply because we didn't have much in common but we have the most important thing in common that matters, our desire to grow.
Join The Influence Network. Okay, so I’ll admit for awhile I wasn’t really sure what I was paying for when I first became a member. Look at the Influence Network like your smart phone- it does more than make calls and take photos. It can use apps and help you in your every day life but you just have to dig a little to find the ones that work for you. I logged in more often, I signed up for their book club, I listened to their podcast, I got connected to the forums that were relative to my spiritual and network needs, and I even discovered great blogs and people along the way. It’s a network full of endless possibilities and amazing women who are seeking and wanting to thrive as me.
Glo Bible Devotionals- There are a million devotionals out there but I’ll admit I like this one for the UX and UI of it (for those that aren’t familiar with those terms, they basically mean usability and it’s pretty to look at). It’s free, and you can do one on the go. I don’t need to carry my heavy beautiful Bible around, as sentimental as it is, I know I’m not growing on sentiment. life gets busy and sometimes all I'll have on a commute home or a silent moment is my phone.
Music and Podcasts- did you know Spotfiy has non-cheesy Christian music playlists? Some of my favorites are here, here and here. As for podcasts, The City Church, Cross Point, and Eastside are great resources.
Inspiring blogs- do you ever have those moments when you read something at the right moment and the right time and that’s all you needed? I love reading blogs that dig a little deeper. My favorites right now are Ashlee Gadd, Casey Leigh, Rachel Kincaid and Kriselle to name a few. While I'm barely touching base on faith based stuff, they worship Jesus loud and clear through almost every blog post.
Inspiring books- Get a new perspective on how other’s deal with life, with struggles of faith. It reminds me I’m not alone and my problems aren’t that big, and if they authors can be moved enough to write a book about it, I can handle the ups and downs of life. Lara Casey's book, Make it Happen, shares her messy life and the redemption with it. I also started reading Savor by Shauna Niequist last year. I haven't finished it but so far, I really like it. Sex God, The Screwtape Letters, are ones I've read more than once over time.