Welcome to week one of the ‘Be Still and Be Present’ challenge. I am so excited for us to take this journey together. I didn’t do this challenge because I have it all together, but because I felt that I needed to work on these things as well. I am excited to see what God can do in my heart and my life through this challenge. I will be praying each day for all of you that are participating with me in the challenge.
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This week I chose John 14:27 as my focus verse. Many times throughout the Bible we hear about God’s peace. I want to remember that God is not a God of overwhelm and rest in his peace this week. My goal is to memorize this verse by the end of the week and use it to remind myself when the season gets hectic.
In addition to my focus verse, I am going to be working my way through the advent reading plan from Not Consumed and coloring or journaling either in the Max Lucado Christmas Coloring book or in my Beautiful Word Coloring Bible. You can use whatever Bible or materials you have available to complete this challenge. I choose to use a coloring Bible because the act of coloring the pictures and words helps me to slow my brain down and really focus on God’s word. If I am just reading and trying to sit quietly, my brain has a tendency to wander. I found my coloring book (and one for my 10 year old) at Ollies for only .99. If you do not have an Ollies there are some other options on Amazon. Another good free option for your study plan is to use these Names of Jesus printables and verses and study through the various Biblical names of Jesus.
Another resource that I want to share with you are Bible apps. If you do not have a Bible or if you find it more convenient to read from your phone or device the YouVersion Bible App is a great free app. It offers a wide variety of translations which can be very beneficial when you are studying a particular passage of scripture. While I find that I focus best while I am coloring or journaling, I know others that like to listen to the Bible while they are driving or maybe while out in nature or taking a walk. The Daily Audio Bible App is only .99 for Kindle and free for Android. This app reads through the Bible in a year.
I often hear people talking about how important family is during the holiday season, but I know that in reality I often neglect the focused time with my family because of the hustle and bustle. We spend lots of time together doing school, going from place to place, crossing tasks of the to-do list, but we don’t always slow down and just spend time together. I encourage you to spend at least 30 minutes a day being present with those that mean the most to you. Some of you will need to spend that time focused on your children, others may feel you have been neglecting time with your husband. I am hoping to be more mindful of time with both my children and my husband over the next month.
This time does not have to be an elaborate activity, costs lots of money, or even be something new and exciting. The goal is simply to spend time being fully present with those you love. My daughter and I recently started working through a Christmas coloring book together. We can sit at the kitchen table and spend 15 or 20 minutes coloring and chatting together. This is relaxing for me and it is encouraging for her. You could take a walk with your children or your husband, build Legos with your children, color a picture, or make a Christmas craft. One of our favorite ways to connect is to pour mugs of hot cider or cocoa and gather on the couch for me to read a book. We also enjoy playing ‘Would You Rather ‘ type games.
I have included a downloadable sheet that will allow you to plan each week’s devotional time and your ‘Be Present’ activities as well as a sheet where you can check them off as you complete each day. Some of you may prefer to take each day as it comes, especially with the ‘Be Present’ activities and if that works for you that it totally fine. In my life I have found that having it planned out makes it more likely that it will actually happen so I plan to sit down each week and plan out a flexible list of activities.
Please share with me in the comments some fun activities or great devotional tools that you have and I look forward to hearing how this challenge is effecting your life.
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