By Jessica Farrenkopf
With the New Year approaching rapidly, now is the time for many people to start thinking about their resolutions. Typically, these resolutions focus on aspects of physical and mental health and how to improve oneself in the next year. We should all also create resolutions that seek to improve our spiritual health and connections with faith in 2021. On some level, this seems obvious, but it is important to create faith-related resolutions that we will actually abide by throughout the year. Despite how easy creating resolutions can be, it is hard to stick with them if we make our goals too large or unattainable. It might not be realistic for you to finish a Bible within the year or to pray the rosary every day. Therefore, we need to take smaller steps toward achieving these larger goals that we want to obtain as faithful followers of God. Here are some ideas for you to develop as you create your spiritual New Year’s resolutions.
Read your Bible. You might be thinking, Jessica, didn’t you just say that reading your Bible in a year might not be attainable? I promise I’m not contradicting myself. Some people are able to finish their Bible in a year, but others aren’t and that is okay. Go at the pace that works for you, because if you do so, reading your Bible will become a habit. It also doesn’t have to be as tedious as you might think. To make Bible reading more interesting, use a journaling Bible that allows you to be creative with your notes, read the books in a random order (trust me trying to go from Genesis to Revelation does not work for everyone), or get together with a group of friends in a Bible Study to hold each other accountable.
Make Prayer Part Of Your Routine. In our stressful, busy, and often hectic lives it is easy for even faithful people to overlook prayer; if they do not make time for it. Get up five minutes earlier or go to bed five minutes later (or both) and take those precious moments to truly let yourself be in the presence of God. This past year, one of my resolutions was to pray every night before going to sleep. Although I’m sure I slipped up a few days, I’ve found that by making nightly prayer a consistent part of my routine, I can’t fall asleep without spending that daily time with God. I know that for 2020, I myself will also be adding prayer time in my mornings. This is an easy and painless way to reconnect with God in the next year.
Listen To Religious Music. I’ve always enjoyed listening to religious music; however, in November 2019, I felt an intense pull towards it. And I listened to enough of it that I skewed the results of a study about our music listening habits for my first-year seminar. Following that experience, although I no longer feel an intense need to be listening to religious music constantly, I’ve found that I still listen to it more now and that it’s a fun and simple way to connect with God. There are plenty of devotional playlists on music streaming services as well as plenty of radio stations that play solely religious music. Use what works best for you and throw in some religious music to your usual listening habits during your commute, while working, while studying, or even just while relaxing.
Take More Time To Recognize God’s Gifts. God has blessed us with so many things, even those we may not enjoy. Take a few minutes, maybe at the same time as your prayer, to tell God that you are grateful for his gifts to us. This could include family, friends, the weather, whatever you want it to. I had this as a resolution this past year but I’ll be honest I struggled to express my gratitude in relation to hardships or when I was in a bad mood, which I want to improve in 2020. There are also many ways to do this, such as keeping a gratitude journal or telling God directly, so it is important to do what will work best for you.
And so many more… There is no one correct way to create spiritual resolutions for yourself. Think about what will help you create a stronger relationship with God and your faith, and although you can use these suggestions as guidelines, make your resolutions fit you, your spiritual goals, and what you’re able to do consistently. Have a Happy New Year and may God bless you.
Edited By: Ariel Hobbs