The Secret to Understanding the Bible and Hearing from God

The Secret to Understanding the Bible and Hearing from God
The Secret to Understanding the Bible and Hearing from God

If you want to hear God speak to you but aren’t sure what to do, listen in. If you don’t know how to understand the Bible this episode is for you. I am going to share the one secret I’ve learned about studying God’s word and actually understanding it. Let’s get started!

Listen to this podcast episode here! or on these platforms!

LISTEN ON: iTunes // Google Play // Spotify // Stitcher

I am ready to dive into this topic. It is one of my favorite things to talk about and it is all about how to read and understand the Bible. I feel like a lot of people can get into the habits and routines of using devotionals and using Bible studies in sitting down and doing the same thing with God in our quiet time, but a lot of people end up in those routines and not getting much out of it.

It can seem like something you just normally do. There’s nothing new about it you’ve already read these scriptures have for, or it can feel like God’s not really there and not really showing up and you’re not really interacting with him.

So I want to share one secret I’ve come across to understand the Bible but before I dive into that secret, I want to share a little bit about my back story and how I learned to fall in love with scripture and how I found that that was the easiest way for me to connect with God and to hear from him.

I became a believer when I was 16 I kind of shared a little bit of this story in one of the first two podcasts and I just, my eyes were open to who he was. I grew up in a Christian home. I ended up going to a Christian summer camp, all cliche and everything. I ended up praying and God spoke to me.

On that same trip we had the chance to sit with some people and they were talking about what it’s like in full time ministry. We got to ask them questions. They’re just suggestions and recommendations for us just getting started. And so someone said we needed to spend a lot of time in Scripture so that we know what God says and what his laws are. And so I asked somebody where to start.

And I had ended up starting in First Timothy, which is not the best place to start, it’s not what I would recommend. But I just started reading scripture and I just kind of started falling in love with it. And I ended up sitting with God every day in his word and learning a lot about it. But fast forward a bit, I kind of got a little burnt out and wasn’t sure what direction to go. And I would use devotionals like the five minutes a day kind of devotionals to sit with God until like learn more about who he was for awhile.

And then I ended up in college and I ended up sitting with some friends and some really, really awesome roommates who dove into God’s every day. And I would hear them and I would see them. And I would get to hear what God was teaching them and it was just a chance for me to really see what passion is and really be able to ask questions to get my questions answered.

That was kind of the first place I started really diving into scripture for myself and I have loved to ever since. It has always been my easiest way to connect with God. I’m going to dive into this probably in the next couple of posts, but there are these things called disciplines or spiritual disciplines and their actions.

We can take use that guide us in our relationship with God, grow us in our relationship with God and just put us in a position to hear from God. There’s 12 of them that are the most common and naturally each of us will find one. That’s the easiest way for us to connect with God.

Some people connect with God through scripture and some other people it’s through worship. Some people it’s through prayer. Some people it can be through fasting. There’s a lot of different ways for us to grow with God.

And so that’s just kind of mine personally, and that was really where I started just expanding my comfort zone and growing in my relationship with him.

The Secret is…

Are you ready here with the one secret to understanding the Bible is it? This it is.

You need to just read the Bible.

I know it’s simple. I know some people are going to get upset with me. I know somebody want the secrets of the universe.

You can use devotionals and you can use Bible studies to dive into God’s word, but you will always be hearing somebody else’s interpretation of scripture. You will always be reading what other people are seeing in the word instead of hearing directly from God and reading his words to you. You’re missing out on that direct connection and missing out on the direct message God has to share to you.

God is a very personal God. He knows where we’re at. He knows what we need and he’s more than willing to give it to us and he’s more than willing to spend time on our relationships.

Spend time encouraging us and just pushing us forward into who he created us to be, pushing our comfort zones, all of those things. He is doing that all the time.

But if we’re not continually becoming more like him, which is called sanctification, then we are not going to be able to reach that point where we’re ready for what God’s called us into each day.

We can grow our faith, but if we’re not growing and understanding and being able to defend our faith or being able to defend what God’s telling us, or be able to just live that out in very actionable ways, or even be able to support what we’re saying with scripture, then we won’t really be able to reach that many people because we don’t even fully know and understand what we believe.

What is Sanctification?

Why don’t we dive a little bit more into what sanctification means? Sanctification is when we are becoming more holy and set apart. So God set us apart for His good purposes and will, but we have the option of choosing to grow in that and to be more holy and to be seeking him every day. And so the sanctification part is just the process.

It’s the lifelong process. We’re all as believers and to become more like Christ and more holy. So when we dive into scripture, we learn more about what sets us apart from the world. It’s clear about what we are called to do and be and who we are called to be and how we are called to serve God’s kingdom and love him and love others.

It’s just a very clear message from God to us. But when we choose to read and only use Bible studies and devotionals or missing out on those intentional messages from God, please do not misunderstand what I’m saying.

I am not saying devotionals aren’t awesome, and I’m not saying Bible studies aren’t amazing. What I’m simply saying is we can’t use those all the time. We have to learn how to read the Bible for ourselves and really grow in our relationship with God that way and hear from him ourselves and have that just ability and skillset so that we can discern things for ourselves.

So if you’re in a place where you’re trying to learn more about how to say scripture for yourself and not be so confused because it is definitely a difficult book to understand. There’s a lot of things that you need to understand like context and like reading the different kinds of scripture and how they were written, who they were written to, and then how to apply it to our lives. So if that’s a place you’re in, I’ve written a lot of awesome content and even a Bible study on how to study the Bible and that I will link in the show notes below and I really love talking about this topic.

CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST HERE: 8 Steps to Understanding the Bible

So if you have a question about it, let me know. Recently I have been using precept, which is a study that is a very in depth study. It kind of guides you and it shows you what cross references you need to look at in scripture.

3 Steps to Take Today

Here’s three very actionable steps you can take to begin reading the Bible for yourself and understanding it.

1. Pick a Book & Set up Camp

So step number one, pick a book and set camp. So a lot of scripture and a lot of preaching recently has been more topical, meaning it’s like on one subject, like the word faith, or in a specific situation or cultural thing.

Instead we’re gonna choose one book of the Bible and choose to stay in it for a longer period of time, reading it repeatedly and really understanding it before we move on. So a few examples of awesome books to start with is Philippians or I’m trying to think of what other, you can choose a gospel. Those are both awesome options. So that’s my first step of advice. Pick a book and just dedicate your time and effort to understanding that book and just spending time with God there.

2. Ask Questions & Get Context

Second step is this, ask questions and get context.

It is okay if you do not understand it. It really, really is. Honestly, most people don’t understand how to read the Bible the right way or how to figure out how to interpret it for themselves. A lot of us as believers just end up going to church, learning from what the pastor preaches and then not really diving into it for ourselves through the week. So there’s no shame. There is no question that is stupid, no question that’s wrong.

So let’s start with the first questions you want to ask in the book. So to get started reading scripture, I want you to read over that book that you decided to set up camp in and then start asking yourself a few questions.

  • Start with who wrote this book?
  • Why did he write it?
  • Who did he write it to?
  • Look at historical things, what was going on, what part of the like Bible story is this?

And when you’re looking at the overview, then ask a few other questions like the WHO, what, when, where and how. Those kinds of questions stick to those and really dive into finding answers for those cause in the scripture it will tell you and if you cannot find it, it’s okay to look up and use a study guide or commentary because there’s introduction commentaries to books and those will often get you enough answers to really get started studying that book and understanding it.

Another thing that’s a big, big, big deal that I will do a whole episode on and that is getting into context.

Context is where you’re reading it within how it was written. So let’s say when Jesus was speaking to a very specific group of people, you’re looking at the time period he was speaking in what was happening in that historical time period, who he was speaking to, like that group of people, what did they believe?

What type of people were they like, what were their normal cultural traditions? Those are all context things. They’re all like how it was specifically written in that time.

Now you might be asking, okay, if we’re looking at context in that it was written to those people, how do we end up that to us today? The way that you look at different things is going to be different based on the though scripture reading and what book you’re reading, but I promise there is a lot of lot, a lot of truth that does not just apply to that specific time period but still applies to us today.

God’s word did not die and is not irrelevant. No matter what people say. I absolutely promise. I’ve spent a lot of time in scripture and there is barely any days I’ve ever walked away and not had something to apply to my life for that day.

3. It’s okay if you don’t understand today, you’ll understand more tomorrow

It’s okay if you don’t understand today, you’ll definitely understand a little bit more tomorrow.

Each time you open God’s word and you’re staying in one place and you’re choosing to find understanding, that is going to be take you one step closer to understanding God’s word as a whole. And Trust me, the lessons you learn when you study one book of the Bible, you can then apply those same ways of studying those same questions, the same way of finding context to all the other Bible books of the Bible.

Then you can get a good view of the overview of the entire Bible from start to finish and see how awesome God is and how his characters the same through it all and how much he still speaks to us using that book.

And it is such a cool thing. Once you get to a point where you’re like, oh my gosh, I cannot believe I just did that or I can’t believe I understood that. I can’t believe I already knew that there’s so, so much confidence that comes with spending time in scripture and the only way you’re going to be able to understand it is if you choose to spend time in it for yourself.

I promise it will lead to good things and God will come alongside you, teach you things and just guide you in the process of learning how to hear from him and is definitely, definitely a worthwhile thing. Okay. That’s it for today’s episode. That is the secret to understanding the Bible is spending time in it for yourself. I know it’s simple, but trust me, it’s the biggest truth I’ve ever learned and it is so worth it.

Budgeting 101 for the Christian Girl

budgeting 101 for the Christian girl / budgeting tips for the beginner / all things budgeting / how to start budgeting
budgeting 101 for the Christian girl / budgeting tips for the beginner / all things budgeting / how to start budgeting

Are you ready to tackle your budget but not sure where to start? Do you want to feel free from your finances so you can handle your debt, plan for the future and even go on vacation? This episode is for you! We are going to address tons of commonly asked Budgeting questions, give you a step by step guide to begin budgeting and tips and tricks to stick with it! Let’s get started in this budgeting 101 class!

Would you rather listen to the Podcast Episode? 👇🏼

Common excuses I hear:

A lot of people don’t want to budget because of so many different reasons but I am here to get rid of these! We have to push past the mental block of “I don’t want to because…” and reach the place of “I want to because”.

I don’t make enough to budget

Tell me, do you spend money? If you spend money then you need to budget and we all spend money! You probably have some form of income coming in and you probably are buying a cup of coffee, groceries or gas.

When I was in college I lived off of $100 a month and I budgeted! That’s how I could go to Disneyland on spring break and the Grand Canyon! You have to manage what you have no matter how little or much it is.

I am in too much debt, I don’t want to know

This can be a very difficult situation to be in but please listen to me. YOU HAVE TO DO IT ANYWAY! Your finances are just going to get worse. You are going to get into more and more debt if you don’t sit down and handle them.

I don’t care how much you owe. Even if you owe $200,000, you can get out of debt but you have to have to be aware of your situation and make a strategy!

I don’t have enough time to budget

The most amount of you time you have to spend every month on your budget is 10 minutes.

Is

  • A dream vacation
  • Peace of mind
  • A growing savings account
  • The ability to donate money
  • Debt freedom

worth 10 minutes to you?

Initially, in the first month it may take 30 minutes to set up then 30 minutes to revaluate. Then each month after that is simply a management, an easy 10 minute check in!


My income changes too much

This I understand! I am a freelancer, my income changes every month BUT my bills don’t. I adjust my frivolous categories to match the months income so I don’t go into more debt.

Your income changing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be budgeting. It just means it takes 3 extra minutes a month to plan.

Why do you need a budget?

Now that we have kicked the excuses to curb, let’s dive into a few more benefits to budgeting!

Peace

Peace of mind. Peace in spirit. Peace comes with knowing where your financial status is, what you are working towards is progressing and that you can do things you love.

By handling our finances faithfully, we can also invite God into the process. We can sit in the truth that He is our ultimate provider and we can grow knowing He’s got us even if our budgeting all falls away.

Honor God

When we show God that we are being faithful with what he has given us, we are honoring Him. We are also proving to Him we are trustworthy and faithful. When he sees that, He often gives more. More of what exactly, I can’t tell you, but I do know it comes with blessings.

We can honor God in every situation in our lives and money is no different.

Extra money for fun things!

On a lighter note when we budget our money we are getting rid of our debts but we are also making space for fun things too! You can be planning that Spring break girls trip or budget for that conference you want to go to do.

It’s not all about the bigger more important things, it creates margin for different things!

A skill that you will always

Being able to manage your money is a skill. It’s a sharable skill. It’s one you can use to help you roommate, it’s one you can teach your future kids, and it’s one you can even make money from!

Start now, learn a lot, built the skill. I promise it will come in handy!

Budgeting 101: How to make your first budget

Let’s dive into the actual steps it takes to build your first budget! Want to skip the tutorial and buy the easy workbook to do it now? Click the banner below! It’s only $10!

easy to follow budgeting sheets

Look at How you Already Spend Money

Pull out your bank statement from last month and look it over. To be able to build a good budget you have to see your current spending habits.

Look at these three things

  • Income
  • Recurring Bills
  • Other spending habits

Make Categories

Now that you have a good big picture, let’s dive into the categories. These will be unique to you in the aspect of the size but other than that they are pretty universal! Here is an examples list to pull from so you can form your own!

  • Groceries
  • Gas
  • Restaurants
  • Housing
  • Utilities
  • Car Maintenance
  • Phone
  • Entertainment
  • Tithe
  • Gift
  • Gym
  • Insurance
  • Medical
  • Clothing
  • Books
  • Shopping

There are so many but try to narrow down your top categories then estimate how much you typically spend in each. Keep it all together in a list!

Set budgets

Now that you have an estimate of each category, we need to figure out how much is too much. Start with your income, how much do you have to spend each month.

Now subtract your monthly bills.

Now subtract all the MOST IMPORTANT categories first (these are still estimates). After you start with the absolute necessities, see what you have leftover to put in your other common categories.

Do not go over how much you make!!!

Include a Treat Yo Self Category

TOP Budgeting 101 Tip! Don’t forget to add a little treat yo self money category. This is for when you need to let loose and have some fun!

Manage Monthly

Now that you have an estimated monthly budget, follow it for a month. Then in 30 days pull it out and see how well you did.

This will not be perfect the first go around but you will know a lot more about yourself! See where maybe you need to cut back some spending, estimate again and readdress in another month!

Set Goals

Setting goals is something that comes a month or two into the budgeting process. Now you have a good feel for your money habits and where you can cut back. It’s time to set some fun and serious goals!

Wondering what your first money goal should be?

TOP Budgeting 101 Tip: If you don’t have at least $500 saved, start there.

Here is why. If you just paid down your credit card but end up at the car shop needing four new tires, what are you going to do? You are probably going to put it on your credit card. Now you are stuck in the same situation!

BUT if you had a savings account where you could pay for the tires and not be in a hole, your finances would thank you!

Have a goal to save at least $500 to start then chose another savings goal!

Pay off debt

The next fun category, this one is a long game but definitely manageable. It’s a lot to get into here so I’ll make another post about this. If you are ready to get rid of your debt, then try to figure out a monthly amount you can put towards this. Grow this amount as much as you can!

Plan for a vacation

I do this with paying off my debt. You need to find the balance between sacrifice and rewards. It’s okay to put a little aside for a vacation! Chose a goal amount and start working towards it monthly!

Be free and give grace!

Freedom comes with budgeting. It comes with knowing where your money is. It comes with honoring God with it. Choose freedom friends!

Don’t forget to give your self grace too. This can be a hard process but it’s a learning one! Don’t stress, try try again!

How to stick with it

Budgeting 101 will get you nowhere if you don’t follow through. Sticking with the budget can be the hardest aspect of this. Here are a few compelling ways to actually stick with the awesome budget you created!

Find a Strong Motivating Reason

Why did you read this post? Why are you interested in budgeting? Is it to be free? Is it to be faithful to God? Is it to get rid of your debt? Is it to plan for the dream vacation?

Whatever it is, name it then remember it. Every month when you sit down think ” I am doing this because…”.

budgeting 101 for the Christian girl / budgeting tips for the beginner / all things budgeting / how to start budgeting

Automate the System

This is the best budgeting 101 tip I have.

Wondering how I only spend 10 a month on my budget? mint.com is it! Mint is an easy to use budgeting software that links to your accounts and automatically loads and categorizes your transactions.

***Check out my IGTV video for a behind the scenes view of how I use Mint to budget!

Do it With a Buddy

You’ll get a lot farther in this budgeting 101 lesson if you share it with a friend! Don’t try to do this alone, send this article to a friend and invite her to do it with you! Sit down for a coffee date and hash out these steps. Build a budget for yourself then review the other girls. Brainstorm together then check in.

Ask if she has over spent on her clothing category or restaurants.

Have fun with it! Do it together! It’s so much more fun that way!

As always, ask me any questions you have about budgeting. I am here for you!

6 Ways to Build a Passion for God

Check out the Podcast here or listen below!

Do you feel like reading your Bible is just another thing you have to do every day? Are you thinking about how you haven’t prayed in awhile and you have no desire to do it? Sometimes we can fall into a routine of contentment where we’re just living our lives, not really growing in our relationships with God. Here are five ways to get out of this zone of thinking and to start desiring gotten.

Today we’re going to dive into six ways to build a passion for God when you feel stuck going through the motions. Recently I’ve gotten a lot of text messages and emails about this because a lot of girls are feeling like they’re just reading the Bible because they have to. It’s on their to do list. It’s something that most good Christians do. It’s like a requirement of the day.

I totally understand that feeling. Sometimes the church makes it seem like we have to do things in a specific way in a specific order in our day. When, in reality, growing with God and having a relationship with him and desiring to be with him doesn’t have to be on our checklist. It can literally be in the background of every day and just constantly happening.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be something that we make into part of our checklist. Sometimes we just don’t feel like doing it. We just don’t feel like sitting and reading the Bible or praying. It can be for a lot of different reasons.

It can be because we desire to do other things more. It can be because we haven’t heard from God in a long time and sitting there trying is not going to lead to anything. It can feel like a waste of time. I completely understand this feeling like totally. I feel like all believers understand this feeling to a certain extent.

Of course some people struggle with it more in certain seasons of life than others, which is like the mountain highs and the valleys of life. It just changes. And so I want to share a little bit about my testimony, which I shared in a different post. Just to go into a little bit of how I grew up and my desire to grow with God.

Building a Passion for God is Flipping Hard

So when I was 16, I became a believer. I was at this summer camp and it was a time where everybody was praying. And in that moment I felt for the first time God was speaking to me. And when I felt that, when I understood that he was real, that everything that I had heard about him, everything that the church taught about him was all true. It moved from my head to my heart, which is totally cliche, but you know what I mean? I completely believed it and it connected me with God. And so ever since then really I’ve had this deep desire to grow with him more because I understood who he was.

Sometimes I struggle with it. I mean I have my bad days, like anybody else has their bad days, but ultimately I desire to grow with God. I desire to live out his will and I desire to follow his teachings and his commandments. It’s not so much about the rules but about what God’s laid out for me to live an abundant life.

All of his laws and commandments are foundation for us to be healthy humans the way that God created us to live. That’s my underlying belief about that in scripture and seeing it that way also makes it easier versus seeing God as someone who is telling us what to do and trying to make us live a certain way.

One of the ways that I also desire God is that I figured out what specific spiritual discipline I really am gifted in and desire and love and that for me is reading scripture and studying the Bible like that is my favorite thing to do. I write about it all the time. If you’re looking for tips and tricks, I’ll leave the links below, but I love spending time in scripture that’s the easiest way for me to sit and spend time with him and to hear from him.

8 Steps to Reading the Bible Confidently as a Beginner

But I know I have other friends who prayer is their easiest or some people like meditating, worship, there’s so many different ways that we can connect with God and feel really close to him. Just discovering what our unique way of doing that is and what our specific personality and giftings are can make it easier to desire him. Soon I’ll release a podcast that dives into the 12 spiritual disciplines so that you can hear a few new ideas to spend time with God, but today we are going to dive into six ways you can build a passion for God.

#1 Remember when you First Met Him

When we originally meet God and connect with him and start to believe that he is real, usually that’s a mountain top experience. It’s like one of those really emotional, really life changing like huge events in our lives.

Sometimes it’s eventful. Sometimes it’s not. You know, everybody’s different. Mine was at camp and that experience of when I like finally understood who he was and that he was real for you, it could have been something simpler. It could have been at church and just as simple feeling and understanding and knowing that he’s real, it comes differently. But remembering and sitting in how you felt in that original moment of, Aha, it can change your mind now I can remind you of who he is and that original desire you had a can grow that back too.

The original passion and motivation is there. Sometimes it’s just sitting in reliving that, asking him to show up and show you in life today and help you move past the feeling of being stuck and not desiring him. A couple of other tricks that I’ve used to remember that experience is reading my old journals cause I totally was a journaler, definitely been a journaler for a couple of years more consistent in college but definitely had some very embarrassing journals when I was in high school and they are currently in my room.

Another way you can is to ask a friend who was there in that season of life with you. Like my mom, I would probably go to my mom and ask her because she, when I came home from camp, I can tell you I felt different and I can tell you, she could tell I was a little different than I was before.

I was a believer before. I lived out the faith, I did the right things. But at that point the love and understanding of who God was came out in a different way. And so I know my mom could help me and just tell me what she saw and remind me of that original passion I had for him and how awesome he is.

#2 Explore Who you Think God Is

The next step is a little bit more looking at yourself and asking yourself some questions about what you believe about God. So number two, explore who you think God is. So I feel like this is something I’ve come across a lot and I do it sometimes too.

We can miss identified God so easily.

We can make him seem a little bit more human than he is since he’s perfect. We can connect with the human level of Him because that’s what we’re used to. That’s what we know, that’s who we are and so we’ll make him seem like something that we’re familiar with versus sitting in who he is, which can be unfamiliar because he’s so perfect. We can’t comprehend that.

But when we align what our beliefs of who God is with what scripture says and who He actually is, then we have a better picture of God’s character. We can then connect with him on a relational level because that’s essentially what we’re trying to do.

We’re trying to grow in our relationship with God and we’re trying to build the desire to grow in that just like we would anybody else. Just like we would go sit with a new friend and talk over coffee and ask them questions about themselves and learn about their character. And then we feel drawn to certain aspects of them.

That’s what we have to do with God because he is based in character traits that doesn’t change. He is love and he is faithful and he is steadfast and seeking us. We just have to remember his character because then we actually will start to desire to know him more and better because of who he is. Who we think God is, will determine how we feel towards him. So we have to explore those aspects of it and how we specifically view him, not how other people view him or how we’re suppose to view him. But how we actually view him.

So for an example, if you view him as love, he will seem loving. If we remember everything he ever did is rooted in his love for us and for his creation and for us as a whole and our healthiness and our wholeness. He will seem like a loving father. But if we see him as demanding our obedience, then we’ll see him more as a dictator. Or if we see him as a god who is just waiting for us to mess up, then we’ll see him more as a judge.

So for you to be able to really figure out how you view God, you have to sit in silence and you have to really think about it. Think about the emotions that you feel towards him. Think about how he has shown up in your life recently and how that’s made you feel.

Think about all of those things and just meditate on it awhile and then write down a few character traits of how you feel about God. That way you can figure out where you’ve missed identified him because that can be a clear, clear, clear block that stops you from desiring God.

#3 Rediscover who God actually is in Scripture

So I’m going to leave down a link below that’s 15 bible verses about who God is. So when you get the chance, sit and go through these scriptures and see if they align with how you’re choosing to identify and God. Now, are those character traits lining up with who you think he is? Is it accurate? According to scripture, scripture is our truth. It is our tangible way of seeing and hearing from God and getting answers to questions that we have.

So it makes sense it’d be a place that we would go, especially to learn about who God is. Because literally within every story of scripture is an explanation, a character trait, and an expression of who God is. So let’s dive into scripture to figure out who we need to be identifying him as.

15 Scriptures about who God is

#4 Ask God to put a Passion and Desire in You

On to number four, ask God to put a passion and desire in you. Why don’t we turn to him faster. I have no idea. I do it all the time. I always forget he’s there, but he can come in and help us and build this desire and passion for him in us. We just have to ask him for help.

Sometimes simply asking God for something seems almost too simple, but if you don’t ask, you don’t receive, so it’s worth giving it a try. Just ask him and see what he does.

Be observant and be open to what he’s trying to show you. I promise he’ll show up. I promise. I promise.

#5 Seek Him in a New Way

If you typically read your Bible, try praying. If you usually pray, try meditating. I personally love meditating. Every time I talk about meditation, I always think crossing your legs and sitting Indian style on the floor, that’s always what I picture. But you don’t have to do that to meditate.

Meditating on who God is is in scripture. So there’s an app. I absolutely love it. It’s called Abide and it has Christian guided meditations and they have a lot of different topics and they even have ones that are on sleep, which is what I typically use when I go to bed. It can be 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes or an hour for the sleep ones specifically. And so I’ll just turn that on and I’ll listen to it as I fall asleep.

Meditation can be something you try or if you don’t like to journal, try writing your thoughts out to God. So instead of your typical way of praying or reading your Bible, try taking out your notebook and writing out a prayer to God and being very specific about what you tell him and what you ask from him.

Another way is if you haven’t volunteered to serve others in awhile, try doing that. It can be a eye opening experience. It can be so life giving and telling of your personal gifts and talents when you go to serve other people because it is pushing you usually outside your comfort zone a little bit. Also outside of your normal realm of the way things work and it shows you what’s going on in your community, what’s going on in your church and where needs are.

#6 See Him Anyway

Okay. Now number six, the final way to break that stuck feeling of I have to spend time with God is to seek him anyway. It’s a nice thought that every day of our lives we’ll actually desire to seek God, but it isn’t true. I don’t know anybody that actually says I 100% of the time want to seek God above everything else and spend all my time with him.

Most of the time our flesh will come in and try to deter us from that and we have to seek him anyway. We have to get up in the morning and spend time with him. We have to pray when we don’t feel like it and we have to just seek him. I promise. I promise he will show up. Especially if we’re consistent and we’re desiring him and we’re open to him.

He will show up. So you have to try seeking him anyway and then try it again tomorrow and then do it again the next day. It has to be consistent. Consistency will open the door for God to speak and when he does, you’ll never want him to stop. It is so, so cool how that works. So cool. So for number six, seek him anyway.

All right friends, that’s it. That’s the six ways to keep seeking God and build a passion for him. Even when you feel stuck going through the motions. I am just getting started talking about this topic and there will be so much more fun stuff coming soon about this too.

Tell me are you passionate about seeking God right now?

15 Bible Verses to Discover who God Is

The best place to discover who God is, is in His word. He shares so much with us about Himself. He shares His character, how He loves, how He guides and more. Every word within the Bible is about Him we just have to read it to discover Him.

Think of this like going on a coffee date with a new friend. Write down a few questions then ask Him. Ask God to share with you more about His character.

The more we explore His character the more we can build a relationship with Him and let me tell you something. That is the goal of the life. That is the point of life. Loving God starts with knowing Him then growing with Him.

Ready to start your relationship fresh?

1 John 1:5

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

James 1:17

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Numbers 23:19

19 God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?

Psalms 18:30

30 As for God, his way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    he shields all who take refuge in him.

Psalms 116:5

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
    our God is full of compassion.

2 Samuel 22:32-34

32 For who is God besides the Lord?
    And who is the Rock except our God?
33 It is God who arms me with strength[a]
    and keeps my way secure.
34 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
    he causes me to stand on the heights.

Psalms 33:11-13

11 But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
    the purposes of his heart through all generations.

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people he chose for his inheritance.
13 From heaven the Lord looks down
    and sees all mankind;

Proverbs 8:17

17 I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me find me.

Revelation 1:8

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Jeremiah 32:17

17 “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

2 Corinthians 6:16

16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will live with them
    and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.”[a]

6 Signs You aren’t Living the Life God Created You For

Listen to this post here:

Do you feel like you’re missing something in your life? You just don’t feel like you’re doing something that matters? I totally get that feeling. In this post, I’m going to dive into six signs you aren’t living the life God created you for and ways that you can fix them. Let’s get started.

We are talking about six signs you aren’t living the life guide created you for and ways to fix them. I just know that the world is asking a lot of questions about who we are, what we are created to do and how to live that out daily.

But I feel like not that many people are answering them from a Christian perspective. And so here we are trying to discover it together. So today’s post is diving into six signs that we aren’t living the life God created us for and ways that we can fix them.

I’m a very applicable person. I like it when there are some action steps and so each one of these signs includes an action step so that you can fix it and try to start living the way God created you to live in that area of your life.

Sign 1: You are dreading life consistently.

If you don’t ever want to go to work, if you don’t feel fulfilled by anything that you do, if you just want to stay home all the time and if you don’t look forward to many things, then you’re probably dreading life consistently. And when you’re dreading life, that means you’re missing something important.

You don’t enjoy work. That probably means you might be doing the wrong thing. You might be in an unhealthy environment that you need to get out of or you might be needing to rely on God more in the situation that he’s put you in and he’s trying to teach you something.

There are so many different aspects of this, so I am not blanketing these signs as, oh, this means that you’re doing something wrong. They’re just different signs that I’ve realized and I’ve asked other people about that show that there’s just something off in either your mental or physical place. If you are dreading life consistently, here are some easy fixes to try to change things up.

The Fix: Try something new

You have to do something different to see if that will make you feel better.

Maybe you would enjoy hanging out with new friends, or try telling your current friends how you feel. Sometimes when we are struggling a lot, we choose to get isolated and push other people away, but when we tell other people how we feel, then we’re inviting them into the process. It gives them a chance to love us well and us a chance to be filled by their love and to feel more just fulfilled in life.

Try a new workout.

If you are bored doing the same thing, try something fresh. If you enjoy working out, of course that is if you enjoy working out, which not everybody does, try a new restaurant or coffee shop. Maybe you enjoy going to the same Chinese restaurant on the corner, but maybe you should try going to that Mexican restaurant and just see if there’s something fresh.

A new little change in perspective can do you good. Try a coffee shop. If you’re like me, you like to go the same place or do the same thing and sit in the exact same chair for a couple of hours then try going to the other coffee shop in town and trying a new cup of something.

Another way that you can fix this is to ask God to give you an opportunity to do something for him. It goes back to what I’ve said before.

If you invite God into the process, he will show up and he can change the dread in the exact same situation to expectation to see what he will do in your life. It is a very, very cool thing.

Sign 2: You are happy, not joyful.

So a lot of people can get these two confused. But as Christians, we are called to be joyful, not happy. Happy is more of a roller coaster emotion. It changes based on your life circumstances. You could be happy one minute and excited about life, and then in the next you’re dreading life and you’re not happy whatsoever because life circumstances changed. Something bad happened or whatever. Happiness can go away so quickly.

Joyfulness is a more consistent feeling. It’s not based on external circumstances, but it’s an internal choice.

Joy is something that’s also contagious. When you feel joyful, even in the midst of suffering or in the midst of life’s struggles or when you can’t pay your bills or when you got fired, or when you’re in any situation where you need to rely on God and his faithfulness and his provision, when you choose that joy in those situations, other people notice.

It’s very much a big sign that says, Hey, I’m different.

The Fix: Get grateful

So if you’re happy and not joyful, the fix for that is to get grateful. So when we sit and look at what we have in life, all of the blessings that we’ve had, our home, our family, a good friend, the way that God’s provided money, the way that you got a new car, all those things, they are blessings in your life that God’s given you and they’re all reasons for you to be joyful.

God is a good, good, good God and he’s a good father and a good friend. And so remembering who he is can also help you choose joy in a situation because he’s the stable rock in your life.

He is your foundation. And when you stand on him and you remember who he is, joy comes easily because you know who’s got your life in the palm of his hands. So if you’re not happy, get grateful.

Sign 3: You don’t feel Special

Have you ever looked around and realizes you don’t seem any different than the world? Sometimes we can get into this place where we just keep going through the motions and have gotten formed by the world a little bit and we just do what other people do and like the photos other people like. We start to look like the photos that other people take on their Instagrams too.

If you don’t feel special, you need to look at a few different things.

Fix 1: Ask Others

The first is to ask others, ask others why they enjoy hanging out with you. Ask them what makes you different than others. Ask them what they’re grateful about your character and why they like hanging out with you.

Fix 2: Ask God

Another fix for this is to ask God to reveal to you why he loves you and what makes you different because he created you. He can show you and help you discover what makes you different than other people and help you lean into those special gifts and talents that you have that sets you apart from the world. Because when we get stuck in the way that we do things and the way that other people do things, then we’re missing out on so much joy and adventure in our lives.

But God wants us to be special and to be different and to be set apart. So if you don’t feel special right now, ask others and ask God to reveal to you why they love you and what makes you different.

signs you aren't living the life God created you for - if you are isolated, go to church

Sign 4: You’re Just Going through the Motions

Don’t get me wrong. Rhythms are really good. I love rhythms. I have rhythms I go through every morning when I get up and I have rhythms when I go to bed. They’re kind of my normal rituals, things I do every day. They’re my pillars that make me feel calm and peaceful while everything else changes. But if you don’t allow for change or life interruptions, then you’re too comfortable.

I know sometimes I can rely too much on my plan. That plan that God changes so often.

I am not talking about the big life plan, but I’m talking about the daily plan, like the, okay, tomorrow I’m going to go to work and then I’m going to go eat lunch with a friend. And then I’ve got Bible study tomorrow night. But if I don’t allow God to interrupt my day and show me what he wants me to do and who he wants me to love, then I’m missing out on so much too.

I’m too comfortable in the way that I see things that I’m not allowing him, who is much bigger and sees many more things than me, to come in and open doors and show me what he wants me to do. So that can block us from living the life God created us to live because we get too comfortable in the way that we’re doing things.

The Fix: Look for Interruptions and Allow them to Happen

So the fix for this sign is to look for interruptions and allow them to happen. When you’re intentionally looking for interruptions, it’s easy to see them. It can be simple. It could be like this girl cutting in front of you at the grocery store when you were in line and you were ready to get going. It could be that you’re supposed to talk to her and love her and pray for her. Sometimes it’s something specific or it could just be that she needed a break and she needed to go in front of you.

Or You could go to work and end up with five extra jobs you weren’t expecting because someone came called in sick and they couldn’t come in and so you got all the extra work. But interruptions in our lives open doors for other things and you never know what’s going to happen. So you have to look for them and you have to allow them to happen with open arms, not push them aside and say, oh that was not in a plan.

Sign 5: You are Isolated in Life

You are isolated in life. This one I definitely understand. When I was in Ukraine it was very, very isolating season. I had friends and people in the church that were close to me and I loved them and adore them, but there’s still that cultural barrier and there wasn’t anybody that was around my age that understood where I was coming from and spoke English fluently. I was in a very, very dark season of isolation and it taught me so much about God and he just opened a lot of things for me and said, hey, this is what I want you to get.

But if you’re not sure if you’re too isolated in life, try answering these questions.

When was the last time someone called, texted or came over because they had a problem and needed a friend to walk through it?

That sounds so odd, but I’ve realized when I’m isolated in life then people don’t come to me because they feel like they’re burdening me or because I pushed them away. But if they call me or text me or they just stop by my house it shows they trust me and desire to have a relationship with me.

So if you don’t have a friend that does that, that could be a sign you’re isolated in life.

Another question to ask is, when was the last time you felt like you were blessed with awesome people in your life?

You looked around and you were like, wow, I have great friends. If you haven’t felt that way or haven’t felt that way in a long time, you’re probably isolated in life.

God has some awesome people in his kingdom and some awesome people he created. So I promise you friends are out there, but sometimes we have to do some work to meet them, trust me, I’m in that season of trying to figure out like post-college, how to make friends and is hard. So I totally get that. But it’s a season that we need to choose to build community in.

And another question ask is, do you often feel a sense of loneliness?

Loneliness can come from different things and it can happen when we’re with people too. But often when we’re with people and we feel lonely, it’s either because we aren’t being open about who we are and what we need and like fully giving ourselves in a relationship, which if you’re looking for a deep relationship, it needs to be a 50/50 relationship or some people say 100/100, I don’t care which way you look at it.

You have to be giving and taking as well as the other person giving and taking or it’s on a double sided relationship. Then someone’s just giving too much and someone’s taking too much. So if you feel a sense of loneliness in a crowd, think about that. But if you feel yourself and you feel lonely and you’re not around that many people, then you’re probably isolated in life.

Check out Related: How to Cultivate Community

Fix 1: Go to Church

So my fix for this is to go to church. That is a great place to find some God loving kingdom, people that will love you well and choose to serve you. Another way is to reach out to people that you already have in your life. So friends of other seasons, friends who live in different states, call them and say, “Hey, I’m really struggling. I need you to pray for me” or “I need you to just hear what I’m struggling with” or “I need your opinion” or “I just need you to listen.”

There are people that are in your life that will do it. I promise you just need to reach out to them.

Fix 2: Let People In

And the last fix is to let people in. If you do not let people in then you cannot build community because you’re blocking them from yourself, you will always keep them at arm’s length and they’ll know. They’ll think “we aren’t that close”. People will recognize that even if they don’t immediately recognize it. They’ll see that you have walls put up and that you push people away.

Sign 6: You haven’t Spent time with God in a While

Sign 6 is you haven’t spent time with God in a while. For us to live the life God created us for, we have to spend time with him. If we aren’t rooted in him, ot hanging out with him, praying, speaking with him, then we’re missing out on the relationship with him.

We’re choosing not to hear him or to be guided by him or to be changed by him. The thing with God is he is always molding us in his image and he is always working us into who he needs us to be for the future.

So if you’re thinking this season of life is really lame, trust me, he’s probably teaching you something very, very important that you are going to need in the future. Even if it doesn’t seem very fun today. Remember that. So if you haven’t spent time with God in awhile, you’re missing out on a very important aspect of abundant life.

The Fix: Spend 15 Minutes with God Today

So the fix for that is to spend 15 minutes with God today, it’s very simple. You could do five minutes, you could do 30 minutes, you could do an hour or you could do 15 minutes. I recommend 15 because it’s a good amount of time and it’s not too much and you can totally work that into your schedule. I promise. If you try, you can do it.

Then I want you to do it again tomorrow, Okay? Then I want you to do it again the next day and stay consistent for as long as it takes to get to know God more.

Because as soon as you understand who God is and how awesome he is and how much he loves you, you’ll desire to spend time with God.

I know it sounds funny and I’m going to do a podcast episode on this in the future because a lot of people have been asking me this recently, how do we desire God? How do I build that in myself? Or how do I read the Bible and not feel like it’s something I have to check off my checklist?

I totally understand those feelings and I’ve been in seasons like that but you don’t have to stay there. It can be something that you work through and move into a passion for knowing more about God and following him with your life.

Once you get passionate, it’s like your blinders come off. And the whole world is an adventure and every day is going to be crazy and, and exciting and fun. And so if you haven’t spent time with God in a while, I suggest you spend 15 minutes with God today.

Not sure where to start?

It can be life changing in the long run even if it seems like you didn’t learn anything or you didn’t grow with him today. It’s something that you have to do consistently to build the passion and to get momentum, I promise. I promise. It is well, well worth it. So that is the fix for number six.

Bible Journaling Basics / A Different Approach to Spending Time with God

bible-journaling.jpg

My Bible Journaling Story

When I was wrecked by meeting God, whom I had heard so much about since I was a child, at the age of sixteen my mom bought me a journaling Bible. That was five years ago when Bibles with lines were still new and my young group leader had one. It seemed so hip. I was that child that bought school supplies, pens, books, and yes Bibles, just to have them and to experience that new purchase feeling.

I would take them home, read a few chapters then forget them on my book shelf until I talked my mom into buying me another at Lifeway (thank you mom for being so supportive!).

This time it was different. God called me to Him and revealed Himself. God showed me how much He loved me, wanted me, and desired a RELATIONSHIP with me. So of course I needed a Bible to acknowledge the occasion.

When the camp was over my mom, dad and I traveled 9 hours north for a wedding in Dallas and there my mom and I had a little Christian book store date. I picked out my journaling Bible. It was just black and it was the only option (unlike today) and since that day I’ve been using it.

Being creative means that when the Illustrated Faith movement came about everyone was wondering what I was doing. The answer was a big nothing. Not sure what I am talking about? Check out these photos. Simply put Illustrated Faith is where scrapbooking met quiet time.

BIBLE JOURNALING MEETS SCRAPBOOKING

It was kinda like people stopped seeing the Bible as this untouchable place that wasn’t a space for this kind of creativity. Permission was granted for creative pursuits of their Bible reading time. 

Over the years I have redefined what Bible Journaling is to me. This is how I define it. 

MY DEFINITION OF BIBLE JOURNALING

Bible Journaling is the interaction between the reader and God on the pages of His word using any medium that they love. This can be with paint, stickers, pretty pens or simply a black pen! 

I, Ashley Jo Bruce, give you permission to do whatever you want in your Bible in the pursuit of God. THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY OF DOING THIS. (Excuse the aggressiveness of the last sentence, I just think it’s necessary to say boldly)

I believe God is going to interact and talk with us all uniquely since we are all made so differently. I believe this applies even to His word. So if painting and adding stickers connects you to God, Go! Talk! Listen!

MY TOP TIPS!

I don’t want you to get caught up in what I do because I want you to develop your own way of interaction. Here are just a few tools that I love.

Bible-journaling-basics.jpg
basics-of-bible-journaling.jpg
bible-journaling.jpg

LET’S THROW OUT ALL THE LIES //

  • If you feel like God doesn’t want to meet with you kick this lie in the face. Your God CREATED you, who shook extra sparkles over you, He formed a plan for you, He so deeply desires for you to know Him to, He is seriously waiting, like right now. 
  • If you feel like you are going to do it wrong. Girl you should see the misspellings in my Bible. I tried to make them into flowers. It’s okay it’s not perfect! Don’t have that high expectations, it will take the joy out of the process. Just interact!
  • I am not creative. Hon, you do not have to be creative to interact with God. It doesn’t matter what you write or how you write it. It matters you are simply talking with God and listening to what He has to say. Stop letting that lie hold you back.
  • God’s word is holy, I don’t want to mark it. I completely agree with the first part. God’s word is Holy, it’s God’s words to us, extremely special letters written just for us. But God is inviting, beckoning us to Him, I don’t believe He cares about the method just about you.

FAQS //

WHERE DO I START READING THE BIBLE?

I got you friend. I created a 6 day Bible reading email party to get you started reading the Bible WITHOUT a Bible Study. Check it out here!

WHAT IF I MESS UP?

Then mess up and move on. I have staple marks in my Bible. I have 16 year old ugly handwriting all over the place. I can see the progression between surface thoughts to deep thoughts over time. Everyday is a learning experience, embrace it! It will make your Bible YOUR BIBLE.

NEED INSPIRATION?

Follow my Pinterest board on Bible journaling!

WHAT IF I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURE? 

Ask the questions. Don’t just give up because it’s hard, dig deeper. Grab a commentary OR watch the Bible Project video on the book you are studying. These videos are amazing to teach you the overview of the book so you can understand the verses. Still have questions, ask me or a mentor in your life! Don’t be afraid! You are not alone in this. 

Try different things. Get inspired then ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING. Don’t just dream of this full Bible where God met you over and over again, make it. Choose today to interact with Him.

I created a Bible course that teaches you how to read the Bible and be confident in it! Learn more here.

Need some direction on finding YOUR method?

GRAB THIS DISCOVERY GUIDE! FULL OF QUESTIONS AND PROMPTS TO GET YOU THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU LIKE!

GO READ, WRITE, STICKER, PAINT, STAPLE, SPILL & BE PRESENT IN GOD’S WORD.