Want to grow in your faith this year? Try this.
I’ll be honest – the connection between planning and faith has historically been a difficult one for me. Over the last few years, as Anchored Women was really taking shape and I was deciding what to focus on, I felt like I was being pulled in two directions.
Faith is the most important thing in my life. And it’s really what I want to share with my family, my community – even this online community!
Also? I love planning, and I’ve found it to be such a huge help in my life. And I want to share that with others, connecting them to things that might make life a little easier.
For a while I felt like I needed to choose. Do I write about planning, or do I write about faith? I really struggled over this, because I never ever want to, even subtly, communicate that I think planning can save you, by any means. Only faith in Christ can do that!
But as I wrestled through this, I realized that something was true – something I thought was missing from all the planner blogs out there.
The way planning can actually help you keep your faith as your primary focus. The way planning can be a tool that helps you find the peace that you’re looking for – through Christ, in your home and your life.
So, I try to hold both of these things loosely, weaving them together in a way that hopefully gives you really tangible strategies to live out a faith that can feel a little abstract at times.
And that’s exactly what we’re talking about today!
How I use my planner to grow in my faith
I know it seems strange to use a planner to grow in your faith. I know it! But the truth is that for many of us, our planner is almost like our brain – keeping track of everything that we need to manage on a daily basis. It’s where we write our schedule, where we decide what’s important, and where we often plot out what we are actually going to do each day.
THIS is where faith is lived out. THIS is where I decide my focus. And THIS is the tool that helps remind me of what really matters, when I’m so easily distracted by what doesn’t.
How do we live the way we want to?
While faith is a gift, it’s not natural to us, right? Our nature is to live selfishly, to protect ourselves and our people, to look inward instead of upward, to serve ourselves and our own goals and plans.
But living out the Christian life is just the opposite. Jesus modeled for us a truly unselfish life, walking out the fruit of the spirit each day, sharing truth with everyone He met.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t do that on my own. I have to make really intentional choices and rely on God for the ability to live my life after the example of Jesus. And let’s be honest – that’s hard to do in the middle of a crisis (even the crisis of not knowing what to put on the table that night) – I have to do make these decisions before things get tough.
This is where the time and space to plan proves to be really helpful. We know how we WANT to live, but what do we do when our lives aren’t lining up with those ideals at all?
For me, I open my Bible and seek the Word of God, first and foremost. And after that, I open my planner.
Space to think (and pray)
I think that the practice of planning – intentionally looking ahead, and giving yourself the much-needed space to make decisions even before they actually need to be made – is one thing that truly can help us grow in our faith each day.
Personally, I need that time, with my schedule and responsibilities in front of me, to consider what is REALLY important. When I have that time, I’m able to look at what’s been going well, what hasn’t been going well, and make some changes so that I can keep walking in faith.
I look at my plans for the year, month, and week ahead, and pray about whether or not they actually align with the life God is calling me to live.
Questions to ask yourself as you plan
I always try to ask myself a few key questions as I plan:
- Have I made sure to schedule in time to spend with the Lord each day?
- Do these activities line up with a responsibility or role that God has given me in this season? Or is it something I’m trying to do for another reason (control, over-productivity, affirmation)? (I’ll go over each one individually if I need to.)
- Does my schedule allow time to pour into others, at least a few times a week? Or is my schedule mainly focused on myself, my own career, and/or getting ahead?
- Do I have enough margin built in to be able to be interrupted without losing my patience? (This is a huge one for me!)
These questions really help me evaluate if the week I’ve planned also lines up with the life God has given me. Have I put too much work on my plate, and won’t be able to be as present with my family? Have I over-scheduled us all, resulting in less margin for my kids (and grumpier attitudes all the way around)? Do I have room for the interruptions and changes in plan that I KNOW will come?
Keep what matters in front of you
Once I’ve answered these questions, and loosely plotted out what the week will look like, I take a few minutes to pray over the week and ask God what my focus should be. Then, I write this down in my “Priorities” section of the planner, so I have it in front of me all week.
Then, as I do my Bible study or read a Christ-centered book, I’ll write down a key verse or meaningful quote right into the notes space on my planner. I might write down one thing a day, or one thing for the whole week. It depends on the week. But the POINT is that I’m keeping the Words of God right in front of me, all day long.
The truth is, I’m easily distracted and forgetful. And, like we talked about earlier, I tend toward selfishness. So having these reminders of the way I WANT to be living help me to actually live out my faith when the kids are squabbling and dinner is burning and I’m trying to talk to someone on the phone, all at once. I’ve got it right there, in my own writing, the reminder to turn my eyes to Him, instead of just relying on (and focusing on) myself.
In this way, my planner serves as another tool to point me back to Christ. All day, every day.
It provides me with a constant reminder of what matters, and a realistic way to live that out. Plus it helps me carve out margin for a change of plans – since we know God likes to work in us as things change!
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I hope this short break down has been helpful for you, and maybe even inspired you to look at your planner in a new way! I’d love to hear – how have you used your planner to grow in your faith?
Kayse is a wife, mom, and founder of the Anchored Women community. She writes to help women fight busy, find rest, and build a life that’s anchored in Christ. Kayse is also the creator of the S.O.S. Planner, the Anchored Life Kit, and other practical resources that equip women to manage their homes and families in confidence. You can find her writing and her resources at anchored-women.com!