I have interviewed 25 female difference-makers from all walks of life. Most are ordinary wives, moms or single women just like you. I asked the soccer moms, the working girl, the stay at home wife—you name it. I chose to interview women like us because if they can do it, so can we. Although they all have different backgrounds, they have a few things in common: They are true difference-makers in their churches and communities, impacting dozens of women and their families as lay leaders in their churches. These are not professional pastors, but they are generals in God's army who have an extraordinary love for Christ.
I asked them what kinds of things they do to deepen their faith. I want to challenge you to take the next step and deepen your relationship with God with these helpful tips offered by these uncommon women of common means.
Here's the top 25 responses from everyday women who are making a difference for Christ:
- Dedicate Time: Pursuing a relationship with God, like anything else, takes time. It is critical that you carve out alone time. Cut off all distractions, this is not the time to be on social media or responding to emails. Be present and ready to learn.
- Pray: Although this seems self-explanatory, the beginning to every successful relationship is communication. When you pray, you are communing with God. This is how you'll get comfortable with Him and grow in Him. Warning: Don't just pray when you want something. Pray when things are good and bad, when you're happy and sad.
- Read: Girl, get in His business! Seriously though, read, examine and study the Bible. Memorize and write out as much as you can. Live by what you read! The Bible is called the living Word for a reason. This isn't an old history book, and the things written are the same yesterday and today.
- Worship (publicly and privately): There's nothing better than getting crazy lit for Jesus. I admit I'm a proud Jesus freak, so I may be a bit biased. Like all other genres of music, it's a story or self-expression. Because music gets stuck in our heads, why not fill our heads with His truth? Just like Alanis Morrissett (or T. Swift for the newbies) got you over that bad breakup, Jesus will do the same plus more. Better yet, imagine a love deeper than Whitney Houston's famous solo. Yes girl, it's possible. God's love songs to us are even deeper.
- Eliminate: This step is usually the hardest, I'm not going to lie. In life, you must declutter to make room for new. If it's not helping your new relationship with God, it needs to go. This can be alcohol, friends, music, TV or even your hobbies. Make note: This change is also for internal things like negative thinking too.
- Meditate: Make it a habit to seriously focus and tune into God. I'm not saying close your eyes to moan, grunt and chant, but close your eyes and say His name (Jesus) and allow His presence to overwhelm you. This can take some time to get used to, so I recommend starting with a few minutes a day and have a timer close by.
- Journal: Grab a notebook and write (not type) God. Record the highs and lows of your day. Tell Him what's on your mind. Write out your wishes, desires, hopes and dreams. Thank Him for what you have, and ask Him for what you want.
- Talk to God: This one actually may be the weirdest (in the beginning, anyway) but open your mouth and speak to Him. Thank Him for the day, ask Him to touch you and fill you with His presence. Don't be shy; He loves hearing from you.
- Seek God: Include God in everything you do. Literally everything, from how to respond to a text to accepting a job offer. Go to God first: Before your besties, family and even boyfriend (or husband). Remember you want His approval, not the approval of others.
- Surrender: Give God your all. Ask God to enter your heart and help you to remove and uncover things hidden in you. As a follower of Christ, remember you want His will, not yours.
- Fast: When you fast, you are giving up your physical wants and desires to seek Him. This isn't meant to be a punishment but a necessary growth habit. When you give up food, you need strength, and you won't find it on your own. This is when you lean into Him, and your faith and trust grow deeper. You hear Him more clearly and experience a deeper love when you are sacrificing something your flesh cries out for.
- Discover God's Beauty: God's beauty is all around us. Whether you live by the ocean or lake, or if you're by the mountains or can see the sun in the morning or the moon at night, His beauty surrounds us everywhere on earth. When you can find beauty in the little things, your view of life changes, but most importantly, your view of Him changes.
- Obey: Listen to God! We all have that small voice telling us what's right and wrong. Some call it a conscience, some call it a mini good and evil on the shoulders and some call it intuition, but it's the Holy Spirit. That is God speaking directly to you. When you obey God, He not only rewards you, but He leads you to the right path. Let's be real; we have no time for games.
- Spend Time in Community: Life on this journey can be a bit lonely when you're the only one traveling in your friend group. This is why church is so important. Do not isolate yourself; this is what the enemy wants: you, alone with your thoughts. You must surround yourself with like-minded girls to keep thriving and surviving. Get a girl gang!
- Listen to Sermons: Whether you listen to a sermon, watch one on YouTube or attend a church, sermons are a crucial part of your walk. Pastors are speakers anointed by God to deliver messages just for you. These messages are very important to growing your faith.
- Thank Him: Thank God for everything! Thank him for things great and small, for waking you and providing your next meal to curing a disease. When you develop an attitude of gratitude, your life is not only filled with joy, but also you find joy in Him.
- Invite the Holy Spirit: God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit are known as the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is the God who is here on earth with us now in our daily life. In order to have Him, you must ask Him to reveal His Holy Spirit to you. We need His power daily to help us on this journey.
- Exercise Your Faith: We all know that faith without works is dead. But what's faith? Believing without seeing. You must believe there's a God out there, going before every battle you have. You must trust that God loves you and will protect you no matter what.
- Read: As with any other subject you want to master, you must read up on the topic. There is a lot of great literature out there, with amazing testimonies and input from women who were once where you are now.
- Control Your Tongue: This includes but isn't limited to cursing and gossip. You have power in your tongue, and you must learn to control it. Think back to a time where you said, "Today isn't going to be a good day," and it ended up being horrible? Well, guess what? You spoke that into existence. Be careful what you allow to come out of your mouth.
- Forgive: Forgiveness is an extremely hard thing to do, especially when the other person doesn't deserve it. But I want to let you in on a secret: Forgiving isn't for them, it's for you. You won't heal if you have hatred in your heart. It's hard to love and grow with God if you can't forgive. Also, God won't forgive you if you don't forgive others. We need God's forgiveness daily.
- Love: God is love. In order to experience God in His fullness, you must love. Love long and love hard. You have to love God, love yourself and love others, no matter what. In fact, He summarized His Ten Commandments into this one command.
- Find accountability: As I've mentioned before, you're on a journey and community is important. It's also important to have a mentor or advisor. You'll need someone who can help guide and instruct you. Because you are human, you'll make mistakes, and you'll need someone to help encourage you and keep you on the right track.
- Read Children's Bibles and Resources: This may seem silly, but go with it. When learning, we start with the basics. Remember "See Spot run?" When things are simplified and broken down, they're easier to comprehend. Your kids will bring home lots of literature from church. Take time to read some of it. It will remind you of the basic truths of your faith. The Bible can be intimidating, and I have found that reading a children's or youth Bible helps tremendously.
- Give Back/Serve: Being selfless and helping others by giving back is a surefire way to help you grow closer to God. It allows you to do God's work and the joy you receive is unexplainable. But remember find something you love. You don't want to give your time in hopes of something in return because it's the quickest way to get burned out. Give from your heart, whether giving finances or time.
Markeisha Tonoi Similton is the founder of Authentic Culture, a digital girl gang helping modern women to discover themselves by first learning their identity in Christ, then their God-given purpose and finally, authenticity. Connect with Markeisha and Authentic culture on Instagram, instagram.com/AuthenticCultureCo and at the Facebook group.
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