Discover the benefits of reviewing what you learn from God in your Quiet Time, devotions, or Bible study. Are you ready to maximize spiritual growth and start fresh this year with this powerful learning and journaling tool? Whether you journal with words, Bible journal with art, or keep study notes, this tool will ignite spiritual growth.
Have you considered the value of clarity in what God has been teaching you? When you are refreshed and mentally focused, we can fully enter into the new things God will do in your life.
A Spiritual Fresh Start to the Year
There’s something cathartic about January, this first month of the new year. Think about the reasons we make resolutions for new growth and clean out closets this time of year.
If our physical lives need to set goals and clear the clutter, how much more to we need to mentally and spiritually prepare our hearts for the days to come? One of the ways I transition from one year to the next is to review the lessons learned and the truths I’ve embraced.
I usually end the year in such a frazzle, that it takes me a few weeks to dig myself out of the physical and mental busyness that seems to explode in my home during December. You too?
For me, this past year was a milestone year–exciting and extremely busy, filled with blessings I am deeply grateful for. At the end of the year I felt like I was sprinting to the finish line trying to cram too much into the end the year. I was mentally and spiritual depleted.
The last thing I wanted to do was think about dragging all my unfinished tasks into a new year, feeling behind before it even began. Maybe you have felt that way too.
I needed time to refocus and recharge. Reviewing what I learned from God gave my soul time to catch up with my life. It gave me fresh faith to start this year with a fresh perspective.
Time to Refocus and Refresh Your Faith
To be honest, this girl had to take a step back for some rest and a deep dive with God. I wrote myself a permission slip to dial back the crazy and enter this new year slowly.
I needed rest for the body, but even more important, rest for my soul. There is such a thing a sustainability–our bodies will let us know when we’ve over-reached our capacity. (Our families will too. . . )
I needed time for my soul to catch up with my busy and time to prepare my heart what’s next.
I call it a Soul Sabbath for my year and all I need is time, my Bible, and my journal from the past year.
This year, I was able to set aside a day to give my attention to God for an extended time. (Yep, I wrote myself a permission slip to do that too. I even turned off the phone.)
Other years, I’ve spread it over several days for 30-60 minutes a day. Sometimes I do this is December, sometimes I review in January. I also review whenever I finish a Bible study or finish a journal/notebook.
Do what works for you, however you can carve time to refresh and refocus with God at the end or the beginning of the year. Just do it!
Try This: Schedule time to review with God. Write a permission slip for your soul. What will work best for you? A long block of time or reviewing during your normal devotional time?
What Has God Taught You?
Journaling is one the ways I record and process what God is teaching me each day. It is a way to give God my attention and process what the Holy Spirit is teaching me as I read the Bible. According to a recent article from Lifeway on trends in women’s ministry, there is a renewed interest in reading the Bible and journaling.
The holy habit of reviewing the lessons God has taught me in the past year refreshes my spirit as I remember the many ways God has been faithful. Listening to God through reflective Bible reading helps us to grow closer to God. I prayerfully look back over my journal, looking for the big picture and main themes of what I’ve been learning as I read and meditate on the Bible throughout the year.
We all need time to recognize and celebrate the big picture of what God has taught. My thirsty soul needs time to soak up the goodness of God and understand a clearer vision of His heart for my next steps.
What we learn today prepares us for the road ahead. It is also a time to simply rest as I lay aside all the doing and scurrying, my heart ready to be filled anew with the refreshing presence of the Holy Spirit.
Seeking clarity as I review my journal, I watch for concepts and verses that are repeated through the year as I reflect on the big wins and difficult challenges. Try a simple prayer to get started: “Lord, show me the most important things You want me to remember.”
Try This: Write a topic at the top of each entry in your journal. This way you can quickly track trends in concepts.
Questions to Consider When Reviewing Your Journal
As you pray, ask God these questions. Reflect as you think through the questions.
- What verses came up several times in my journal?
- What topics are repeated?
- How did God speak to my challenges through reading His word this year?
- What was the over-all tone of the year spiritually? Was is it a season of struggling, strengthening, preparing, serving, or flourishing?
- Am I more or less grateful than last year?
- What seems to be the most important things God has taught me this year?
- How can I apply these lessons in the coming months?
On the pages of my journal, I begin to see the broad strokes of what God has been teaching me in the day to day. I’ve developed more helpful strategies for my devotional time. If you’d like to learn more about how I do this, leave a comment at the end of this post.
Review is a Way to Till the Good Soil of Your Heart
“And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 2And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”Matthew 13:22-23 NASB
The only way to prevent God’s word from getting crowded out in the thorns of our busyness, the thistles of our cares, and the weeds of our wayward hearts is to give time, attention, and intention to prepare our souls to fully receive God’s word (seeds).
There is great value of doing this through regularly reading and studying God’s word. Recording what we learn empowers us to remember and review, which fosters faithfulness and growth. Seeking to be faithful with our moments and days is part of creating a lifetime of holy moments.
Giving God our time and attention is a vital way of tilling the soil of our hearts for Him to multiply the fruit of His word in our lives. Using your journal to review what you have learned is powerful, whether it is at the end of the week, month, or year–or even the end of a Bible study.
This takes time. I’ll be honest. But it is time that is so very worth it!
Reviewing what God has taught me has become one of my favorite ways to spend time with God. It also is a powerful maximizer for spiritual growth.
I’ve also seen how this practice has accelerated spiritual growth and nourished my writing and speaking.
I realize this isn’t a popular concept in the frantic pace of today’s world where busy is the new holy and productivity is often confused with maturity. When we give God our time, attention, and obedience, He does great things in and through us. It begins with preparing your heart and giving God your attention.
10 Benefits of Reviewing What We Learn from God
Greater clarity and deeper time with God will give direction and ignite growth. When we are aware of what God is teaching us, we can join Him in the moment by making intentional choices to apply what we’ve learned.
- PRAYER AND MEDITATION: Meditation and prayer allow God reveal what is most important.
- CLARITY AND DIRECTION: We gain clarity and direction when we look for repeated concepts and the big picture of what God has taught over time.
- GROWTH: Rather than be forgotten, lessons learned turn into wisdom with time to mature through application.
- FAITH: Fear turns the corner to faith and unbelief bows to truth when we embrace the truth God teaches.
- REST: Weariness finds rest when we spend time with God. Meditating on what God has taught us refreshes our soul and builds our faith.
- PERSPECTIVE SHIFT: The Holy Spirit can reveal where our perspective needs to shift from self to God. Truth reveals the motivations of our hearts.
- STRENGTH: Struggles transform into strength when we trust God is working in our lives. Attending to what we learn reminds us God is with us in our challenges.
- GRATITUDE: Remembering what God has done ignites gratitude in our hearts.
- JOY: Take time to celebrate what God has taught you–the lessons learned and the victories won.
- FRESH GOALS: Yesterday’s lessons become today’s goals to multiply the value of what we have learned.
Download this list, print, and tuck into your Bible to remind you of the many great reasons to take time to review the things God speaks to you through His Word. Maximize spiritual growth and deepen your relationship with God when you capture the most important things God teaches you over a period of time.
Click here to download a printable version of this infographic.
Application of God’s wisdom is where transformation and growth happens as spiritual meets the practical in our lives. ““He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much. . .” (Luke 16:10). Though the context of this verse refers to money, the principle also applies to the value of what God teaches us in the moments and days of each year.
Spiritual preparation paves the way for intentions evolve into habits. Knowing + Doing = Blessing!
Maximize spiritual growth when God-lessons become spiritual goals. Being faithful to grow in what God is teaching will prepare you to receive God’s fresh blessings in the days to come.
How do you apply what God is teaching you?
More Posts to Deepen Your Time in God’s Word
- How to Stay Focused in Prayer*
- Discover Six Important Truths About Listening to Go*
- Six Short Devotions to Help You Listen to Jesus
- 5 Simple Ways Silence Can Deepen Your Faith
- 15 Simple Ways to Overcome Distraction to Focus Your Attention on God
*An all-time top 10 post.
A Free Resource to Go Deeper with God
Grab your Spiritual Growth Pack of tip sheets. This power pack includes tips, prayers, and truths to help you thrive in your relationship with God.
It sounds like we have very similar ways to end/start a year! I keep a journal and I can’t imagine the end of the year without reviewing and closing out the journal and then starting the new one. I think it’s my favorite time of year! It’s such a great time of remembering all God has done and what I’m giving to Him in the new year. Lovely affirming and inspiring post!
I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. It is amazing to look back over the year and get the big view of what God has taught in the day-to-day! Many blessings for a wonderful 2019! Thanks for visiting today, Amy!
Review is often the step I don’t take, so thanks for this reminder, Ginger. I know it is an important part of our growth!
Hi Lisa! So glad you could join in the conversation. It does take time, but when you see what God reveals through reviewing, it quickly becomes something to look forward to!
I love this reminder to take time to review – I think a lot about it but I rarely do it!! I will change that this year. I also love the tip to write words, themes or topics at the top of your journal or Bible study to look for what God is repeating and drawing attention to!
That one simple thing makes a big difference. I love the way you post what you are grateful for each day on FB. So often, what you are learning is part of your post. You’re strategy is also another way of hanging on to what God teaches us–sharing it with others!
It’s really helpful for me to have come across articles like this. As a devoted Christian, I always find peace and energy from what I read, which is why I am currently looking for motivational Christian blogs that can help me uplift my day-to-day mood. It’s great that you mentioned in your piece that we gain clarity and direction when we look for concepts of what has God taught over time. I think reviewing what I have learned at the church before, is a nice way of connecting with Him.
Yes, I agree completely, Victoria! Whether it is a Bible study, a devotional, a book, our Quiet Time, or sermons, the benefit of reviewing impactful content is really powerful I love how you’ve noticed that it also helps you feel more connected with God. Blessings to you today!
Yes, I completely agree, Victoria! I keep my sermon notes in my journal so that when I review I can see that path of God’s words in my life. It’s helpful to look back and see the big picture of how God uses regular time in his word and other sources of spiritual growth together. Blessings to you!
What a welcome treat this blog post was. Ever since I was a little girl I have been a journaler, and i savored New Year’s as a time to reflect on the previous year and anticipate the next one. However, as a mother and host of holiday gatherings, I have let that priority take a backseat in my adult years. Your post gives me just the motivation to get back into that habit. And I love your practical advice and specifics to guide our journaling. I also really love the idea of writing myself a permission slip! As a task oriented person, it is hard for me to carve out time for myself. As my nest empties after the holidays, now I am looking forward to some solitude to spend some time exploring what God did in my life in the past year and anticipating what the coming year will hold and entrusting it to Him. Thank you for this instructional and motivational message! Happy New Year!
Thank you, Catherine! I’m deeply glad this post has inspired you to get back to journaling, a practice you have enjoyed through the years. I experience the same challenges with time and busyness-especially over the holidays. As you spend time with God this month, I pray you will have a renewed sense of Him shaping your year as well as clarity on lessons learned in 2022. Enjoy the process!