A lilac bouquet starts with a cutting planted in good soil that must be tended, watered and pruned. The process God uses for shaping your life is similar.

The Design Process

A lilac bouquet starts with a cutting planted in good soil that must be tended, watered and pruned. When the shrub is mature, it blooms and offers a bounty of flowers—fragrant, graceful stems that symbolize love. The process God uses for shaping your life is similar. The practical tools and methods here will help you blossom as a Christian.

Pray: God knows us intimately, and prayer is about us knowing God. We share our thoughts and desires. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing” and in Philippians 4:6 to not be anxious but “in everything, by prayer and petition.” Prayer is the weapon to use when fighting spiritual battles (Ephesians 6:18). Be prepared; spend time throughout the day with the Lord.

Fast: There are over 70 references in the Bible to fasting, yet it is often misunderstood. Spend time studying the discipline of fasting and then prayerfully consider implementing it into your spiritual walk. Check with your doctor first.

Study Your Bible: Scripture changes us. Study. Ask questions. Draw diagrams or mind maps. Look up new words. “For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart” Hebrews 4:12 AMP.

Clean Up Your Diet: Food is heavily processed. Nutrients are low. Obesity contributed to more than 39.2 million lost workdays and 239 million restricted workdays in a single year in the U.S. Why does this matter? A study shows obese workers are twice as likely to miss work as thinner coworkers. As a Christian laborer, obesity could impact your abilities and may even shorten your life span. If you need help, ask a dietitian and your pastor for wise counsel. Your body is a temple. Don’t “build” an addition.

Give/Volunteer: Research shows that benefits for volunteers include increased happiness, lower stress, better health and better sleep. Check these and other organizations: christianvolunteering.org and wycliffeassociates.org

Sleep: Rest is a gift our bodies need. Lack of sleep impacts us in negative ways, including causing accidents, weight gain, health issues, depression and even lower sex drives. See Psalm 127:2.

Unplug: Devices can be demanding—constantly diverting attention from the immediate and calling for a reaction—even if it’s just a decision to ignore an email. Turn off the electronics. Start with a half hour and work up to a full day. 

Single-Task: Research suggests multitasking can lower productivity. Rushing? Why? How are you using the extra time you get from hurrying? Quantity time is often the best quality time—especially when it comes to relationships.  

Anoint with Oil: Anoint your head, hands and feet. Dedicate your thoughts and deeds to God. Find anointing oil on the Internet. Isaiah 10:27 promises, “the yoke [of the evil one] will be destroyed because of the anointing oil” NKJV. 

Memorize Verses: Read Psalm 1. Memorize one verse a month, then two. If you fail, try again.

Forgive: Free yourself from bondage. If you are unforgiving, you won’t grow close to God—ask Him for help in forgiving those you find impossible to forgive. If the person has passed, write down your grievance and confess it to God, then burn the paper. 

Use Kind Words: Every word has power. Say kind words to yourself and others.

Grow a Plant: Rediscover nature. Grow a garden or start with one potted plant. If a plant dies, try growing another. 

Clear the Clutter: Got stuff you do not use? Harness the joy of giving and simplicity by selling, tossing or donating.

Confront Your Finances: Money stress? Take a snapshot of your current income, expenses and debt. Create a budget. Get help with budgeting at crownmoneymap.org