The Ultimate War Room Game Changer (and What You Need to Do to Make it Work)

Last Friday I wrote about the 4 reasons why having a war room isn’t going to change your life. For weeks and weeks after creating my special prayer closet, I didn’t make time to spend with God. This week, I’m going to tell you what has been my game changer. Are you ready for this?

2-War Room Game Changer

It’s quite simple really: I decided I had to change my sleep schedule.

Instead of going to bed late night after night, I set my bed time for 9-9:30 and my wake up time for 5-5:30. This means no more surfing the internet aimlessly ’til 11, falling asleep on the phone, or working on projects ’til my brain hurts and I can hardly keep my eyes open. Instead, I try to schedule my tasks so that I’m in bed at a reasonable hour so I can wake up and have those early morning moments with God.

Now, I can’t lie to you–this is a process. There are days where this works better than others. Sometimes I simply can’t get to sleep that early and wake up that early. Late nights are not only a hard habit to break sometimes they’re unavoidable. Like I mentioned in the last post, new habits are hard to stick to and prayer requires trade-off BUT it’s a process I’ve committed to because I believe in the power of early mornings.

Saying no to late nights and yes to early mornings is like setting a standing appointment with the Lord to meet Him at a time when fewer things can distract me. No text messages, no knocks on my door, no messages needing an immediate answer. I can enjoy the peace in my closet and focus on God-it’s a beautiful thing and it’s worth waking up for!

The Bible has a lot to say about seeking the Lord in the morning. Here are a few verses:

“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Psalm 5:3 KJV

“Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.” KJV

“My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations. For they mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds. Be thou exalted O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.” Psalms 57:7-11 KJV

Early in the morning

Even though I’m most definitely a chronic snoozer and like burrowing under the covers ’til the last possible second, I’ve found that waking up early and tackling my top priorities first thing in the morning, makes me feel much better throughout the rest of the day.

So how exactly does one bounce out of those comfy sheets and into the prayer closet? Here are 4 tips to help you get started and make it work:

  1. DON’T HIT SNOOZE. This is the absolute hardest for me. It’s so incredibly habitual. DON’T DO IT. It’s best to have your clock or phone on the other side of the room so you have to get up and turn it off. Whatever you have to do, get yourself out of the bed before your body has a chance to think.
  2. MAKE YOUR BED. It’s easier to stay up when you’ve made your bed. Something clicks in my brain, telling me that sleepy-time is over and the day has begun. If making your bed isn’t a habit, try it and see what happens!
  3. HYDRATE. Seriously. It’s time to wake up physically and mentally. Your body hasn’t had water in several hours and it needs to be hydrated. Don’t shock yourself with cold water, room temp is good or warmed up with some lemon will do you even better!
  4. PREP FOR PRAYER. Don’t go directly from bed to closet. Trust me on this one. If I go straight into prayer upon rising, I fall asleep before getting very far. I usually start out with listening to some worshipful music and reading the Bible. The key is to wake up your brain while preparing yourself for prayer. But don’t check email or social media, don’t catch up on the news, don’t start playing your favorite podcast or reviewing project deadlines. All that can wait. It’s time to focus. This is also a good time to review any prayer requests you may have, either for yourself or someone else.

These are really simple steps but they help. But remember–it’s a process. You’re not going to be good at this right away and that’s okay–all good things take time. Pray about it! Be open about your struggles with the Lord. Ask Him to give you the strength to rise early and stay awake. And on the days that don’t go so well, give yourself some grace. Don’t bully yourself, God certainly won’t. You’re asking Him to change your heart in drawing you into a stronger prayer life, He’ll give you what you need to make the appointments with Him.

Let me just add that there isn’t a right time or a wrong time to pray. Your prayer time might be in the evening when everyone’s asleep for the night or maybe sometime in the middle of the day when everyone else is occupied for an hour and that’s totally fine. I personally think that giving God the first part of the day is preferable and, while it does take plenty of adjustment, it’s a worthy habit to develop!


Check out the blog every Friday morning for the next 4 weeks to read each new post in this series and let me know your thoughts in the comments

Stay blessed!

#quiettimefriday | #whereifight

4 Reasons Why Having a War Room Won’t Change Your Life (and the One Reason it Absolutely Will)

The day after I saw the movie War Room (Amazon) earlier this year, I walked into my tiny walk-in closet and made the decision that something had to change.  For too long, I had pussy-footed around my prayer life and decided that Miss Clara had the right idea and I needed my own war room to fight my battles. So I took out my dresser, vacuumed the floor, brought in a rug and a few special pieces from my bedroom and voila! I was ready to pray.

I was off to a great start. I bought a copy of The Battle Plan for Prayer (Amazon), I started writing Bible verses on sheets of paper in colored markers and taping them on my wall. I had my Prayer and Bible Study Journal. I was ready to experience a new season of powerful prayer.

Less than a week later, I was back to my frenetic busyness, not willing to carve out the time to kneel in my special place. Week after week, I’d kick myself for failing to take time out and really, intentionally seeking the Lord in prayer. And week after week I’d resolve to to better come Monday morning. It wasn’t a matter of not having time, it was a matter of not making time. All it would take was waking up 20 minutes earlier, spending less time on the phone, watching fewer YouTube videos, or reading fewer pages in the book I’m working on.

I was inconsistent in feeding myself spiritually. My life was too caught up in other things. My spiritual taste buds were craving worldly things. My spiritual antennae were picking up the channels I had turned to and settled on. And so it went, day after day, getting clothes out of my closet and feeling guilty that I hadn’t stopped to sit at the feet of Jesus in the special place I’d made for us. I’d made my beautiful war room but that didn’t change my prayer life. The battle was still going strong inside me.

Let me tell you why having a war room won’t change your life.

1-4 Reasons Why Having a War Room Won't Change Your Life

  1. IT’S EASY TO IGNORE.  I don’t know if you’ve found this to be true but I can say from personal experience that it’s easy to ignore my war room. Granted, it is in my closet which I’m in and out of everyday. And that’s part of the problem–it’s in my mundane, routine closet space, thus making it easy to pass through without much thought. Its existence tugs at my heart to be sure but it’s not compelling enough for me to stay and spend time with God. I breeze in and breeze out with a pair of jeans or a blouse and on to my next task, quickly forgetting that it’s been days since I’ve done much less than dig for socks and mentally put together outfits for the weekend.
  2. NEW HABITS ARE HARD TO STICK TO. I’ve said it more than a couple times here on the blog–I’m a chronic snoozer and, dear God help me, I’d much rather get extra sleep than drag myself out of bed and down to my knees in prayer. Once I’m praying I’m fine and I wonder why I’m such an idiot to keep skipping days but it’s that short trek to my closet that gets me more often than I’d like to admit. The problem is, everyday that I don’t get up brings me farther and farther away from the purpose behind having a war room in the first place–spending time with God and equipping myself for daily battles.
  3. VULNERABILITY IS UNNERVING. Prayer requires us to come before God with honesty and transparency. Have you ever tried to pray about something while simultaneously trying to keep Him from uncovering something you’d rather have kept in the dark? It doesn’t make for a fulfilling prayer time. Coming into your war room with all that going on inside is like going out to a special candle light dinner with your significant other and shooting down all his attempts at meaningful conversation. You both leave the restaurant feeling awkward and estranged.
  4. PRAYER REQUIRES TRADE-OFF. Sleep isn’t the only thing that can keep us from establishing a prayer life. New habits are difficult to acquire because it often requires a trade-off. Less time on the phone, fewer TV shows, less social media, fewer pages in a book, less going out. Often it means saying no to a few things in order to say yes to one very important thing. But trade-offs are hard because it means reprioritizing. We don’t like giving up the things we like. Nevertheless, a war room life demands change. But simply having one, won’t create that change.

Where I Fight QUOTE 1There is only one reason that having a war room will change your life:

Allowing God to change your heart and train you to become a prayer warrior.

The reasons I listed above are simply Satan’s ploys to derail us from what we’re truly seeking–time with God so we may fight the battles that face us daily and give glory to Him. Having a nice space to meet with God is a step in the right direction but you must take the next step and allow Him to make the heart change that will bring you back to that place again and again. It’s not about having a closet to pray in, it’s about carving out that time to pray on a consistent basis. It’s pointless to create a beautiful space if you don’t develop the habit to come back every day. I told myself this one day while staring defeatedly at my own prayer closet.

This 6-part blog series is many months in the making. It’s the series about finding the time, creating the space, and enjoying the joy and peace of giving God set-apart moments, in His presence, in the calm. And I didn’t write it because I’ve figured it all out and it comes easy. I wrote this series because I’m still learning and God is still working patiently with me to make change in my heart. This is a process and a 6 simple blog posts are just the snapshots of the beginning of a life-long journey.

Are you ready to make some changes in your prayer life? I’m not going to lie to you and tell you it’s easy. We’re talking the patience of the saints here (Revelation 14:12). It takes commitment and a unrelenting desire to draw closer to the Father. But, oh, is it worth it!

I so cannot wait to share my heart and some of the ideas I’ve curated from other great posts and videos, as well as a few of my own ideas! Check out the blog every Friday morning for the next 5 weeks to read each new post and let me know your thoughts in the comments 🙂

Stay blessed!

#quiettimefriday | #whereifight

My 5 Simple Rules for the Best Morning Ever

It’s the first Monday of 2016. How’s it going so far? Did you start off on the right foot or get up on the wrong side of the bed? Don’t worry if you’re still adjusting to your after-holidays-back-to-reality routine. It’s still a new year and you still have plenty of time to take charge of your morning.

Right now, I’m working on my 2016 early to bed, early to rise goal but last year, I locked down a routine that, when followed, makes for my best mornings. It’s nothing special or new but it’s simple and it works. As you settle into this brand new year, make sure you’ve got your morning routine locked down. It may take some practice to make it habitual but it’s totally worth the work! Need a place to start? I got you. Ready? Here are My 5 Simple Rules for the Best Morning Ever.     

the mornings hours are so important and worth the extra investment. Kick your day into gear with these 5 simple rules and have the best mornings ever!

1. Don’t Hit Snooze

This is my WORST morning vice–I ALWAYS hit the snooze button! It’s the most difficult habit to kick! When your alarm goes off in the morning, don’t think–just get out of bed. On a good morning, my alarm sounds, I get out of bed and make a beeline for the bathroom before I can think about how comfy and warm it is under the covers and I need just 5 more minutes of sleep! Don’t Hit Snooze people. Go to bed early, and get up and get going when the alarm goes off.  

2. Water Your Mind and Body

Once I’m up and sweeping up the cobwebs in my head, I grab a bottle of water and start hydrating my body. Water is purifying, renewing, and invigorating. If weight loss is a goal for you, water first thing in the A.M. will help aid that process. Don’t shock your system with cold water, stick with room temp or even better, warm water with lemon 🙂 The vitamin C in the added citrus will give an immune system boost and promote healthy glowing skin too!

3. Pray & Read

Now you’re up, your mind and body have been hydrated and refreshed and now it’s time to fuel up spiritually. Sitting at the feet of Jesus for some time in prayer and in the Word is THE best thing you can do for your morning. Now, it’s important to note that reading the Bible and studying the Bible are two different things. You may only have time for some prayer and reading in the morning and then Bible study later on in the day. Spiritual growth and maturity doesn’t happen just by reading some passages of scripture or a few pages of a devotional book. Maturity in Christ happens when we study His word. But that’s another post. Whatever you choose to do for your morning routine, do set aside some time for prayer and the Word. Just as water refreshes your mind and body, the Words of God will refresh your heart and soul. 

4. Get Moving

I love working out in the morning! Working out in the evening is a great way to decompress and destress but morning exercise is the best way for me to fully wake up and get going. If you think fitness isn’t your, then experiment. Just because your friends are into something doesn’t mean you have to be too. Try new things and find something that you enjoy. The more you like your work out, the more you’ll engage consistently.  

I actually find it easier on myself to exercise before my quiet time. I’m less likely to fall asleep while reading and praying cause my mind is fully awake after working out. However, it is also easier to get distracted. I make sure that if I work out before I read my Bible, I don’t check my email, I stay off most social media (unless I’m posting), and I keep my music or audiobooks spiritual and inspirational. That way, by the time I sit down with Jesus, my brain’s not already cluttered with worldly things. 

5. Feed Your Mind and Body

Okay, by this time I’m super hungry. I haven’t eaten yet cause I want to give the water I’ve been drinking time do it’s work in my body. I find that when I follow this kind of schedule, by the time I’m ready to eat, I’m less likely to eat junk. Your body needs a good, solid breakfast to continue the day on the right track you started on. Your mind and body will function only as good as you feed it. Make sure your giving yourself proper nutrients to help your body recover from your exercise as well as aid your mind in tackling the challenges of the day. 


Morning routines are challenging because life is unpredictable often gets in the way. But even so, A.M. routines are essential to keeping life simple & highly productive. Without a routine, you are more likely to get distracted and derailed and the less productive. It may take some painful, sleepy practice. It may mean altering your evening schedule so you can get some extra sleep. It may mean sacrifice. But the mornings hours are so important and worth the extra investment. Kick your day into gear with these 5 simple rules and have the best mornings ever!

Happy Monday!

2016 Operation Deepen Faith

Hosted by Becky @ Operation Actually Read the Bible

This is probably my favorite reading challenge. Not because I’ve been particularly successful at completing it, but I LOVE the concept. This is my 3rd year and I plan on getting a lot accomplished in 2016. I’m really excited cause she’s added some new stuff this year :))

For full details, check out the original post.

Here are the 7 parts in this challenge:

  1. Wonderful Words of Life. Goal: Read the Bible.
  2. Sweet Hour of Prayer. Goal: Pray daily.
  3. How Firm A Foundation. Goal: STUDY (meditate too!) one book of the Bible throughout the year.
  4. Deep and Wide. Goal: read multiple books of the bible in multiple translations.
  5. Meditate or Memorize. Goal: Choose about a verse a week–or a verse every other week–to reflect and meditate on.
  6. Choose a Research Project.
  7. Christian Nonfiction.

Optional Choices:

  1. A. READ THE ALPHABET.
  2. B. BINGO.
  3. C. We Believe.

I’ve chosen the following categories:

  • Wonderful Words of Life.
  • Sweet Hour of Prayer.
  • How Firm A Foundation.
  • Meditate or Memorize.
  • Choose a Research Project.
  • Christian Nonfiction.

Progress:

 

1st Quarter

2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

4th Quarter

How to Use Multiple Planners | December Boot Camp

CHECK OUT THE EXPANDED, UPDATED VERSION OF THIS POST HERE 🙂

(This post contains affiliate links)

I’ve recently made a discovery: one planner isn’t going to cut it for me. Now, I know that men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti (it’s a book by Bill and Pam Ferrell, check it out 😉) but there’s something about me that is very un-spaghetti like. Some things just need to be compartmentalized in order for me to function. Which is why one planner isn’t going to work.

After coming to terms with this fact, (I literally thought there was something wrong with me when I couldn’t seem to function with my one DayTimer) I finally decided to join the land of multiple planner planning.

And then it happened.

Corie, The Reset Girl, did a scope on her master planner list in her main planner. You can watch the replay on katch.me/therestgirl. My mind was blown and something inside my noggin clicked and I knew I’d found what I’d been looking for. So over the past few days, I’ve been developing a master planning system of my own.

Here’s how it works:

I’ve recently made a discovery: one planner isn’t going to cut it for me. Now, I know that men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti but there’s something about me that is very un-spaghetti like. Some things just need to be compartmentalized in order for me to function. I finally decided to join the land of multiple planner planning.

 

1. Determine how much time you have to invest in planning.

Be honest about your time. You may want to have time for multiple planners and notebooks but your reality doesn’t match up. Maybe you can count on a whole Sunday afternoon or just a few minutes during your lunch break. An awareness of your time will keep you from setting yourself up for failure and unnecessary disappointment.

2. List all your planning needs.

This includes all the areas of life that requires you to make lists, schedules, and notes. Examples include:

  1. Daily planner
  2. Home management
  3. Work
  4. Prayer/Bible Study
  5. School
  6. Home business
  7. Food Journal
  8. Exercise tracker
  9. Homeschooling
  10. Church
  11. Goal tracker
  12. Brain dump
  13. Family schedules
  14. Reading
  15. Finances
  16. Recipes
  17. Projects
3. Decide whether or not you can group your needs together.

For example, if you’re keeping a home management binder, would that include your recipes and finances? Or do you want your recipes in a separate binder? Decide how far you want to compartmentalize everything and make sure that everything flows and functions well.

4. Determine what planning and note taking methods work best for you.

Going for something simple or do you like all the frills and furbelows? Do you need a planner with monthly and weekly spreads? Binders? Composition notebook? Spiral bound? Disc-bound? Erin Condren? Filofax? DayTimer? Midori Traveler’s Notebook? Kikki K? MoleskineFranklin Covey? Happy Planner? Bullet Journaling? The possibilities are endless! And It doesn’t have to cost a whole ton of money. If you have the desire and the funds to splurge, have at it! But there are a myriad of inexpensive options everywhere. If you really want to get creative, hop on Pinterest and YouTube and see what other planner girls are making and using!  

5. Match method with need.

Maybe you keep track of health and fitness in a spiral bound notebook. Better make it a 3-subject because you’ve got some detailed notes to keep about health issues, routines, and supplements. Maybe you’ve got an old Franklin Covey binder lying around somewhere and you could use that to keep track of your home business.

Consider the functionality of the method you use. Maybe a bulky planner won’t fit in your backpack so you choose something more compact for keeping track of school assignments. Or you’ve got small kiddos who can get messy so don’t sink your money into an expensive homeschool binder.

6. Choose a dashboard.

This is the planner or notebook from which your planning system will operate. This is the fun part for me and why my mind blew when I saw Cori’s master list.

Now that you know your needs and methods, create a master list to keep track of each one and their functions. I find it best to choose the planner that goes with you everywhere. For me, it’s a 365 Happy Planner.

And here’s what my master list consisted of:

  1. Master Planner | Happy Planner
  2. Personal Notebook | Single Subject Spiralbound Notebook
  3. Prayer/Bible Study Journal | Mini Binder
  4. Writer’s Notebook | Steno pad
  5. The Student Life | 3 Subject Spiralbound Notebook
  6. The Reader’s Notebook | Mini Binder
  7. Health and Fitness | Composition Notebook
  8. Home Management Binder | Binder
  9. Blog/Business | Binder
  10. Church/Ministry | DayTimer
  11. Brain Dump | Fauxdori

Master Planner Key - create a master list to keep track of each of your planners and their functions. I find it best to choose the planner that goes with you everywhere. For me, it’s a 365 Happy Planner. Inspired by The Reset Girl

Whew! I know, it’s a lot!

Of course, I’m not going to be using all of these every single day, but I wanted to have designated spaces to keep track of the various things in my life that are important to me. Like I said in yesterday’s post, this is the way I engage best with tasks and goals. My eye is drawn to color coordination, my brain is alert and excited when pages turn or when ink glides across paper, and my interest and creativity are peaked when I see the row of notebooks and binders ready to be used and filled. It’s nerdy, I’m totally aware, but it works!


As part of my boot camp, I’m going to go through some of my notebooks and planners and show how I use them. Maybe that’ll give you some ideas and inspiration! Stay tuned!

Happy planning!

May To Do List

MAY TO DO LIST

Here so soon, May?

I cannot believe it’s already May!!! That means that I’m almost done with college! Aghhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!! I don’t think my brain even knows how to process that thought. Everything I’ve worked so hard for is coming to an end and it’s crunch time FOR REAL. Which means I shouldn’t try to load the next 4 weeks with a heavy to do list. Here’s what I’ve got on the schedule:

1. Survive Finals – That’s pretty self explanatory. If I can just stay alive with my sanity at least partially intact for the next 4 weeks I will do well!

2. Apply for Graduation  – Also self explanatory. I’m finishing too late to have applied for spring graduation so the whole diploma loveliness won’t happen till the fall and I need to apply for all of that. But no sweat, I’ll just be happy to be done!

3. Read 3 Books – I’m pretty sure I can manage this even with my study load. I’m a booknerd, yeah? We find ways.

4. Get new photos taken – I need new profile, social media shots for this site. What I’ve got up now is just a screenshot from a video project I was working on and it’s got to go. 

5. 31 Days of Prayer – This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. May is going to be intensely tough and busy – all the more reason to be intentional about my prayer life like I’ve never been before. And as I open up into this new phase of my life, I need God’s wisdom and direction and the grounding of the Word. Sooooooo, to kind of help me out, I bought this book:

31 Days of Prayer for the dreamer and doer

I’ve had my eye on it for a bit and decided to give it a go this month. For more information on this book, check out The Well Studio.

Recurring Goals (I have to keep up with these):

  1. Work out daily, M-F
  2. Blog M-W-F
  3. Practice piano for at least 30 minutes a day

Spring is in full swing! What do you have on your to do list this month?