New Year- Trusting the Journey

Part 3

You may not need a concrete, written out plan for working on your spiritual goals.  We all have different needs in our spiritual walk and that discernment comes only from God. Prayerfully consider seeking out any spiritual practices that might bring blessing to your life.

Some suggestions might include:

  • Praying in color, prayer cards for others

  • Bible journaling- Sermon Notes

  • Solitude and silence in God’s beautiful world

  • Coloring and praying Scripture in your Bible

  • Creating an area for your time with the Lord-for listening

  • Keeping a gratitude journal

  • Making a prayers-for-my children calendar flip chart

  • Prayer walking.

Be active in your spiritual journey.  Don’t be afraid to evaluate. Admit shortcomings and feel and accept God’s grace when you miss the mark. Forgive yourself for failings. Try something new in your spiritual practices this year and see how God blesses you.

So what might a Spiritual IEP may look like?
I’m still in edit and revise mode, but I will share with you what I’ve written so far. I wrestled with the idea of writing parts of an in-depth draft like I would for one of my students with special needs, or creating  a simple chart with the main points. There is something you miss when you just do the chart. The history of my spiritual walk, my current strengths and weaknesses, and answering the question of how does this area of need in my spiritual life affect my overall spiritual growth. The more lengthy process really helps me to focus on what should my spiritual growth goals be based off of my areas of weakness. When developing a goal we want it to be SMART (specific, manageable, attainable, relevant and timely). Goal writing is an area where I really spend a considerable amount of time in the development of an IEP. If the goal is not SMART then we are wasting our time. We often find ourselves creating goals for ourselves in various areas of our lives, (health, education, careers, financial, etc…)  but I feel like we rarely put our spiritual goals on paper or spend the time to make them SMART.

We can identify that we need to improve in our spiritual walk, but how often do we closely examine the why it’s not working? Are their various tools and accommodations that could assist me in these spiritual growth weaknesses?  Do the various resources match my learning style? Do I take time to make these goals concrete and set review dates? Have I gathered the various accommodations and tools I will need to meet these spiritual growth goals?As I have mentioned before- it starts with an honest conversation with the Lord and an openness with Him to reveal areas where He is leading.  Don’t ignore His voice and take the time and initiative to prioritize your spiritual growth journey.

Draft Spiritual IEP for Sara:

PLOP Page: Present Level of Performance:

Sara is 31 years old and currently a stay at home mom in Springfield,VA. She has been married for 5 years to her highschool sweetheart, Joshua. They have a 3 year old son, 10 month old son and are expecting their third child in June 2019. She was raised in a loving, Christian household with a mom and dad who worked hard to raise three daughters to be like Jesus in all they do.

Based on Sara’s most current self-evaluation and reflection on her weaknesses and strengths of spiritual practices, prayer and daily life examinations;  it’s been determined that Sara could benefit from annual goals in the following areas: prayer, spiritual growth and studying God’s Word.

Sara struggles to prioritize daily windows of  time with Jesus. She has many tools and strategies offered to her to utilize in the areas of prayer and time in the Word, however has had difficulties with picking one Spiritual Practice and focusing on one area. She would benefit from more frequent self-reflection, specific prayers and petitions to God, and a mentor to pray for her and be an accountability partner to check in with how she is doing to help her become more diligent.

Due to Sara’s history of becoming easily distracted, she would benefit from creating a specific area for her time with Jesus. She will then need to assess if that was a workable location for her to focus and turn off the world around her to listen to God’s voice. Sara would also benefit from a prayer journal that is easily accessible and outlined by the month. Her visual learning style would be best supported with the use of colors, shapes and easy to read formats to keep her focused on the practice of prayer and her time spent reading the Bible.

Annual Goal #1- Area of Need:  Prayer

Present Level of Performance:

Strengths:  Sara is strong in the area of constant conversation with God throughout the day.

Needs: Sara would benefit from the use of a monthly visual prayer journal. Sara can use this journal for personal prayers for herself and others. Sara would also benefit from the practice of prayer cards made for others God has put on her heart to pray for.

How does this area of need impact this individuals’ spiritual growth in this specific discipline?

Sara’s lack of consistency in her prayer life, impacts her ability to listen to her Father and discern His voice from her own, others around her, and her environment.  

Annual Goal:  

Sara will demonstrate a more consistent prayer life by using a monthly prayer journal daily and by creating 4 prayer cards per month for others God has placed on her heart.

Short term objective:

Sara will complete a monthly prayer page by the end of each month to help her consistency with spending time with God in prayer.

Short term objective:

By the end of the month, Sara will complete 4 individual prayer cards for those God has placed on her heart.

Annual Goal #2- Area of Need: Reading her Bible

Present Level of Performance:

Strengths:  Sara has a strong desire to read her Bible and learn more about the Lord.

Needs: Sara often becomes distracted while she reads her Bible. Sara would benefit from the use of premade Bible Journaling Margins to help her focus on some specific verses. She can use these margins to color in and reflect on the verses read and by the movement of the colored pencil help her kinesthetic learning style maintain her focus.

How does this area of need impact this individual’s spiritual growth in this specific discipline?

Sara’s lack of consistency in reading her Bible, impacts her ability to learn about Jesus and build her knowledge and relationship with her Heavenly Father. Knowing Him allows her to more easily see His work in the World.

Annual Goal:  

Sara will complete two Bible margin per month in her selected book of the Bible.-Isaiah.

Annual Goal #3- Area of Need: Prioritizing time for Soul-Tending reading for Spiritual growth

Present Level of Performance:

Strengths:  Sara has a love for reading. She is motivated to read material that will help her grow spiritually.

Needs: Sara would benefit from the use of a mentor to read a book with her so she can have scheduled check-ins for both accountability for reading and to discuss what she has read. She would benefit from prioritizing a time in her day or even her week when she will read for certain period of time.

How does this area of need impact this individuals’ spiritual growth in this specific discipline?

Sara’s lack of planning ahead and personal accountability impacts her ability to prioritize her time.

Annual Goal:  

Sara will select a spiritual growth book to read and schedule in reading the book for at least 30 minutes a week.

Short term objective:

Sara will finish reading her spiritual growth book within 6 months of the start date.

Short term objective:

At the beginning of the week, Sara will schedule in her planner when she will complete her 30 minutes of reading. Currently reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.

Here is the IEP in chart format:

Sara Wilson- Springfield, Virginia

Sara Wilson- Springfield, Virginia