Lo Tanner is an Alaska-grown wife (of five years), momma (of three boys), writer, and owner of the blog Mrs. Lo Tanner, a space created to provide encouragement and guidance for women committed to making their relationship with Jesus the foundation of their lives and relationships. She is also the author of Simple & Sweet: Practical Tips for the Women Learning to Study God's Word. When she’s not in “work mode,” Lo likes to make small moments big moments, turn spare time into family time, and find joy in the simple things; like evergreen candles, fuzzy socks, orange juice in a wine cup, and a good book. You can hang out with her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Do you ever struggle with your faith? With trusting God to be who you need Him to be, to come through for you in the way that you need him to, and make good of the tough situation you're facing? Yea? Me too.
I think it's safe to say most of us have had "low faith days." And if you're like me, you don't ever want those days to last. Thankfully, they don't have to. You don't have to stay in a deflated or displaced state of faith. There are choices you can make and habits you can create that will help build, strengthen, and keep your faith, even in the most pressing of circumstances. Let's talk about some of them.
Habit #1 - Nurture Your Relationship With God
To get the best out of your relationship with Jesus, you'll have to take responsibility for nurturing it, just like a strong marriage or great friendship needs to be consistently well nurtured. Often times, knowing there is a God somewhere out there isn't enough to inspire a person's faith. More often than not, it's the encounter with God that initiates our faith and our relationship with Him that strengthens it.
Most times when I'm struggling with my faith it's because for one reason or another (and sometimes without even realizing it) I have put my relationship with God on the backburner. I forget to spend time with Him or neglect doing the things that I know will draw me closer to Him. The longer I sit in that disconnect the more my faith struggles.
Thankfully, the God I know and love is always waiting, willing, and ready to reconnect with me. Knowing that kind of love makes it so much easier to trust God when you're walking through the hills and valleys in your life.
Habit #2 - (Learn to) Study the Bible
The Bible teaches us what we can expect from God. And not just what we can expect from Him, but also who we should trust God to be in our lives. Through the Bible, we are shown the many characteristics of God that we are daily depending on. We learn to recognize Him as our provider after reading about how He provided food for the Israelites while they wandered in the desert for forty years (Exodus 16:11-15). We see Him as our protector after we witness His supernatural protection of Daniel while he was in the lion's den (Daniel chapter 6). He is revealed to us as our healer after hearing how He healed Simon's mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-34). I believe God put these stories in the Bible to encourage us, to strengthen our faith.
In my ebook "Simple & Sweet," I talk about how God has the encouragement we need for every season of our lives. It's just a matter of finding it in the Bible, which is another skill women will learn through reading "Simple & Sweet."
Habit #3 - Make "Thankful" A Lifestyle
A thankful heart shifts our perspective away from what we feel we are lacking and towards what we have. When our focus is on what has already been provided our faith is reinforced. When you focus on the mess, fears, hurt, or misfortune, those things become magnified. So instead of dwelling on what you lack, start praising God for what you are thankful for. Make praise and thanksgiving a lifestyle. Learn to focus your eyes on all you have to be thankful for.
Habit #4 - Talk About What God is Doing In Your Life
It's one thing to notice how God is working in your life. It's another totally different, yet extremely POWERFUL thing to talk about it.
"And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death." (Revelation 12:11 ESV)
Your tongue is a tool for victory. When you talk about what God is doing in your life, you're giving yourself a verbal reminder of just how able God is. You are cementing your confidence in Him by speaking in agreement with His actions.
There's a reason the different writers of the Old Testament repeatedly look back and reference miracles of the past. Recalling those moments reminded them that their God is the God of the impossible. Sometimes all our faith needs is a little reminder of the power of the God we believe in. Use your tongue as a tool for victory and remind yourself of every instance God came through for you. Speak it out loud. And then expect Him to do it again.