You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forward I make you hear new things, hidden things that you have not known. (Isaiah 48:6)
Every year, as the new year approaches, I take a couple of hours to reflect on the previous year. I get a cup of coffee, my journal, and come armed with some questions to reflect on all the things that happened over the course of that year. I do this to remember the beautiful things that happened that call for celebration. I also do this to look honestly at what transpired in the past year, to make adjustments in the year ahead. I do not set a host of New Year’s resolutions that will be forgotten in a few weeks. I do this practice to remember who I am and whom I am called to serve, to fulfill the purpose that I believe God has placed deep within me.
Steve Jobs once said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backward and trust that the dots will connect again.” This year has been one of those years. I still cannot make sense out of all that 2020 brought to us, but I want to begin to mine its teachings.
Here are a few of the questions I will be answering this year (with gratitude to monkmanual.com):
How have I changed over this past year?
What is more important to me now than it was a year ago?
What is working really well in my life right now?
What are the areas of my life where I feel the most unrest and want to improve? (Examples: my health, my marriage, my relationship with my children or parents or siblings, my job, my finances)
What are the top distractions in my life right now?
What are the things that are most life-giving in my life right now?
Over the next months, what new opportunities and possibilities am I most excited about?
Where did I see God’s hand in life over the past year?
I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to a brand-new year – perhaps you could join me in a time of reflection. I would love to hear what you learn!
For those wearied by overwhelming demands
O Lord of all, we celebrate the fresh mercies of each new day. We are grateful for all you have done in our lives in this past year and look forward to fresh new beginnings. Let this be the year when we invite you to sift through our souls, revealing the best of who we are, while gently blowing the chaff away. In the ways of Jesus. Amen.