Well here we are—the last day of 2012.
How was this year for you? After all, you’ve lived another year. You’ve made some mistakes and learned from them. You’ve enjoyed a few successes and you understand how they’ve come about. Your wiser now because of your experiences. You’ve got good sense of who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish and more importantly—why.
And you have a pretty good sense of where you’re going in 2013. Right?
If you’re struggling to answer these questions, may I suggest you’re not reflecting enough on your life. We are a busy culture always moving on to the next thing. I am afraid we’re losing our ability to reflect on our lives. So I am asking you to be different. I am asking you to slow down, at least today. Your life is worth it. Your experiences are important. You can learn from them. God is writing His story through your life and it’s worth you taking the time to understand it.
Reflecting needn’t be complicated. I am going to spend some time with my journal. I thank God for the discipline of keeping one. I’ve been journaling on and off for twenty-five years so my journal will present me with a timeline of my life. But you don’t need a journal to reflect. You can simply sit down and write down a few of the major events of your life this year. Heck, check out your Facebook Timeline at the very least. The point is to make space today to think about your life.
If I had to graph my life in 2012 it would definitely look like a penny stock—full of dramatic highs and lows. There have been many highs: A cruise in May to celebrate our 20th anniversary; a trip to Ecuador and the launch of my blog, Misison Glue. But there have also been some hard things—real hard. My brother Michael died in July tragically and suddenly. I am still reeling. Then In November, my beloved Grandma Honey died after a short illness. I love them both very much and life kind of seems scary without them right now. And we’ve had quite a year at Restore. More and more people calling Restore their church home; more baptism; more church plants. All-In offering confirmed that God is planning to Expand us in ways that are sometimes scary but always exciting. In December we gave away 50,000 dollars at Big Give and people blew me away with their generosity in our community.
Reflecting is an art that I am still learning but it pays me some significant dividends.
Reflecting helps me to know where I was this year. I am not talking about physically. I am talking about a better understanding of where I was emotionally and spiritually. This helps me gain perspective on the events. I give God a chance to show me my life from his perspective. I am going to review the key events in my life and give God the opportunity to speak to me about the take-aways. I am going to look for the times when God showed up in my life this year. Inevitably, I’ll find times when God showed up but I missed Him because I was too busy with my own agenda.
Reflecting helps me to know where I am. It gives me insight to my life today. Right here and now. I deal with the stuff that is coming at me—what I need to deal with and what am I to do about it. I have several ‘big’ decisions to make about opportunities. Reflecting helps me understand where I am so I can make wise decisions about my life in the next year. I need to know where I am before I can start moving forward.
Reflecting helps me to understand where God is leading me in the new year. You see, I am trying to honor God with my life. I know—that’s a loaded phrase. Many days I don’t know what it means. But I do believe God has a will for my life and part of my journey is letting Him lead me.
Most of all, reflecting helps me stay grateful. And there is much to be grateful about. We have many new ventures at Restore planned for this year. I am in good health and so are my wife and kids. We have an awesome community of friends around us. God continues to use me to help people find and follow Jesus. No other way to describe it–I am blessed.
So take some time to reflect on your life today. Because life is happening and you’re going to miss it unless you slow down.
God Bless you and Happy New Year.
(Now grab a glass of bubbly and let’s celebrate!)