Reflection & Resolution
Is it in your personality (or habit) to more often look back or look ahead? At the end of the year, and the beginning of another, I’m usually doing both. But sometimes I’m not doing it with enough intention.
My looking back is shallow and often focused on accomplishments or highlights. My looking forward is ambitious and often focused on the goals I want to achieve.
This year I want to do something different.
When God tells people to remember things in scripture, it is most often a command to keep fresh in their minds what God has done in the past or the lessons they have learned from past mistakes. It is the sort of reflection that arms them to face things in their present and future better equipped than they were before. To approach things with more faith, to handle situations with more grace or boldness.
Looking back on 2018, I see how God has helped my husband and I through difficult conversations to gain more unity and understanding of each other. As I keep that fresh in my mind, I do much better with current conversations, because I look for the clues of meaning, I look for the common ground, I extend a longer time of patient listening instead of responding quickly out of my own biases.
In 2018 I began to shift from shedding commitments (because for years I had overextended myself) to committing to things in areas where I had been timid and afraid to trust God. I took on this blog and producing the social media graphics. I stopped putting so much faith in my own failures and instead put faith in God’s ability to help me succeed despite any stumbles along the way.
Even today, I’m writing this blog after more than a month of silence because I need to get back in the saddle. I can choose to be faithful even if I’m not perfect.
The apostle Paul encourages us in Philippians 3:13-14 to forget the past and press forward toward the heavenly prize of a life well-lived. He calls us to think about things beyond this life on earth, to value things with an eternal perspective. It sounds a lot to me like what Pastor Bill has been saying about “legacy”.
Rather than looking at a list of goals for projects that only matter as long as I’m living this lifetime, I’m looking at relationships that will last forever. How can I mentor my kids better? Who do I know that has yet to meet Jesus? How can I be better prepared to share grace, truth and love during repeated brief interactions or momentary one-time encounters?
These are the things that fill my thoughts in the quiet moments before sleep or in between daily tasks. I don’t know yet what specific steps I need to take, but I trust that as I seek them, God will show me what to do.
How about you?
Does the time of Christmas and New Year’s get you thinking about the future? What decisions are you making for 2019?