We are at that time – the ‘in-between time’ – almost stepping out of 2010 and stepping into 2011. The psalmist is right in Psalm 90:12 where he alludes at the importance of a sober evaluation of life: ‘Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.’ Smart people take time to examine their lives – not just at the end/beginning of the year. Someone used to say that an unexamined life isn’t worth living. Some truth in that…
Here are some of the exercises that I have found helpful at this time:
REVIEW THE YEAR – take time to think about what kind of year it was. How would you sum it up in a sentence? What are the highlights? What has God taught you? What has HE changed in your life?
REFLECT ON MISTAKES – not really a free ticket to a guilt trip but this is important. If we don’t recognize our mistakes – it’s virtually impossible to correct them. This is a sign of humility and God works with those who are poor in the spirit. What dis you do wrong? What didn’t you do that you should have? Wrong focus? Wrong priorities? Wrong attitudes? Let the grace of God bring closure – as you confess your sins to a God who welcomes, forgives and cleanses sinners.
REMEMBER THE VICTORIES – I know it isn’t a very British thing to do. We’d rather be self-critical and concentrate on moaning about our short-commings. Yet this isn’t about a self-centered motivational exercise. This is an opportunity to trace God’s hand in the circumstances of your life. Has He answered your prayers? Has He used you? Has He encouraged you?
REFRESH YOUR RELATIONSHIPS – this is a time to acknowledge those whom God has placed your life as family/spouses and good friends. You can use this opportunity to thank them and point out how God has used them in your life? What instances have you experienced their love and support? It is also a good time to say ‘sorry’ and renew broken relationships. Rebuilding bridges is always better than burning them.
REFOCUS YOUR AIMS – this ought to be more than a ‘one off’. You need to remember what God’s plan for your life is all about. If confused – read and re-read the Matthew 28:18-20. Break it down. How will you see those things accomplished in your mundane life? How does your job, ministry and social life fit in with that? what do you need to change to become Christ-centered again?
REKINDLE YOUR PASSION – Life is so much more than simply a ‘to do’ list. It isn’t just about goals and 5 year plans. Real life is about passions. Passions that come from the heart. Passions that take us beyond common sense decisions and mediocre 9-5 drab working places. What makes your heart beat faster? What gets you excited? What are those things – in the words of Eric Liddell, when i run I feel the pleasure of God – that as YOU do them God is pleased?
REMEMBER YOUR COVENANT – this is the last but probably the most important one, both the foundation, and paradoxically the pinnacle as well. the non-negotiable condition. Your relationship with God. Remember, when you started the journey, you made a promise. You virtually entered a covenant. Today is as good a time as any to renew that covenant. It is good to remember why you fell in love in the same place. It is good to remember and be amazed at His grace for you. Stand in awe at the sight of the Cross. Be blown away by the awesome truth of the resurrection. And all this is stirred up in us afresh by the Holy Spirit who whispers and cheers, and shouts at us through His Word!
May God grant you all an amazing new year – a year in which you can fully live for His renown and make HIStory!