I have a natural tendency to look toward the future. What is the next step or what is the next thing that is going to happen in my life? With the end of the year approaching, I am already looking ahead to the next year. Planning the next vacation. Brainstorming about the spring projects that will need to be done around the house. I am always looking ahead to what is next.
My challenge to myself as the year end approaches has been to remember what the Lord has done this year in my life. I want to break that temptation that I have toward every new year to just look forward. “New Year, New Me” is a mentality a lot of people get into at the end/beginning of a year. We get so focused on what our new goals will be, ready for a fresh start, but while that is good and all, we cannot neglect what we have learned in the past year.
I am sure I have mentioned this author before, but Ann Voskamp has a quote in one of her books, “A Thousand Gifts,” that has always resonated with me. “God reveals Himself in rearview mirrors. And I’ve an inkling that there are times when we need to drive a long, long distance, before we can look back and see God’s back in the rearview mirror. Maybe sometimes about as far as heaven — that kind of distance.”
In the moment, I can’t always see what God is doing, its often pretty frustrating. But, when I look back and reflect, maybe a few months or years later, I find myself being able to see how He was working.
I want to be intentional about remembering how He worked in my life this past year. Here are a few examples of questions I plan on asking myself and processing through:
What did God use in the past year to refine me?
How did God provide for me?
What did I learn this year? About myself? About my family?
What did I accomplish? How did I fall short?
What mistakes can I learn from?
Learning By Reflection
I am not sure what this past year has looked like for you. It may have been the best year you have had in a while or it could’ve been the worst. Maybe it was a year of growth, branching out into the unknown and making yourself be uncomfortable. It could’ve been a year where you felt like you just keep moving backwards, where you feel like you couldn’t catch a break.
No matter the type of year you had, I am challenging you, just as I am myself, take a glimpse back into what The Lord has taught you. Before you make your new resolutions and plans, take some time to remember what God has brought you through and what He did this year. Take some time to reflect and process, and then pray expectantly for what He will do next.