Reflect and Imagine

Tim Jackson —  January 9, 2013 — 5 Comments

Well, we’ve made it through the holidays and have launched into 2013. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Are you where you thought you’d be when you began 2012? From where have you come? Where are you headed?

Holidays are often so chock-full of busyness that we don’t take any time to really look back or forward. Often, we’re guilty of moving quickly from one item to the next on our list—the next appointment, the next project, the next blog article, the next vacation, the next whatever. It’s our relentless diet of “the next thing” that often consumes us . . . and our vision.

We just need to stop. Okay, I’ll speak for myself: “I need to stop.”

I’m not suggesting we neglect those important things that need our attention, but I am advocating that we plan to take some time to reflect and imagine. Here’s what I’m thinking.

Reflecting means to stop long enough to take a thoughtful look back over the past year. To take inventory of how you’ve lived over the last 12 months. For those who’ve never done this before, it can be intimidating. You may also be tempted to look back over the last 10 or 20 years. Don’t do that. That’s overwhelming, and you’ll probably avoid it like the plague.

Stick with the last 12 months. Look back. Remember. Take stock. Where did you invest your time, energy, and talents? Write it out. When we write things down they seem more tangible and real. It’s also a way to remember. The more we write, the more our brain is stimulated to remember other things as well.

So, now that you have your list of “what” you did this past year, take the time to ask yourself the “why” questions that point to your motives—the reasons you did what you did.

  • Why did I invest in those things?
  • Why didn’t I invest in other things?

After taking the time to reflect, it’s time to imagine.

Imagining is stopping long enough to take a thoughtful look forward to the new year. Again, writing out the “whats” and the “whys” for this new year is important as you look at what changes you’d like to make and where you want to invest of yourself in the coming months.

Don’t just imagine what you want to do. That often quickly degenerates into a self-centered wish list. Instead, pray and ask God what He desires for you to invest in over the next 12 months. Ask and then listen to what He’s saying. The still small voice of the indwelling Holy Spirit will direct you to those areas where you can be most productive for His Kingdom this year.

And just imagine what you’ll be reflecting on this time next year. Now that can get real exciting!

Tim Jackson

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Tim Jackson is married to his college sweetheart, Cole. They have 3 adult children. Tim is the producer for the HelpForMyLife.org website, writes Discover Series booklets on a variety of counseling issues and hosts webinars for RBC Ministries. He's also the founder and president of Still Waters Counseling & Equipping Ministries, PC, a local counseling practice serving individuals, couples and families. When not in the office, you will probably find him up a tree with a bow, in a duck blind or fly fishing on one of Michigan's many rivers.

5 responses to Reflect and Imagine

  1. Thanks for the reminder…something to STOP and ponder…sorta like BE STILL AND REMEMBER HE IS GOD (Know God)….I am looking to set aside some time to reflect…thanks.

  2. Thanks for the reminder. It’s easy to get busy and thereby forget to reflect. May God teach us to number our days that we might apply our hearts to wisdom. Amen

  3. I started reading the article above, but some thing else catch my eye, its “PTSD,”who would had known that on this website, is information on “PTSD.” I as a Vietnam vet, who served for 12 months in the Delta from 11/70-11/71. I started looking back, and I need to do this, so I started writing an essay, but I only got to my starting portion of my tour in Vietnam. I will finish the essay, but I”ll be going to school that I started back in Vietnam on 08/71, I tried to get my High School diploma there, taking me from that time until 04/75, to complete all the test and passing. PTSD, and me have been companions for a very long time, but come 01/14/13, I will be starting college, and at 61, its a long time coming. I believe it will help in healing from my PTSD.

  4. I have always loved the verse “Be still and know that I am God”. Without trying to put down the busy-ness of the holiday season, but I think that sometimes we leave God out of the picture. At the end of the day, His sovereignty is what that matters.

  5. RF,

    Congrats on starting college yesterday. At 61 that’s quite a challenge. But you’re doing it! That’s awesome! PTSD may have held you back but it doesn’t get to define you unless you let it. And that exactly what you’re not doing. You’re not letting it define you. May God strengthen and empower you for the next exciting leg of your journey home.

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