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!