I use the first couple of weeks in January to reflect back upon the previous year. I reread my journal(s) and ask God to reveal to me whatever it is He needs me to see. I see places of spiritual growth and situations where I missed opportunities to grow. I also discover situations I could have reflected Jesus in word, action or deed, but didn’t. Last December I chose to read all my past prayer journals beginning with the very 1st journal still in my possession. It was very insightful to see the little nuggets where God had impressed upon me direction. It was also disappointing to see how many times I didn’t understand, didn’t heed and completely ignored God’s directions.
In recent years I have asked God for a word and a verse for the coming year. Sometimes I understand why a particular verse is given or why a particular word pops into my mind. Last year’s verse sort of scared me, just a wee bit. The verse I received at the end of 2014 came from 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”; a verse written by the Apostle Paul nearing the end of his life. In this particular passage Paul is preparing his protégé Timothy to go forward following in Paul’s footsteps. Upon receiving this verse I couldn’t help but ponder the question, “Will my life draw to a close this year”? 2015 has not ended yet and so that might still be a possibility; however, I believe I’ve come to understand why 2nd Timothy 4:7 was chosen.
2014 was a challenging year in all areas of my life; physically, emotionally and spiritually. The Lord impressed upon me 2nd Timothy 4:7 to encourage not scare. He in essence was saying, “Well done good and faithful servant. Sandra, you’ve fought well, you kept-on-keeping-on through the pain, through the fear and the uncertainly which lied ahead. 2015, while not as physically challenging, was emotionally challenging. It was filled with sadness and grief. Sandra, you did not bail. You faced life’s challenges and as a result have grown in your faith.” My faith has grown. I simply didn’t recognize my growth until recently. Not recognizing patterns and growth is why I love reflecting back over the past year in January (I started a wee bit earlier this year). Of course, I’ve not arrived yet, and I have more spiritual growth to sprout. The race of life has many courses some easier than others. At this point it doesn’t appear I’ve crossed the finish line of life. I’m certainly okay with that.
My verses for 2016 comes from Colossians chapter 3 – “And whatever you do whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” giving thanks to God the Father through him. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men”.
My word for the year: Grace
If you have never asked the Lord for a verse or word may I encourage you to try it this year? It’s amazing how it interweaves throughout your life. If you are not a follower of Jesus, then how about picking a phrase or word which you have a desire to focus on this year; that works too. For instance, this year you desire to have more joy in your life. You may choose the word joy or laughter as your focus for 2016. With that as your focus the next step is to implement into your schedule ways to experience joy. Perhaps a weekend getaway or attending a comedy show, or learning how not to take life so seriously, or???? I’m sure you get the idea. If not, leave me a comment or email through the link above and I will be happy to assist.
Until next time,