“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection, “ says Thomas Paine, an American Revolutionary.Reflection is the number one way to guarantee a more purposeful and intentional year. Click To Tweet
Maya Angelou said, “You can’t really know where you’re going until you know where you have been.”
While I love the quote on signs at Hobby Lobby that say, “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way,” and while one of our taglines at But.God.Period. is “no regrets,” which implies not constantly looking back on past mistakes so as to beat oneself up about them, we all have to take stock of what our life has been over the course of 2017.
We take stock so that we can alter what needs changing, continue what needs to remain, celebrate in what God has accomplished and grieve what needs to be confessed.
Reflection can be difficult.
This year may have been really painful for you. There may have been any number of expectations that remain unmet. You may have misplaced your identity a time or two. You may have been so hurt by others that you forgot that the only One’s opinion that really matters is Jesus’. You may have fallen into temptations you swore you would never fall into.
You may be flying into 2018 on two wheels. Twenty seventeen may have been so hectic and harried that you barely remember it. Last year may have been a complete blur. This may be due to legitimate busyness. For example, one year, my husband’s boss unexpectedly passed away around Christmastime. That next year was categorized by long hours and putting out fires. We barely remember that year, but we both decided that this was a season, not a way of life. Our busyness was a sacrifice we could manage for the sake of my husband’s company and a service we could perform on behalf of the widow and the remaining business partner.
Not all of my years have been as altruistic. I’ve twiddled my time away. I’ve made choices that promote the cares of culture more than the concerns of my Savior. My family life has been scattered and fragmented. I’ve lived with the motto fresh my mind, “I just have to get through this week.”
I’ve certainly had “selfish seasons.” That may sound harsh and unfair to call bringing your children to sports or music practices, or heading to Bible study after Bible study, or committee meetings and volunteer opportunities as “selfish seasons,” but that is the reality. If it were not promoting our family in some way, we would rise up and say, “No,” to playing sports on Sundays. However, as a Christian society, I dare say we are not brave enough to speak up because that would mean that our child either gets benched or cut from the team. We are not willing to endure the embarrassment, so we float along the lazy river of life being carried away, albeit slowly, with the rest of society.
The point of this is to say that we need to honestly take stock of 2017 so as to stop the insanity, continue what is working, cherish where God is taking us and reset our minds on the things worth pursuing.
We’re starting a 3 week challenge during January to help you set yourself up to have the best year you’ve ever had without making any New Year’s Resolutions. Not one. This is the Anti-Resolution Challenge because we want it to be a heart and lifestyle change and not just another failed attempt at self-betterment.
There are 3 Steps to the Anti-Resolution Challenge and we’ll cover them each week:
- WEEK 1 – PREP FOR THE END OF 2017 & BEGINNING OF 2018: Review the previous year. Spend the remaining days of 2017 reflecting on where you’ve been, what you’ve accomplished, the stresses, the joys, the little and the big. This first step is crucial, so don’t skip it. We have a Year End Review Sheet to guide you in your reflection.
- WEEK 2 – WORD OF THE YEAR. Determine a Word of the Year. This is the secret to lessening overcommitment. When you have a word of the year, you can funnel every request for your time through that word.
- WEEK 3 – GOALS BASED ON PRIORITIES. Set up some goals based on your priorities. This isn’t setting a New Year’s Resolution and in Week 3 we’ll show you why.
Start by downloading the Year End Review Sheet. Spend some time in prayer asking God to show you, accurately, what your year was like. Keep the sheet with you in your purse and add to it as things come to you over the next few days.
What is one highlight from last year and what lesson did you learn?