Reflecting on God's Faithfulness
This article may get posted long after the passage of the new year, but I wanted to share an annual tradition that I do at the beginning of every year and to encourage each of you to pause for an extended time of reflection on the things God has done in your life. For some of you, journaling is a normal part of your life, and you already incorporate this as part of that discipline. To you, I say continue on! For others, like myself, regular journaling does not come naturally. Establishing a tradition of dedicated reflection has been a huge blessing and an opportunity for me to refocus and reset.
As each new year begins, I like to spend some time to reflect on the prior year. I write out the highlights of the year, changes in circumstances, the ways that God has specifically answered prayers and the ways that God has grown me in the faith. I consider how God has sovereignly orchestrated every event, every trial and every victory. I also read the last reflection I wrote. In doing this, I often see how my besetting sins continue to be present in my life year after year as well as certain ongoing heart struggles. I look at the goals I set for the year and consider how those goals were or were not met.
I am working through John MacArthur’s inductive studies through the books of the Old Testament. Currently I am studying the book of Joshua. Just this last week I was studying Joshua 4, where God commanded the Israelites to set up memorial stones in remembrance of the miracle of God—cutting off the waters of the Jordan River so that the entire nation of Israel could cross to the other side. I love this because we are forgetful people and it's so important for us to recall God's work in our lives. That is the purpose of my annual tradition—I want to recall His faithfulness and His goodness.
My annual setting of goals is not about making resolutions but rather about prayerfully writing out the things that I sense God is wanting to work out in my life in the next year. You will never see “lose weight" or “exercise more" or even “read my Bible more" as part of my goals. Rather, you will see goals such as growing in gratitude, learning to pray without ceasing, being intentional in relationships and having more grace-filled speech. These are not goals to complete on a checklist but rather ways in which to grow in Christlikeness. Many of the goals will be lifelong pursuits. Perhaps you are wanting to kill a particular sinful habit in your life. You may want to share some of your goals with your discipler who can hold you accountable and encourage you as he or she sees growth in particular areas of your life.
Let's be people who regularly reflect on God's goodness in our lives and who prayerfully set goals in our lives as we pursue Christlikeness.