It’s nearly that time again. Time to flip the page to a new year as this year ends.
There’s just something about a new year, isn’t there? It’s like we’re given a brand-new journal for the next 365 days. Or we’re given a blank canvas to add color each day in the new year to create a stunning masterpiece. Or we’re given a chalkboard that was full of the last 365 days’ markings, however now it’s been wiped clean for the chalking of a new year.
New beginnings. New opportunities. Fresh starts. Fresh perspectives. Yes, I’m all about what’s new and fresh in a new year. I certainly appreciate the hope and promise that a new year brings. With its arrival I give myself permission to be open, expectant, and optimistic.
A new year gives us opportunities.
It presents us with the opportunity to make changes. To make adjustments. To try something new. Consequently, a new year prompts us to pause and reflect on where we are now, and to gaze forward to where we’re headed.
So, are you ready to begin a new year? Are you armed with goals and resolutions? Have you chosen a #oneword or a Bible verse you’ll carry close for the next 365 days? Are you opening yourself to what God has in store?
Before we flip the calendar and transition into another year, I invite you to pause.
As this year ends, I invite you to take a few moments, to end this year deliberately. To end it with purpose. I believe it’s important to review the year that’s ending before we look to the year ahead.
Doing so helps us in four ways:
It helps us celebrate the good. Look over the year and celebrate what you accomplished, the changes you made, the successes you experienced, the wins you may have forgotten about.
It enables us to forgive ourselves and extend us grace. It’s possible you didn’t live your best life this year, or possibly there were areas in life you where didn’t achieve what you wanted to. Offer these to God, forgive yourself, and give yourself some grace.
It gives us the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. When we learn from them, we’re less likely to make them again. We all fail. We all mess up. If you’ve done that this year, you’re in good company. Give those mistakes to God, and ask Him to grow you through them.
It helps us be grateful. It gives us the opportunity to thank God. And even if it was a tough year, we come to the realization life could always be worse.
As this year ends, ask yourself these 9 questions.
Sit down for a few moments, grab your device, laptop, or pen and paper, and jot down your answers as you ask yourselves these nine questions:
1. What impacted you the most this year?
What truth did you learn? Is there a change or decision you made? Or which promised did you cling to that impacted you? Or, what about a book you read, a person you met, or a skill you mastered that made a difference?
2. How did you see God at work in your life this year?
Where did God show up in a timely way? What did He teach you or how did He comfort you? How did He remind you of His love for you?
3. What lesson(s) did you learn?
What specific lesson did you learn from a success, a mistake, a certain situation? How can you (or did you) apply that to your life?
4. What was your biggest regret and why?
This isn’t the most fun to think about, but by bringing a regret to light, we learn from it. And, we can choose to address it so it’s no longer a regret, but a lesson learned.
5. What surprised you the most this year?
Life is unpredictable, right? So you probably experienced some surprises this year. Or maybe you did something that surprised you. My greatest surprise is how this year I have been able to function without caffeinated coffee!
6. What’s one thing that changed about you or in you?
I love the fact that we can change. I’m thankful God doesn’t leave us as we once were. We don’t have to be who we’ve always been. Has God changed something in you this year? What change did you make about yourself?
7. What challenge did you overcome this year?
We all have challenges, and sometimes we forget how we’ve overcome them throughout the year. In what specific challenge did you triumph? One that you thought was too big to handle, yet together, God and you overcame?
8. For what (or whom) are you most grateful?
Thank God for this blessing. And, if you’re grateful for someone in particular this season, let him/her know. Write a note. Make a phone call. Send a heartfelt text.
9. What will you remember most about this year?
When you look back to this year in years to come, what will you want to remember? What happened that you won’t want to forget? What makes this year memorable?
Deliberately reflecting as the year ends helps us begin the new year uplifted and encouraged. As you reflect, please know I’m praying for you. May God bless you with His peace, His provision, and His presence as you close out this year and begin the next!
Much love to you!
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