Reflection & Growth for the New Year

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While many people are busy ending the new year with planning new resolutions, new goals, and new beginnings…I love to end each year in reflection. Reflection is an important part of learning and growing. This is especially helpful for us as Christians to improve our walk with the Lord and deepen our relationship with Him. Lamentations 3:40, “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” That is…only if our self-reflection is done in a positive way. Meaning, we’re not using this time to feel any sort of regret, self-loathing, or reliving any past pains.

Self-reflection is an important part of our faith as we grow and mature spiritually. It allows us to see how we’re performing in accordance with our faith. Are we truly living by faith or are we trying to do things on our own, and how is that working out for us?

When we self-reflect it also helps us to improve our integrity and character. When we examine how we’ve been with others it allows us to be receptive to where our hearts have been. Our hearts are the deepest part of us from which our desires, passions, motives, thoughts, emotions, decisions, and actions arise. We should be aware of the state of our heart because it determines who we are as people and the kind of integrity we posses. This awareness allows us to improve our character in areas where we fall short of God’s expectations. God can change the state of our hearts if we allow Him to but we have to first realize that our hearts need to be changed. Ezekiel 36:26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

We should also have the understanding that God uses our circumstances to shape and strengthen our character. Romans 5:3-4 “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” We should be growing wiser with each and every experience. This allows for us to move forward, make proper goals/changes and look forward to the future with the hope and confidence that the Lord will be guiding us with every choice and action we make.

Looking back at the year and focusing on the areas of failures, achievements, strengths, and weaknesses enables us to improve our skills and efficiency. It also helps us to become more productive in the future. I believe the reason many people fail at accomplishing their New Year goals is because of inconsistency, and goal setting that is too broad, and unrealistic. This is where reflection becomes important. It helps us to develop our skills and review their effectiveness, rather than just carry on doing things as we have always done them. It is about questioning, in a positive way, what we do and why we do it and then deciding whether it is useful or detrimental to the overall outcome.

As we move into the new year it’s important to remember that “EVERY DAY” counts and is vital for making new goals, new choices and new actions each day…not merely just prior to New Year’s Day. Goal setting is important but I believe it should always be done with the Lord in mind because ultimately it is the Lord’s purpose that will abound. Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” To have a goal is one thing but to have a plan and apply the action needed everyday is another. And we need the Lord’s help in order to stay on course and preserve through times of trial. Simply “being” the person it takes and consistently applying action everyday creates results. When we can decide on a daily basis to seize each day, stop making excuses and apply the right action, that is when we can become successful. James 1:23-25 “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” This is how we also develop good habits which ultimately enables us to become the person the Lord has destined us to be.

It also takes a persistent conscious effort and an unwavering mindset along with true faith in the Lord to achieve our ultimate goals. In our own strength this can be difficult because we end up deviating or falling short by reason of our weaknesses or bad habits. Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Although, with the Lords power and strength His mercies renew us everyday. Lamentations 3:22 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” The Lord is the one who guides us and allows us to make the necessary changes needed in our lives to stay consistent and keep our focus on the actions we need to take everyday throughout the year. Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” We just need to remain open to His guidance by staying in the Word and continually pray for His help.

I pray that this New Year we all realize the importance of self-reflection and focus on building our relationship with the Lord everyday. May we stay committed to Him and include Him in everything we do. May our overall goal be to make Him priority and continually allow Him to shape and mold us into the person He wants us to be. May we always remember to give Him the honor and glory in all that we are able to accomplish. Because while we’re busy making new goals and planing for the future we mustn’t forget that ultimately He is the reason we can do anything. He is the reason we are able to experience another day, let alone live through another year. For our lives are in the Lord’s hands and each day is in His sovereign control no matter how in control and self-sufficient we may think we are. Psalm 139:16 “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Happy New Year my sisters in Christ!

God Bless You All!

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