One of my favorite rhythms in our marriage is our annual conversation and reflection on the year that was and the year that is coming. It was in these moments we prayed about starting a new missional community, moving to Los Angeles, and it’s when my wife Mirela told me we were expecting our second daughter. Those were great moments.
The main reason I treasure our annual reflections is they draw us to listen to God backward and forward. We focus our hearts on seeing God’s work and presence in the past. We hear the Spirit leading us forward. We resubmit to Jesus as King of our lives. I want to urge you to take time to think, pray, and process heading into the new year.
The frantic holiday season typically drowns out the beginning of the new year. You might make a new year’s resolution, say a prayer of thankfulness to be done with the last year, or jot down a few things you’re looking forward to. Most of us kick off the year as exhausted and frantic as we ended the last one. Our culture drives us to move from one thing to the next without giving thought to the events that just happened. When we do this, we never engage the happiness, pain, fear, or struggle with our hearts or minds—our bodies are simply moving through it.
However, the flipping-over of the calendar year offers us an exceptional time to pause and reflect on what God has done in and through your life and what you pray for God to do in the future.
What should it look like?
Set a time. Put it on your schedule. This is what’s kept us from doing this in the past. If you’re going to do this with your family or spouse, coordinate! There have been years when we had the space to carve out two or three nights to walk through these reflections and dreams. Other years, we’ve given a whole day to this while dear saints cared for our kids. However you do it, block off a specific time.
Focus your hearts on God. This is more worship service than strategy session. Praise Jesus for His presence, love, grace, and mercy. Think back and look forward to tune your life to see God’s interruptions, interventions, and sovereign hand shaping us into the image of Christ. We become active agents in reconciliation when we become observers of God’s redemptive plan in our lives, communities, and cities.
Spend time praying, writing, talking, and dreaming of what you would love to see God do in and through you. Give your year a theme or big-picture goal. Make one regular shift to your weekly rhythms to reflect that annual theme.
I know reflection can be a daunting task. We believe in the strength of these moments so much that we’ve created a simple two-page template called the Personal Annual Reflection + Plan to help guide you, free to Saturate members. Feel free to print this off and use the spaces provided to write down your reflections and plans.