The beginning of a new year always has a bit more emotion attached to it. Sometimes we are eager to leave the old behind and start fresh and then other times we wish the year would never end. Many of us may be anticipating good things, including some significant milestones. However, there may be some of us that have a sense of dread. We may be anticipating some hard decisions and wishing things could be different (and we are tired) or our minds are filled with anxious thoughts as we anticipate the future. Like I said, the beginning of a new year always has a bit more emotion attached to it. I am no different and yet as I age, I try to be a bit wiser and more intentional with my time and my resources. Therefore, a beginning of anything ought not to be rushed but savored by reflecting on the past and repositioning for the future.
Reflecting on the year is healthy. I find that when I take some time to quietly reflect, I remember God’s faithfulness. His faithfulness is seen in both His blessings and in His instructions. John Maxwell recently suggested that we all ask ourselves these four questions when we reflect on the past 12 months:
- What made me proud?
- What did I learn?
- Who did I lead?
- What held me back?
I like those questions and plan to spend some time reflecting on them. I suspect that I will be reminded of some things, I will learn a few others, and I will find a smile on my face as, once again, I see His faithfulness.
Repositioning our lives means that we take what we have reflected on to assist us in moving to a better position and to make the necessary adjustments to grow and develop, all based on what God has revealed. I have asked God for a word(s) for the year for the last several years. The first time I asked Him this He gave me the words ponder and humility. I chuckle now because that was the year that we were all awakened to the idea of a global pandemic and words like “lockdown”, “masks”, “social distancing” “pivot” and “Zoom” became household words. WOW, I was humbled, as we all were as we pondered what was going on. I did a lot of pondering.
The following year I prayed the same thing, and God gave me two more words to add to this portfolio. The words were gratitude and nurture. I was asked to not simply show gratitude as I reflected but also to be grateful in the moment all the while having a gracious demeanor as I anticipated the future. The notion of being grateful while in the present and looking towards the future is much more challenging. I think I am getting better at it. Lastly, God asked me not only who I was nurturing but who was nurturing me. I have spent the past year intentionally answering and applying these four words and principles to my life. I have found that they build on one another and act as co-workers to enable me to have a deeper understanding of what God is teaching me.
Words for the New Year
The last month I have been praying that God would reveal His word(s) to me for the next season of my life. These words typically become compass headings for me. They help me in my private life, and they help me in my public life. I certainly don’t impose these words on others. They are God’s revelation to me. However, perhaps they do impact others in a good sort of way. I sense in my reflection, and subsequent repositioning, that His words for me this year are prune and grow. Though the words are not new to me, I am not yet ready to fully understand their meaning and application in my life…that’s the fun part; it’s the journey. I do know that God uses a lot of metaphors (which I love) around horticulture. We have gardens, fields, trees, fruit, vines, grapes, weeds etc. all being used to demonstrate part of God’s character, Kingdom, modus operandi, work in our lives, warnings and blessings. Even the cross is referred to as a tree. Scripture also tells us that God prunes that which is growing. Pruning is a good thing not a bad thing, though I typically defer to it as a negative (it appears to be implying “less” as I live in a “more” world). Growth occurs as a result of pruning. I am curious as to why these two words, and over the next several months I will have the privilege of allowing these words and their applications to grow deep into my heart, mind and soul.
Read more articles by Stephan Tchividjian at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/author/stephan-tchividjian/