2019 is upon us. We’ve all recovered from the Christmas holiday season. Some of us have finally put away our Christmas decorations. The beginning of the year is a fresh blank slate for many. January is when lots of companies set new fiscal goals for the upcoming year. People set “New Year’s Resolutions” to lose weight, be more present, spend more time with God, not spend as much time on social media or be better with their money.
I truly believe in the power of settings goals. Without measurable goals we tend to just float through life. However, just as important as settings new goals is reflecting on where you’ve come from and what God did in your life in the previous season.
Every new years day I have a tradition where I sit down with my journal and my bible at a nice coffee shop and I spend a couple of hours “remembering” what God did in the previous year. I create a document on my computer and list out all of the months of the previous year and I go month by month pouring over journal writing, reflecting on major events, ups and downs and write them all out. Some of the things that happened were joyous or breakthroughs, whilst some were challenging and/or failures. The common thread is that God was there with me through them all. He took me up the mountain and helped me through the valleys. Reflecting and remembering everything that happened last year helps me realize how present God was in my life, even when I didn’t know it.
In the old testament the child of Israel also practiced this act of remembering what God did. In one specific circumstance the prophet Samuel placed a large stone of remembrance in a location to commemorate the place where God had helped them in the past.
“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” 1 Sam 7:12
I imagine that stone stood their for a very long time, reminding people passing by of that period of time and what God had done for them.
I believe that before we can effectively look to the future we would be benefited to reflect on the past. We’re always desiring the “new thing” God is doing, the next breakthrough, the next vision. However, have we adequately thanked Him for what he “already did”, the breakthrough he brought last year, how He helped us out of the pit and held our hand along the way? Before we can move forward in vision, we have to remember with thanksgiving.
My encouragement to you this year, before you get too wrapped up on all your new goals, plans, trips, events, jobs, and future…make sure to take some time to reflect. Thank Him for everything He already did. Don’t be like the 9 lepers that were so excited about their new future now they were healed that they didn’t even think to come back to the master and thank Him for what He brought them out of (Luke 17). Enter his gates with thanksgiving and courts with praise for the journey He faithfully led you on last year walking with Him.
Spend some time reflecting and thanking the Lord for what happened last year. Make a sheet or word doc with each month of last year and go through and write down everything you can remember that happened significant in your life. This could be work, family, personal life, dating, finances, etc. As you go through month by month, stop and thank the Lord for walking with you in the good and the bad. On paper, create your own “ebenezer” or “stone of remembrance” with the Lord that you can revisit for years to come.
RNW Leadership Team