As 2018 comes to an end, I take the time to reflect on what I have accomplished over the last three years.
An exercise that I adopted, that has helped me to remain focused and clear minded is the act of choosing a word to focus on throughout the upcoming year. At the end of each year, I sit down and reflect on the year that has passed, and then I pray and talk to God about areas in my life that I still need to grow in. By focusing on one word, I don’t feel overwhelmed and I am able to better measure my progress. Since I began this exercise, each year that has passed has brought with it forgiveness, intentionality and growth. I don’t abandon these words at the end of each year, I keep them in my heart and reflect on them often.
In 2018 my word for the year was forgiveness. “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 NLT. As a Christian, I am called to forgive others as God has already forgiven me. But, how am I supposed to forgive people who haven’t earned my forgiveness? Especially, when I can’t even understand how God had forgiven me, I never earned his forgiveness. I had to start by using Christ as an example, he forgave so much while he was here on earth. His model for forgiveness seemed simple He prayed, fasted and turned it over to God. He didn’t dwell on the wrong doings of others He just let God handle it. The act of forgiveness, is never an easy one. Especially when for me the hardest person to forgive was myself. I blamed myself for so much, so many of the situations I have been through, were my own fault. But God had already forgiven me, so I needed to forgive me. Each day, I forgave myself and each day going forward I will have to intentionally forgive myself. Forgiveness isn’t a one time thing , I have to consistently tell myself that its ok, I made mistakes and I forgive me for the mistakes I made. By forgiving me, I find it so much easier to forgive others.
In 2017 my word for the year was intentional. I made a vow to myself to be intentional with every decision that I made. To be intentional means to do things deliberately, and with purpose. Prior to 2017, I felt that when things happened to me, it was because of something that I couldn’t control. I never made any decisions, I just allowed whatever was going to happen to happen, “Que sera, sera”. Thankfully, God had his hand on me and everything always worked for my good. I wrote an entire post about being intentional here.
In 2016, my word was Grow. 2016 was a year of so much change for me. I wanted and needed growth in my life. GROW became an acronym that helped me to become a better version of the person that I was. Growth with God, Growth in my Relationships, Growth with Others (family and friends) and Growth in Work. I needed supernatural growth and I knew that without Growth with God, that the other areas of my life would suffer. I focused on building a spiritual relationship with Father God and from there it has been like a rose garden that has continued to blossom under his care.
Turning my focus on the upcoming year, I believe that God is asking me to focus more on servitude. I googled that word and it means “completely subjective to someone more powerful.” This is something that I have always struggled with, submitting. I struggle often with allowing things to work according to God’s will. I have control issues. I need to know what’s going to happen but as a Christian, I have to allow God to be God. As I walk into 2019, I am not fearful, I know that God’s will is what is best for me. I know that he wants nothing but good for me and that he will continue to bless me. I will continue to follow the example of Christ by praying, fasting and turning it over to God. Allowing him to work it out, like he always does. The good thing about Father God is that he works it out even when we don’t ask him to. He never needs our permission to do anything, he only wants us to submit to him so that he can use us for what he created us for.
James 4:7-10 NLT
Do you have a word that will guide you in 2019? Share it in the comments below.
Sending prayers and love your way.