Every year, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is interesting. For some it may be filled with fun vacation experiences, while for others it serves as a time of bittersweet memory and regret. But for almost all people, the week prompts us to reflect and remember the things we’ve seen or done.
Living in the Bay Area, we are encouraged to have a fast-paced, forward-thinking lifestyle. We are so fixated on goals and accomplishments that we rarely have the time, energy, or attention to look back and reflect on what has happened.
Awareness of the past is helpful for understanding how God has consistently had a presence in moving our lives toward a particular direction. For those that struggle discerning God’s seemingly quiet voice, this is a great practice to regain awareness of what has happened in the past year. Did you notice any trends, special events, oddities, new opportunities?
Human beings have a natural tendency to auto-pilot and cruise control through life. It is understandable because of how demanding our jobs, classes, and life-experiences are, but those things often detract from us being able to maintain a faithful remembrance of God.
Even within Scripture, God has to command His people to remember. Joshua 4 has the Israelites building structures with stones to serve as a memory aid in reflecting on their deliverance. For some of the Israelites it likely put a wrench in their daily schedules. But to specifically structure a time or a practice to reflect on a daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly basis may reveal new insights to our faith. For the Israelites, this event was to serve as a foundation for their understanding of who God is. It is easy for us to say “how could they have forgotten,” but as we know in Israel’s history with many judges, they eventually forgot.
In one of my classes at Fuller this quarter, we participated in an ancient Christian practice called the Prayer of Examen which prompted students to look back to the last day, week, and month for instances where God revealed His presence. For this week, I want to challenge us to journal about what has happened in our lives in the past year.
For me personally, starting seminary, doing youth ministry, and getting engaged have been huge stepping stones that will lead me to where God is calling in the next chapter of my life in 2018. But when I was in the middle of everything, I was certainly overwhelmed and fixated on the goal, which prevented me from seeing what God was trying to teach me through the events. This week has been nice: quiet and spacious, allowing me to set aside some time for this spiritual discipline.
Hopefully as you begin to remember, new insights will arise and you will be able to share them with our fellow brothers and sisters! I look forward to hearing your cool God stories in 2018!
Have an awesome week!