Looking Back & Looking Forward: Reviewing the Ending Year & Planning for the New Year
This article appeared in 2018 Christmas newsletter and was written by our board member Bill Eubank
One of the things I have learned as I look back is the importance of taking time to review what has happened in my life-to write down the important things and plan for the future. I find it helpful to do this on an annual basis, usually at the end of the year between Christmas and the New Year. Charles E. Hummel wrote a book entitled The Tyranny of the Urgent that speaks to this issue of life and time. I recommend you read it (and re-read it) annually. It always makes me think about what is most important.
As I end one year and start a new one, I have found it helpful to ponder these questions:
- What has God said to you about your calling?This might include any prophetic words that you have received, or it may be a deep sense in your heart of what God has told you.
- What are the important things that you did during the past year? What important lessons did you learn during this year?
- As you consider the New Year, what are the 3-5 achievable goals that you feel are important for you to complete in the coming year?
The Lord once asked me, “Bill, what is the best time of your day?” After thinking about this for a few minutes I said, “Mornings” because I enjoy mornings more than evenings, when I am usually tired and do not want to tackle important issues. He simply said to me, “Would you give Me some of that time?” I said, “Yes.” Over 35 years ago I started to plan every day to get up in time to:
- Read my Bible (All kinds of annual reading plans are on the internet like the one below.)
- Pray and tell God what is on my mind (He knows already but He wants me to have the opportunity to share with Him so that I know that He knows-it’s called relationship.)
- Get quiet and listen to what He might say to me. This is really important, but most of us either haven’t really tried it or don’t believe He will speak to us. I promise, if you will get quiet and really seek Him as it says in Hebrews 11:6, He will speak to you.
- Journal about this time with God. This includes my thoughts, scriptures that I have found meaningful, and of course, what God said to me. Because I have the past year’s journal, I can review what I have written during that time. I also pray and ask God what He wants to tell me about the coming year.
This time of reflection, review and thinking about what the next year holds is very important for each of us. We live in an active, fast paced world with a lot of people trying to get our attention. Many of us have young children, jobs, daily responsibilities and other things that pull us to deal with the urgency of ‘NOW!’ But I have learned that I always get more done and more accomplished IF I will start my day with the One who created me, the One who loves me, and the One who has amazing things that HE wants me to see, to do, and to BE. I just need to make the time to talk with Him about it– about my life, about His call, about the opportunities that He sees, and about what His Word says about all that is going on around me.
May God continue to bless you and draw you close to Himself.