“We do not learn from an experience...we learn from reflecting on an experience.”
I appreciate the freshness each new year brings; it’s as if we have been given a clean slate or a blank page to write on. There is an anticipation of what God might do. We are each a divine masterpiece created by God for God. Ephesians 2:10 writes, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Even though we may have no idea of the assignments God has prepared for us in 2022, we can begin to have an inkling by doing two things: review and reflect.
Review means “to look back on: take a retrospective view of, to go over or examine critically or deliberately.” Reflect means “to realize, consider.” Reviewing and reflecting on the past year helps us to move forward in our life’s direction for the new year. Time spent in silence and pondering reaps huge dividends. It may not appear to be productive and seems like a waste of time, but it is the foundation that produces the greatest work. If I don’t take time to review and reflect then I will repeat the same mistakes and miss the direction God wants me to take.
I want to encourage you to spend time reviewing and reflecting on the year 2021 by rereading your journal. Learn what was important to you by reading what you’ve poured out your heart to the Lord about and by reminding yourself of the prophetic words God has spoken to you. And as you do this, ask yourself these questions:
What principles did God highlight? In what areas was He teaching/training you in?
What did you learn about who God is and His ways this past year?
What did you discover about yourself and how He created you?
How did God direct you? What are the assignments God has for you and the next steps you can take to get where He wants you to go?
Reviewing and reflecting are ways to gain clarity, to hone your life’s binoculars into a more precise vision, so you can make the most out of the year 2022. Sometimes we must look back before we move forward. If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t be able to get there. If you don’t know what the finished puzzle looks like, it makes it difficult to know where the pieces fit. Create goals for this new year from what you discover as you review and reflect.
“Good decisions require creativity, and creativity requires space.”
Emily P. Freeman
Set aside some time this week to review and reflect on the past year.