As we end this year and begin another, take some time to reflect on the instructive things you have learned or gained throughout the year.
We often remain focused on regretful things and fail to remember the good things we have achieved and the obstacles we have overcome. We minimize the good things, not considering them to be that important. But they are important, as they become learning tools to take with us into the new year.
Read on for some things to consider during your reflection.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son….”
Christmas: a time of decorated trees and fireplace mantels. A time filled with commitments and hectic schedules as we make mad dashes to the store for last-minute presents.
Our “have to” lists are long and sometimes burdensome. But the love list attached to each of those gifts we select and purchase are filled with joy and anticipation; we can’t wait to see the pleasure our gift will bring to someone we love.
Both lists are necessary. One fulfills a sense of duty and propriety. The other fills our heart with joy.
A neighbor called and asked if she could come over. I was surprised since I had just seen her and her husband the night before. But she was such a delightful and bubbly person that I quickly and enthusiastically said yes.
When she arrived, she held in her hand a large carton of heavy Costco cream – the kind I enjoyed using in my coffee.
I invited her in, and she handed me the box of cream. “This is for you.”
The look on my face reflected my surprise and confusion. As she declined my offer to sit down and have a cup of coffee with me, I went to get my purse to pay for the cream.
What?! Thank you for runny noses, staying up all night, cereal dumped on the floor, clothes strewn everywhere, muddy feet, muddy floors, dogs and cats and garter snakes?
Yes, even with sleepless nights, worried nights, “No’s”, stomping feet and even, “I hate you’s,” there is nothing like my kids.
Through thick and thin, I love them. They are God’s special blessings to me. And especially now that I am older, I appreciate them even more and the wonderful memories of raising them to be strong adults.
At a women’s retreat, I asked, “Who has experienced stress in the past week?”
All hands went up. I then asked how they knew they were stressed. Their comments ranged from “constantly feeling overwhelmed” to “exhausted.”
They were unable to get everything done that was expected of them and there was little time left for pleasure or relaxation. They felt there was never enough time, there was too much to do, and they were constantly required to learn something new.
As I jotted their responses on the white board, I was reminded again of just how many demands are placed on us every day and the heavy toll it can have on our lives.
Life can change in the blink of an eye; one minute you are living life to the fullest and the next you are faced with some catastrophe. Whether it is the loss of a job or a loved one who has been diagnosed with a serious illness, you hear yourself cry out, “Please God, No.”
Whatever the situation, whether you have just received some earth-shattering news or you have simply reached a point where everything in life lacks purpose or meaning, it is a place where you recognize as never before your shortcomings and reach out to God for guidance and strength, and friends for support and encouragement.
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