My husband and I flew back to Orlando on Jan 1 after spending parts of Christmas with both of our families. Our time was invigorating and a bit exhausting. It felt good to be home. As I got settled back into our home, I could not help but think about the newness of 2022. Putting on the new year felt like putting on a new pair of shoes. Both have potential but might also cause pain or blisters as I start moving forward.
Last year, I got away and spent a day talking to God about the new year. He marvelously met me, and I finished with hope and direction for the year. This year, reflection and planning time would need to fit between things. Possibly a healthier way to “break in the new shoes.”
As I took snatches of time in the next week to remember each month of last year, God reminded me that times of slowing to reflect are valuable. He had provided many good things even in the pandemic slog. I still felt the “slog”– like going through life in slow motion at times, but I also felt the joy of time spent with our two adult children who were back at home for a few extra months. I was grateful for several weeks with my Mom after receiving her vaccinations, and I enjoyed my team’s face-to-face meeting after going virtual for nearly two years! I counted many more blessings as I walked through last year’s calendar.
In all truth, I was a bit surprised at how hard I had to work to remember! But, God brought big things and little things to mind. There is a discipline to remembering. A friend encouraged me to reflect on the lessons learned and the year’s challenges. I started that. Another friend mentioned some unique questions that helped her process the past year and the year ahead more creatively.
After reflecting on the past, I turned to the future. Remembering is like planting seeds in a grateful heart, and planning adds water. The seeds bloom into hope for what lies ahead.
Only God knows my future, but He gives me joy thinking about what He’ll have for me. Sometimes planning is a two-edged sword. It can help me fit in everything or make me aware that I can’t do everything. The last couple of years humbled planners like me; we cannot know what tomorrow will bring. So, I did not get granular with my planning. I just tried to hear from God what He wanted for me in this new year, which inevitably gave hope. Planning for me is an expression of faith in what God has for tomorrow.
As you anticipate the year ahead, you might share the tradition of choosing a word for the year. Or you may set resolutions or goals. I’ve done my share of setting resolutions and occasionally found an annual theme, but this year, I just wanted to start the year with moments of quiet before the Lord of the universe.
He pours His love upon me and gives me hope – a great way to start the new year.
We’d love to learn from you too.
- How do you reflect on or remember a past year?
- What do you do to welcome a new year?
- What has God given you hope for in 2022?
Linda Sparkman works in Leadership Development and HR for Cru. She lives in Florida and loves strong coffee and long walks. Having lived overseas for many years, she is motivated to resource and encourage CCCI’s staff around the world.