Week of Reflection: How’d You Do Last Year?

When things go dark, our natural desire is to use the world as a coping mechanism. We sleep and watch tv to ignore depression, we eat away stress, and relish in negative thinking. I know these things sound obviously unhealthy, but in the moment, sleeping, binge watching, eating, and obsessive thinking seem to be quite enjoyable methods to pass time. We can be self-destructive like that.

Romans 12 warns the reader to not conform to the world but be transformed. The Christian life is begun by a rebirth. When you accept Jesus as your savior, the Holy Spirit indwells in you and gives you a new life. Once you have the Holy Spirit, you have the opportunity to ground yourself in God’s word everyday. It is through the Bible that you find knowledge of who you are and what your purpose is.

This is what Paul would call a “renewing” of your mind. You filter out the worldly tendencies and fill up with spiritual renewal. By seeking God everyday, you continue to deepen your understanding of what He finds to be “good and acceptable and perfect”. God brought you new life to fill you with light, joy, and hope. Through hard times and phases of peace, you walk through this life and learn what it is to have joy in every circumstance. You learn the depth of gratitude.

Reflection is part of the renewal process. It’s an important piece of growth as an individual. If you are not working through your successes and failures via the lens of the Bible and the Holy Spirit, you are not learning the lessons that God is teaching you. Therefore, you’ll be taught the same lessons over and over again. You won’t be able to move on to the next one. Some people will go their whole lives without moving past a particular struggle!

To reflect is to pause. Our culture has made it very difficult to do that. Even when you have a moment to yourself, there’s the temptation – addiction, I may even say – to take the phone out and keep your thoughts from bringing unpleasantries to the surface. When you are in constant distraction, you’re not going to be talking through life with God, asking Him questions, and waiting for Him to respond. Keeping life experiences to yourself like that will sink you further into isolation. We don’t want that to happen!

So, being a few weeks away from daylight savings coming to an end, spend some time in reflection this week on how you handled shorter days last year. You can use the exercise below as a guide through your reflection.

Week of Reflection Exercise:

  1. Schedule time this week to sit down and reflect over last year.
  2. During your reflection time:
    1. Ask God to show you how you did last year.
    2. Write down what comes to mind:
      1. How did you feel last year when it got dark early?
      2. Did you develop any habits during that time that were self-destructive?
      3. Are you still feeling the effects of those bad habits right now?
    3. Ask God to reveal to you healthier ways to cope this year.
    4. Ask God for forgiveness if you feel you placed something over Him as a comfort last year.
    5. Thank God for what He is going to do for you this season.
  3. If you were not affected by the shorter days last year, ask God to show you others that may need your help during the winter months.

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