Reflecting on God’s Faithfulness in 2022
The week between Christmas and New Years has always been my favorite week of the year. Forget turkey or presents, hand me a calendar + a to-do list and it’s my own personal holiday. I love setting goals and intentions of things to work towards in the New Year. But in the past few years, I’ve discovered the importance of first reflecting on what God has already done before I move into goal setting. Making space to reflect helps produce gratitude, purpose, and vision in our hearts and minds. When we reflect on how God has provided for us, protected us, and cared for us, we oftentimes are left with a new perspective, a grateful heart, and a greater understanding of His power and presence in our lives. This perspective helps us see how God has used for good the difficult, messy, or ugly parts of our year. Or if we’re still left wondering “Where is God in this mess? ” reflection can give us vision for how we can pray for God to move in our hearts and lives in the next year and how we can be faithful to make space for that to happen. There are four main steps to this reflection process: looking for God’s faithfulness in Scripture, looking for His faithfulness in your own life, sharing with others, and making a plan for ongoing reflection.
Looking for God’s Faithfulness through Prayer and Scripture
Before diving into the actual reflection process, it’s important to orient our hearts and minds to a state of noticing God’s faithfulness. We can do this through prayer and through reading Scripture. Meditate on Scripture about His faithfulness in all seasons like Deuteronomy 32:4, Joshua 21:45, and Psalm 33:4. Or read through stories like Joseph or Ruth to see how God sustains and protects His people and uses them to accomplish his perfect plans. Pray that God would open your eyes to His faithfulness and your sin during this process. Pray that He would give you gratitude, peace, and repentance as you look towards the past and that He would fill your heart with hope for the future.
Looking for God’s Faithfulness in Your Own Life
Spend some time journaling through some of the following questions. When you’re done, use a highlighter to identify themes in your answers.
- What lessons did God teach me during the past year?
- What did I learn about God’s character this year?
- How have I seen God’s presence and power at work in my life? What specific prayer requests have I seen answered?
- What blessings did God bestow upon me? If so, did I thank God and bless others as well?
- In what ways did God and His plans for me surprise me this year?
- What opportunities did God present me with? How did I respond?
- What areas of my life were I most obedient and disobedient to God’s calling?
- What and who encouraged me this year?
- Who am I investing in? Who is investing in me?
- Where have I seen God improve or restore my relationships?
- Have I honored my commitments to my family, friends, workplace, church etc. this year?
- Is there any unfinished business I need to resolve with God or others? Any unresolved conflict or lingering anger, bitterness, or resentment towards others?
- Did I experience any losses? If so, how have these experiences impacted me?
- How was I disappointed this year? Did I trust God with those feelings?
- Where did I see blessings from waiting? From struggle?
- What pains, struggles, and doubts am I carrying into this year?
- Are there any sin struggles I feel a lingering sense of shame over?
- Where am I settling for living life less than abundantly?
- What is something specific I feel God calling me to in obedience right now that I am resisting?
- What good habits helped me pursue God and others? What habits held me back from that pursuit?
- What disciplines am I lacking?
- How regularly have I created a space of silence to rest in God’s presence and hear his voice?
- Who or what do I need to say no so I can focus on what God’s calling me to?
Sharing With Others
Based upon your answers and the themes that might have emerged from them, make a plan of how you’re going to share what you found with others. Do you need to write a note of gratitude to a friend or mentor thanking them for how they’ve encouraged or challenged you this year? Do you need to make amends with a coworker, a family member, or someone in your community group? Do you need to confess sin to a mentor and ask to set up a plan for accountability? Would it encourage others in your community group to hear how God answered the prayers requests you shared with them? The Christian life wasn’t meant to be lived alone. Invite others into your life and include them in your faith journey.
Making a Plan
Reflection at the end of the year is great, but imagine if you made space to ask similar questions on a more frequent basis. Think through how you can incorporate rhythms of reflection in your daily life. Some ideas could be daily or weekly journaling, setting up a monthly marriage check in and reflection time with your spouse, or going through your calendar and camera roll at the end of the month to see how you spent your time. Check back in next week to learn more about how you can use this reflection space to create a plan for spiritual growth in the New Year as well!