The new year is time to reflect and look up with praise and reset your life to live forward with faith confidence in God. The end of the holiday season and first weeks of January give us space to smile at the highlights of the past year and assess the lessons gained through the struggles.
Reflect and look up with praise.
To begin the process, review your calendar of the last year and make note the event and accomplishments that shaped your life. On a sheet of paper create two columns—one for the positive events and one for the struggles. As you review the calendar, fill in the page with the pluses and minuses.
When finished, praise God for bringing you through another unpredictable year. Praise him for being with you at all times. Thank him for bringing you through the struggles.
“I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise you name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” Psalm 145: 1-3
“My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2
Personally, last year I made progress in writing, by submitting devotionals for monthly digital publication, having stories published in two new anthologies and creating a Christmas ebook. The Lord guided me to write and teach a Bible study for The Grace Impact. I’ll continue to rework it this year. One video project started but didn’t go well, so it was dropped. It was a learning process.
By looking up to God when we reflect on the past, we focus on the sovereign Lord.
God is sovereign, having supreme power and authority. It’s easy to lose sight of this truth when we live through challenging times. When I feel confused from the changing culture around me, I look up to the sovereign Lord for peace. Knowing that He sees the beginning, the middle and the end of all things settles my mind and spirit.
Jeremiah 32:17 reminds us of God’s sovereignty.
Reset and live forward.
The new year is a journal full of blank pages. The lyrics of the hymn “Praise to the Lord the Almighty,” written in the mid 1600’s, includes the phrase “ponder anew what the Almighty can do.”
To do this, take a moment to dream. Where is God at work, and how can you join Him? What would you like to accomplish this year? Pray about it, asking God for guidance. Keep a notebook handy to write down any ideas.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3
Reflect and Reset, live forward with confidence in the Lord.
In formulating goals for 2022, keep praying about them so the Lord will reveal the next step. God gives us enough knowledge for the next step, even if we can’t see the end in sight. There will probably be detours or road blocks, but God promises his guidance through the struggle.
1 Chronicles 16:11 is an important guide.
The words God spoke to Joshua when he began to lead the Israelites are encouraging for us today. This verse emboldens us to live forward.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Courage is needed every day as we live out the convictions of our faith. Faith confidence is bolstered through reading the Bible and fellowship with other believers.
Standing firm with the Lord, no matter what happens, is key. When challenges try to derail any progress, go forward with courage and conviction. Read 1 Corinthians 15:58 as an encouragement.
When I’ve felt unsure of my direction, the Lord has come through every time. By reflecting on how God has been faithful in the past, I gain faith knowing He will guide my next steps.
Resetting my heart with praise gives hope for the future.
Reflect and reset, look up and live forward.
May you seek the Lord for guidance in 2022 by looking up to praise God and living forward with purpose as a light in the world around you.