It's that time of the year again for some much needed R&R. No, I'm not talking about rest and relax, although the holiday period is certainly a great time to take a much needed breather from life's daily demands, and also a break from the intense present shopping and Christmas preparation in the lead up to the festive season.
My R&R is about taking the time off to Reflect on the year that has passed, and to also use make new Resolutions for the coming year.
It is the time to take stock of how 2015 had treated you, how God has answered your prayers (or maybe He hasn't), and of His faithfulness. I have lots to reflect on, starting from early this year when I resigned from my reporting role, and did my best to avoid anything to do with writing. Until God told me this is the plan He has for me, and I had better be okay with it.
I had also spent the last six-months job hunting, crying over rejection emails, and was finally given a job that came with a better pay and better work conditions. You see, reflecting on how God has walked before me in the midst of my greatest difficulties, will allow me to walk into the new year with a bold confidence knowing that I am able to handle anything that might come my way.
It also gives me the courage to dream big, and to make big, bold New Year's resolutions, because God is able to help me accomplish the plans He has for me.
Reflecting on the year gone
The reason why reflecting on how God had walked with me in my time of greatest need is so important is because it shows me His characteristics – that He is faithful, able, and trustworthy.
I don't know what 2015 has been like for you. Maybe you had a fabulous year of answered prayers, job promotions, celebrating a new addition to the family. In times like these, it's so easy to see and believe that there is a good God and He loves you.
Or maybe it was a year of sorrow, of hurts and disappointments, and you can't seem to find relief for your sufferings. And you've exhausted yourself asking if God has heard you, and if He's done ignoring you, because, really, how hard is it answer one prayer request?
My 2015 had been a mixed-bag of emotional ups-and-downs, and to be perfectly honest, I hated about 90% of it. But ironically, I'm grateful for the experience. Because otherwise, how would I know what sort of God I am serving? Anyone can be a friend when life is good, but it's when life throws you lemons, that's when you know if you've a friend for life, or a fair-weathered one.
Reflecting on how 2015 has gone for me, and how God has seen me through it all is important because it reenforces the truth that God is "the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews chapter 13, verse 8). I rest in the assurance that the same God I serve in 2015 will be the same God who will walk with me in 2016.
Making new year's resolutions
No new year is complete without new year's resolutions. Now, I'm horrible at making new year's resolutions. Still, I'd make a few resolutions every year, only to promptly break them by the time the end of January rolls around. But there is something cathartic about writing down a list of things that I hope to achieve in the coming year.
The goals I make every year are the same, and they range from spending more time with God, reading the Bible a bit more, to hitting the gym on a regular basis.
And maybe you're a bit like me. You like to start the year with a big bang with fancy resolutions, but can't find the strength to see it through. Whatever your plans may be, or whatever hopes you hope to achieve this year, might I suggest you lay your plans before God, and watch Him bring it to past.
Michele Ong is a former regional news journalist with a passion to be a voice for the marginalised and disenfranchised. Writing is as essential to her as breathing, and believes words contain life which is to be used to inspire, inform, and influence readers. Michele attends Auckland's City Impact Church with her family on the North Shore.
Michele Ong's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/michele-ong.html