I have three young girls at home. They are 6, 4, and 1 in age. It seems to me like my 6-year-old was a baby just yesterday. As a parent, there is a strong sense of time moving quickly. That feeling is confirmed each time I talk with someone who has older children. They will tell me that in the blink of an eye, their child went from being in a high chair relying on them for food to graduating college, getting married, and having young ones of their own. The advice that always accompanies this truth is an encouragement to enjoy the current season of life, to savor it, and to take hold of each moment.
Whether you are a parent or not, I am sure you can relate to the sense of time moving quickly. Each year seems to come and go more quickly than the year before. 2018 has come to an end, and 2019 is already here.
Last weekend, Ben Snyder encouraged us to Make Room to Reflect. To think about where we have been in the past year before moving on to what the new year holds. His analogy is that reflection is to our soul what breathing is to our body. The more physical activity your body experiences, the more air it needs to breathe. Similarly, the more activity and busyness you experience in life, the more reflection your soul requires.
Ben shared with us that as we reflect, we are able to give ourselves permission to slow down from our activities so that we learn to say, “Whoa …. Wow.” In our reflection, it is the slowing down and celebrating of progress that keeps our soul healthy and ready to move on to take the needed next steps that are ahead. Even if it has been a year of ”one step forward, two steps back,” we can see movement, reflect on what we have learned about ourselves and God, and choose to take another step forward.
4 Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. 5 For we are each responsible for our own conduct.
Throughout this week’s LivingItOut, we are going to make this a special “Room for Reflection” edition and provide questions that will help you to slow down and reflect on your spiritual journey. As you reflect this week, keep in mind that there is no need to compare yourself to others. No two people’s journeys are identical. Each journey is unique and special; however, we have found that the principles of the spiritual journey are the same for everyone.
We see in the Bible that God has a plan for your life and that he has always wanted four things for you. He wants you to Know Him, not just know about him but know him personally and powerfully and for you to receive his grace and trust him more each day. He wants you to Find Freedom from the areas in your life where you are stuck, where you experience hurt or guilt or shame, those areas that are holding you back from living the life God has intended for you. God also wants you to Discover Purpose, to realize that your past, your personality, and your passion has potential with him. And finally, he wants you to Make a Difference. He wants you to love others the way he has loved you, and because of that, you will see yourself being used by him to impact someone else’s life.
Since these four principles make up the spiritual journey, they will be the focus of our daily reflection this week, and our hope is that the LIO will serve as a reflection guide for you. The section titled Reflection Questions are designed to help you reflect on one of the principles and a key scripture that goes with it each day. For today, we’ll reflect on the principle of Know God and the step(s) that were made this year; tomorrow, Find Freedom and so on through the principles for this week. Friday is a day to dream, so if God brings up anything as you reflect, jot it down on that day and then put it together on Friday as some potential next steps he wants you to take. As you spend this week in reflection, we pray that it’s an opportunity to celebrate the progress, whether big or small, that you have made this year in your relationship with God.
Bible Verses – Know God:
16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Additional Verses: Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8-9, Romans 10:9-10
Reflection Questions – Know God:
How did you experience God in a fresh way this year?
What step of trust did you take?
If you have not taken the first step of knowing God, reflect on what is stopping you. What would it take for you to believe in Jesus and trust in him as your personal savior?
Attend week one of GrowthTrack which takes place every first week of the month to learn more about knowing God and the next step for you. For information and times visit www.cedarcreek.tv/growthtrack.
Dear Father, thank you for this season of reflection. Thank you for walking beside me and with me through this past year. Thank you for providing me with opportunities to know you more. Thank you for giving me the strength to complete the next steps I have already taken. Thank you for this season of reflection. Please open my eyes and give me wisdom to see the path you would like me to walk this coming year! Amen.
This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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