You can’t drive by looking only in the rear-view mirror of your car. Likewise, you can’t go through life looking only through the rear-view mirror. If we live only in the past we miss the joy and blessings of the present and the opportunity to plan for the future. After all, the present is the only time we really have. The past can’t be changed and there is no guarantee we will have a future on earth!
That’s not to say that we never should look at our past life through the rear-view mirror. We have to know where we’ve been to understand where we are and to plan for where we’d like to be. The beginning of this new year, 2014, is a time when it might be good to take a few glances in the “rear-view mirror of the past year”as we steer our lives into the future.
I’ve never been much for making “new year’s resolutions”. But I do think it is a good idea to assess the past year in order that we may value our accomplishments, be cognizant of our failures, and thus make adjustments for our goals for a new year based on what we have learned from both accomplishments and failures. And we need to seek to discern God’s hand in both the accomplishments and failures.
I would propose we ask ourselves several very personal and important questions. They should be answered honestly and as fully as possible. The questions are:
- What have I accomplished this year, as a child of God, that was worthwhile and noteworthy? How many of these accomplishments do I think God holds as worthwhile and noteworthy? Why do I think that? How has my life made a difference for those whom I have touched in some way? How has my own life changed because of these accomplishments? Where do I see God’s hand in my accomplishments?
- Where have I failed to be what I should and can be as a human being and a child of God? What do I wish I could change and how can I make those changes with God’s help?
- What have I learned from both my failures and successes? How would I describe the different person I should strive to be in the coming year in the light of lessons learned from failures and successes?
- Based on the above questions, what goals should I have for this current year that lies before me?
I would suggest that not only are these good questions for individuals to ask, but are very important for churches to ask as they begin a new year.