Ending the Year With Our Eyes on Jesus
Ending the Year With Our Eyes on Jesus

The end of the year is a natural and I think healthy time to intentionally evaluate our priorities and our goals. It is also very easy to do this in an unhealthy way if we are critical instead of gracefully evaluative, and we let the number of goals we met or didn’t meet start to inform who we are. Then, we aren’t ending the year with our eyes on Jesus, we are ending the year with our eyes on ourselves.

 

And for the longest time, for me at least, I would evaluate the year, and feel either pretty good, pretty okay, or pretty crummy and then turn to Jesus to sort out all my feelings. I’d venture to say I’m not the only one who has done this. And something as simple as, “Oh, I didn’t get to that this year and I thought I would” turns quickly into, “I’ve done nothing.” And then if we aren’t careful (and if we can be brutally honest with ourselves) that turns somehow sneakily into, “Who am I?” And, if the question of identity is informed by what we’ve done, then we end up either boasting in arrogance or feeling like we are inadequate. Not so fun. Not really so truth-filled, either. 

 

And because I don’t really want to do that anymore (by “that” I mean follow the aforementioned pattern) I’ve decided a few things about how I want to end each and every year. 

 

I’ve decided there is no merit in determining if a year was a success or a failure.  

Each year we live is complex. Full of ups and downs, small and large victories. Small and large setbacks.  Fights, forgiveness, sickness, and healing. There are moments from each year we don’t really remember, and moments from each year that will never leave us. There is no point in taking all of the complexity and beauty and heartache and joy of the past 365 days and labeling it with one of those two words. Here is the thing…maybe you didn’t do all that you thought you would. Maybe you took small steps towards bigger goals or didn’t take any steps at all. And if the reason that happened was because of circumstances outside of your control, trust in God’s sovereignty. He is always working in ways we don’t see or understand, and His gentle hand guides us. Maybe He was protecting you from something or asking you to wait. And if the reason that that happened was because of disobedience or because you didn’t take the time to seek the Lord, receive His grace and forgiveness, and let His love prompt a new choice in you.

 

I’ve decided that the end of the year is not the end-all-be-all time for evaluating or setting goals.

There is a part of the end of the year that fits a natural rhythm to do this. And I’m not saying to fight that, nor am I trying to buck the system. But, the end of the year is quite a crazy time for my family. Not just because of the holidays but we also have all of our birthdays in the last (and then very first) months of the year. So, I don’t always have the time or headspace right in January to devote myself to such things. I mean, what is wrong with doing that in February? Nothing, I’ve decided.  So, if I don’t get to it before the New Year, it doesn’t mean I still can’t take time to reflect and evaluate at a time that might better lend itself to that enterprise for me. You can do the same. 

Also, you can set a goal or start working towards something new or pick up an old hobby any time you so desire. Oh, and also any time the Lord prompts this in you. Because he is not limited to prompting change only at the end of a year.

And perhaps the most significant decision of all, I’ve decided I would rather look at Jesus FIRST and then let the truths of the gospel inform how I evaluate my year (and also inform my identity, but that can be another topic for another day).

One of the ways to do that is to ask myself questions about this past year that stir my mind towards Him and what He has done. 

  1. In what ways did I see the goodness of the Lord this year?
  2. When did I feel the Lord’s comfort this year?
  3. What did the Lord teach me this year? How did I grow?
  4. How was I stretched this year? What hard thing made me rely more on the Lord?
  5. Is there anything the Lord is calling me to turn from in repentance? 
  6. Is there any action step the Lord is calling me to take to walk in deeper levels of intimacy with Him?

So, maybe take some time with these questions at the end of this year. And not to decide if you’ve succeeded or if you’ve failed. Not to fuel arrogance because of what you’ve accomplished or fuel shame for what you feel you have not. But, to turn your eyes to the Lord, see what He has done, and respond in worship. 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Col 3:15) 

Thankful for the grace of the Lord.

Thankful that His peace surpasses all understanding. 

Thankful for each and every year. 

Looking for a community or someone to grab coffee with who is in a similar life season? We’d love to connect with you and get to know you better! Below you will find a few people that can’t wait to meet you, shoot us an email so we can make a plan!

Tyler OJ Campus

Teresa Ator: teresaa@gcc.org

Bethanie Tayler: bethaniet@gcc.org

Tyler UB Campus

Max Heller: maxh@gcc.org

Marthe Durosiermarthed@gcc.org

Lindale Campus

Molly Pontius: mollyp@gcc.org

Debra Kirby: debra@gcc.org

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