This time each year, I take a few days to fast and pray. I reflect on the passing year and all that God has brought me through. The last couple of years have been a wild ride, but He remains faithful. He’s faithful to meet me where I am, but not to leave me there. Not once have I set aside this time for Him when He’s not been there for all of it.
Reflecting on the past is beneficial in several ways:
1) It’s a clear demonstration of where I started and where I now am. People like me need to see progress sometimes—forward movement, some fruit for my effort. Reflection provides this. Journaling is a great way to see your journey.
2) It’s a clear lesson in what not to do. Choose not to make the same mistakes. Someone once said the definition of insanity is to do the same thing again but expect a different outcome. Learn the right lesson from past failures—check.
3) It’s dead. Leave it buried. While reflection on past failures and triumphs can be beneficial, don’t live there. Nothing can change what has already happened. In light of failures, in particular, leave them dead and buried and move forward. Too many get sympathy when sharing past difficulties. This can become a deadly trap, a deterrent to emotional and spiritual growth. Grieve, repent, receive forgiveness, and let go. Being a perpetual victim is a slap in God’s face; it implies He doesn’t have the power to heal.
4) It’s dead. Leave it buried. Reliving past successes can be a joyous event. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating and testifying of God’s goodness, of miracles, of success in ministry or life. However, don’t leave it at what God did in the past. Rejoice, let go, and move forward. God’s not through with you yet! In His infinite variety, He’s got much more in store if you’ll only set your face on the future with Him. Nothing is more boring that to listen to some successful preacher pontificate about what God “used to do” in his/her ministry. The question always arises in me: “What is God doing in your ministry now?” Often nothing.
Stagnation by living in past successes is just as constipating as living in past failures.
So, here’s the challenge: What will you let go of this year? What step will you take in trusting God? Get alone with Him even a few evenings; set the food, television, phone, computer, and iPod down and get on your face before Him. I guarantee that if you get serious with God, He will get serious with you.
What have you got to lose but stagnation?