Tuesday, January 4

Before Moving Ahead, Take Time to Reflect

This is the time of year when people set New Year Resolutions. I have always been a "goal-setter", so making resolutions is almost a default mode for me. I will have some resolutions for 2011. But before I look ahead, I like to look back at the year just finished and see what themes may have developed. Looking back on 2010, these themes seem to sum up my year:

Blessing – It was a year of being blessed beyond what I deserve. That starts, of course, with God’s grace for a sinner like me. More and more I’m aware of my dependence on Him. It includes my family – from my beautiful, gracious, and patient wife to my wonderful daughters (and the men they married). It includes my ministry: Seeing God work in the lives of students from around the world and sharing that experience with a great staff, some incredible students, and prayer and financial partners - people and churches who share our vision of reaching students and influencing the world. It also includes what I do with track and field: From getting to head events in 2010 where World and American records were set to being selected for a couple of prestigious honors by USA Track and Field. On top of all of that, the response of friends and family to my birthday water project was overwhelming. Almost 70 people gave $5052 to help provide clean drinking water in a developing nation. In 2010, my cup definitely overflowed.

Responsibility – 2010 presented me with growing areas of opportunity and responsibility. I’m serving in leadership with local, state, and national organizations of various kinds. I’m excited about the purposes and potential these opportunities present, but they are responsibilities with which I have been entrusted and that I take seriously.

Communication – One of the big themes in my spiritual life this year was learning to listen more carefully to and walk more purposefully with the Holy Spirit. I have to be careful not to be so intent on my task of leading that I fail to listen and look to see where God is leading. But I also found that I didn’t do as good of a job as I should have in communicating in some of my areas of responsibility. There were times when I wasn’t on the same page as those working with me because I didn’t do a good enough job of casting vision and clarifying purpose.

Harried – Because of the blessings, opportunities, and responsibilities I have sometimes felt harried and scattered. As a result, I have often let urgent needs crowd out the important values of my life and ministry. I haven’t always been able to do things to the best of my ability because I have been trying to do too many things.

Those are the themes I see as I look back on my 2010. What about you? Looking back, what do you see as recurring themes of your past year? What things did God try to communicate to you?

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