That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered together. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. In the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him followed him, and when they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came to do.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
2018 was a year of contemplation for me.
Several short weeks ago, as the beginning of a New Year approached, I found myself reflecting on many things; not only which had taken place this particular year, but throughout my lifetime. I realize many people often do this, especially at a close of the year or at a milestone event; but truthfully, I have generally avoided this practice.
Yes, I reflect. Yes, I look back with great fondness on the joy. Yes, I grieve over any disappointments. And yes, I even grow a little introspective.
But I’ve have never really enjoyed contemplating what it all has meant.
This year, however, I carved out some dedicated “intentional” time to evaluate, lament, and rejoice over much of what has transpired in those 365-24 hour days x 50+ years.
Surprisingly, it was not as horrid as I’d imagined!
There were many hugs & blessings I was able to rejoice over – even during the sometimes painful struggles.
Ultimately this experience, of paging through the catalog of my life, has left me feeling one very important thing…
So now, when people ask me, “How are you?“ and I automatically reply, as our Pastor has encouraged us to do, “I’m blessed!” It is no longer just something to cleverly reply…..
I (now) can sincerely and boldly proclaim this to be true!
Not because I know it, but because I feel it!
Going through this “Me Review” has helped me to examine my life currently and become more conscious of where I desire to go. I am learning to give myself permission to no longer engage with the people or things which have often made me feel bad about myself (Matthew 10:12-14.) And I am consciously working on my courage – by making concrete efforts to reach goals I have set for myself; but have not yet achieved, for far too long!
In Mark’s gospel passage, at the very beginning of this post, Jesus is beginning his ministry of healing and preaching. He rises early to pray. When his disciples find him, he informs them that they must leave to proclaim the message in the neighboring towns because…
that is what he came to do.Mark 1:38
Even though I enjoyed this process of taking the time to evaluate & contemplate what “all this has meant” in my life I do not think I will venture to do it again. Mostly because I do not believe we are called to dwell on the past. However, I did make important discoveries along the way for which I am extremely grateful! The most important was…this year I must plan to stop and ask often:
“Jesus, what am I here to do?”
And I hope as I take the time to listen to what God’s call for me in 2019 is that the Lord will, as he did with his apostles, be my companion.
Because as I draw nearer to him I discover I have more power to do good among those he has given me to love and serve – WITH HIM – than I’d ever imagined I could alone.
So as I work, play, and especially as I pray know that…
“I am willing, Lord.
No matter where you are taking me.”
hugs n’ blessings for all the goodness He has shown to me throughout the years. I do hope you will find time this year, to count your blessings too!