I am taking a break for a couple of days from sharing about my mentors from past generations to focus on the New Year. For tax purposes, at the end of each year, I take an inventory of the books I have sold through the year and the existing inventory I have in stock. Hopefully, it will be easier this year since I have sold many fewer books because of COVID, but inevitably, each year I cannot get the inventory to balance. In some cases, I seem to have books missing, in others, I have more left than what my records show I have sold. Sometimes I take hours trying to reconcile the books and balance the ledgers.
Spiritually, end of year is a good time to take inventory of our life and try to reconcile the books and get our life into balance. It has been my practice for decades to do so such an inventory of my life at the end of each year. I keep a journal in which I record the significant happenings each month of the year. I make a list of the greatest trials or difficulties of the past year (not hard to do this year for any of us). Then I make a list of the greatest blessings or joys of the year (sometimes we have to work at this). I do the trials first, get them out of the way and concentrate on counting the blessings and joys.
I also make a list of the goals or desires I want to accomplish for the coming year, as well as assess if I accomplished my goals and desires for the prior year. And if not, why not? (COVID provides a good excuse for the why nots this year). As I am doing all of this, I am praying and assessing the year as a whole—what I have learned, what I didn’t do so well and why, what I did well and why, and what is God saying to me through it all. Then I make a list—very tentatively of what I want to accomplish in the coming year—focusing on not what I want, but what God wants.
COVID has thrown a wrench into everything this year, but we have to be careful that we don’t blame everything on COVID. What it really comes down to is, are we better spiritually and emotionally through all of the roller-coaster ride? Are we finishing the year well in our spiritual growth and our attitudes? Are we adapting in Christ-like ways to the drastic shaking within our lives? Are we forgiving and being forgiven? Are we maintaining hope in the midst of the chaos around us? Are we overcoming our losses and focusing on gaining Christ (Philippians 3:1-14)? Are we looking forward and not backward? The jury is still out on some of these in my life.
The important thing is to let God pick us up from our failures and blows that have knocked us over. Let God breathe a breath of new life into us when we have had breath knocked out of us. Let God heal the hurts, right the wrongs, recover the losses. Trust God to cause all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28). He who has begun a good work in you will complete It until Christ returns (Philippians 1:6).