by Lilly Lewin
I saw something on Instagram today that reminded me that we are in the middle of January. The post asked how everyone was doing on their New Year’s resolutions two weeks in to the new year. Sometimes I feel we rush into the year without a lot of thought. We get really busy putting away the decorations and getting kids back to school and getting back into the rhythm of work and “real life,” and we may or may not have had time to even start any of our planned resolutions. We may not have even had time to think of something we’d like to do to improve or grow into in 2018. And if you are on social media very much, you might be like me and feel the depression set in because you are comparing yourself to all the folks who have their calendars lined out in beautiful calligraphy and their offices re-organized and they are already down 5 pounds since Christmas!
REALITY CHECK! I’m still living in the land of post Christmas (my tree is still up because it’s still drinking water and i just haven’t wanted to take it down) and I found out this week that I shouldn’t start my new exercise plan because my heart test came back showing I need to see the cardiologist pronto! Not really what I’d planned for January! But it’s still the season of Epiphany so we are still in the season of the Light coming to All the World so it’s still time for expectation and receiving gifts. The gift of the New Year is that we can start any time! I actually use the entire month of January to reboot and reflect. For me, getting into the New Year involves taking the time to look back at the old year just passed. I actually take the time to look back at the year by going through my photos. I take lots of photos so it’s a great way to see what I did last year and remember the people and places that were gifts along the way. I am still a paper calendar person, so I look back over the pages of my calendar and see just how my weeks were filled. I write down the events of each month, the travel, hospitality, etc. This helps me see just how busy I’ve been and see the areas I need to be more aware of as I enter the new year. We took the time to do this at thinplaceNASHVILLE on Sunday night. We also looked back at our year as a journey, a path we’ve walked along. I created a visual centerpiece with a round tray and a center candle . The tray was covered in sand and divided into four sections. One section was blank sand, one was covered in rocks, one had pieces of trash/garbage, and the final section had glitter, bows and small wrapped packages. This was our visual to help us reflect on and consider our 2017 journey. You might do this on your own, with your friends, roommates, small group, family or even with your entire community as a journaling activity. You can give people the opportunity to share what they discovered.
Don’t be discouraged about where you are today in the middle of January. It’s a new day and you get a fresh start! For that I am very grateful! And I’m thankful for the opportunity to remember and reflect on last year, so I can walk into 2018 with more clarity.
EPIPHANY PATH by Lilly Lewin
Look at the Center Piece
And consider your Journey in the Past year…Consider the path you’ve been walking.
What were the smooth spots ? Take time to thank God for these.
What were the Rocky Spots? Talk to God about them. Did you feel God’s presence or did God feel absent? Tell God your heart.
Were there times when you felt like you were traveling through trash?
Were there people who threw trash on your path?
Take time to talk to God about this..
Allow God to help you forgive them.
Whose path did you throw trash on this year?
Allow God to forgive you for this.
What were the gifts of this past year?
What were the celebrations that you can be thankful for?
The People, the Places, the Opportunities…..
Take some time and remember.
Take time to feel the joy and the pleasure of those gifts.
Take time to be grateful.
What about the year ahead? How does your path look?
What things do you need for your Journey in 2018? Take time to consider this.
What path are you walking tonight?
Where are you with your walk with Jesus?
Are you following His Star…willing to go where He goes?
Are you stuck in the Palace afraid to leave it?
Are you stuck in old habits afraid you’ll never get out?
Are you willing to leave your comfort zone as the Magi did and go on an Adventure?
Are you walking with Jesus by your side?
Have you even invited Jesus along …is He chasing you? Are you chasing Him? Have you left Him far behind.
Talk to Jesus about where you are today and where you want to go this year.