Can you believe it's almost 2022?! It seems like just yesterday we were all counting down the minutes until 2021, setting our new goals and anxiously awaiting a better, more hopeful year. Well, the time has come yet again to reflect on this past year and what God has revealed to us. Before all the goal setting and New Year's resolutions, we must set aside some time to thoughtfully consider the spiritual lessons we've learned this year, or just observations in general.
We'd like to invite you to this reflection exercise as a way to put aside distractions, reconnect with God, and give Him space to speak with you. It can be so easy to let the busyness of this season sweep us up into a frenzy of work and parties. Don't get us wrong—we love this time of year and all the festivities it brings, but we believe there's something special and almost sacred about the end of a year. It invites us to pause and consider how we've grown, before we can embark on a new, exciting chapter.
Here are 4 end of the year reflection prompts for you to consider.
1. What am I most proud of this year?
"Which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth." ~ Colossians 1:6
This question can be a hard one, especially if we rely on our own works. Perhaps there are many situations we're proud of this year, but what really matters is our reliance on Christ and our relationship with Him. Can you think of an instance where you encountered something really tough, but you leaned on God to get you through? That, in and of itself, is a beautiful thing—something to be proud of. When we put our trust in God, we have a firm foundation. Consider Matthew 7:24-25, "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock."
Prayer prompt: There are so many ways I doubt myself, Lord. I doubt myself and your promises to me, too. Looking back on my year, please reveal to me an area of growth. Bring to light a situation where your Holy Spirit was with me, where I overcame those doubts and leaned on you for understanding. No matter what, I know you were always with me. Whether this was a fairly good year or an incredibly difficult one, your presence was what I needed to get me through these challenges. Thank you, Jesus, for always being with me.
For further reflection and study on growth and spiritual maturity, visit 2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 5:4, and Colossians 1:10.
2. What lessons did I learn?
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” ~ 2 Peter 3:18
How was this year for you? Did you learn anything new or significant? If nothing really stands out, take a couple moments of silence and just focus on the events of this past year. What is the Lord revealing to you? Anything stand out? If you still can't think of anything, we suggest asking your loved ones if they've seen any growth in you. Sometimes it helps to bring in another perspective. No matter what, we bet the Lord has been moving in your life, even if you don't realize it.
Prayer prompt: How may these lessons I've learned help me grow in my apprenticeship to you, Lord? I trust that you have been at my side this whole year, and you've continued to equip me with courage and wisdom to make the right decisions. I pray that I would continue to seek out your wisdom, that I would not rely on my own insight alone, but I would invite you into this season of growth. Bless this new year and everything that lies ahead. May I continue to grow in dependence on you, as I know that true fellowship is about recognizing my need for you, not how strong or able I am on my own.
For further study reflection and study on lessons learned, check out Proverbs 2:6-8, James 1:5, and James 3:17.
3. What's been my biggest disappointment?
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17
This is a difficult question, as we grapple with our biggest disappointments. Life doesn't always seem very fair or just, and some years can be harder than others. What do we do when we've been let down? How do we move forward, beyond disappointment? How do we move forward from a lost job, a broken dream, a financial insecurity, or even the death of a loved one? How do we learn to trust that God has a purpose and His timing is perfect? It's not easy. This is when we look to Scripture for words of encouragement. We look to Psalm 46:1-3, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."
Consider some of the biggest names of the Bible—Moses, Job, David, or even the disciples. They were real people who experienced true disappointment. We can learn from their stories, as they expressed trust and praise to God, even in the darkest of times. A spirit of thanksgiving truly is the key to overcoming disappointment. It's okay to be sad, and to express your true feelings to God. He wants us to be open and honest with Him. However, you'll notice every Psalm about lament always ends in praise, and that's a roadmap for us, too. "Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning." ~ Psalm 30:5
Prayer prompt: As we sit with our disappointment, it can be hard to imagine a brighter future, but we know that you promise us exactly that. God, you have a knack for taking broken circumstances and transforming them into something truly beautiful. We've seen your work time and time again—throughout the Bible, and our own lives, too. Please meet us in our disappointment, and allow us to hope again. Open our eyes to all that you have to offer. Allow us to share this message of hope with others in this season, God.
For further reflection and study on disappointment, check out Jeremiah 29:11, John 14:2-3, and Philippians 1:6.
4. What have I learned about God this year?
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." ~ 2 Peter 3:9
Arguably one of the most important questions to ask yourself, we invite you to consider what you've learned about God's character. After all, through the ups and downs of life, God is revealing Himself to us in many ways. This journey of discipleship is all about finding God in our everyday, seemingly mundane lives. Look out for the little blessings, the words from a loved one that hold meaning, or if you're fortunate, God may make His voice to you abundantly clear!
Prayer prompt: Open our eyes to who you are, Jesus. We desire to know you and be like you. We thank you for revealing yourself to us through our many experiences this past year, and we pray you would continue to show us who you are. Remind us that you are a God who is with us. You never leave us alone. You never forsake us. As Psalms 23 states, "The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me besides still waters. He restores my soul." Give us a spirit of gratitude this season, Lord, that we may not focus on what we're lacking in life, but all of the lessons and blessings you have provided us with. Amen.
For further reflection and study on God's character, check out James 1:17, Hebrews 13:8, and 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Reflect & Remember
Jesus is always inviting us closer to Him—through our experiences and through the stories we read in Scripture. We trust God has done some pretty amazing things in your life this past year, and we invite you to take some time to reflect on the great work He is doing in you, and will continue to do. As a constant reminder of God's unfailing love, check out our shirts featuring your favorite verses, phrases, imagery, and words of encouragement.