One of the pillars of the spiritual life that we encourage leaders to consider is the discipline of reflection. Accompanying our personal and community time in the Scriptures and in prayer, reflection is best seen in the ways we “remember and give thanks” to God for the life of abundance he invites us to embrace each new day. On our soul care retreats and in our spiritual formation groups we teach the importance of reflection, specifically through the ancient practice of “Daily Examen.”
As you anticipate the start of a new year, it’s good for your soul to look back with gratitude on 2014 and ahead with anticipation for all that awaits you in 2015. Here are a few suggestions to consider as you spend a few quiet moments with the Lord in the midst of your New Year celebrations…
1. Spend some quiet time with the Lord and simply become aware of God’s presence. Quiet your hurried heart and ask God to bring clarity to your reflections.
2. Review the past year with gratitude, recalling the gifts God gave to you in 2014. Gifts from God might include new or renewed relationships, special events or experiences, etc.
3. Pay attention to the emotions that these recollections evoke; what remembrance of this past year brings fear, joy, anxiety, sorrow or elation? Note these in written form.
4. What one major event of the past year stands out among the rest? Pray through and process how it has shaped you either positively or negatively.
5. Look ahead to 2015. What are your expectations, hopes and dreams for the New Year? List them in your journal and pray over them on the first few days of the New Year.
God bless you as you partake of this prayer-filled, year-end Examen.