The moments when I find myself taking account of my life following Jesus are usually thrust upon me at precisely the times when I have no mental space to assess my thoughts.
You know the feeling…
Christmas! And I am the only single, childless person in this vast melee of lego and mince pies. But there's no time to process because there are three nephews and a niece who need another round of Monopoly deal. Any bookstall! So much to read and so little time! But there's a meeting to go to so I buy the book and dutifully put it on my bookshelf. New year! A resolution or two couldn't hurt. But there are thirteen Bible studies to get to in the first week of January, so that healthy eating plan will have to wait until...well, some other time.
Maybe the time to take stock is the time when I decide. And the summer strikes me as the ideal moment. The days are longer, the sunshine has relaxed my shoulders a little and the timetable is lighter. There is space to think. So we thought we'd have a mini series considering ways to reflect on life. In part 2 we'll think about taking a mini retreat.
Today we'll think about how to take stock. We’re talking about purposeful, ordered thinking in conversation with God that helps us to move forward in our lives, embracing growth and change. There are all sorts of ways to do this, and we'll make more suggestions in part 2, but here's my first idea. Let's use the penultimate sermon and passage from 1 Thessalonians.
Jamie helpfully gave us 5 areas of our church life, and our role within it, to think through. Each area had a number of different aspects to it. Reflecting on life could be as simple as working through 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 and prayerfully asking yourself some questions about these…What's the one aspect of each area where you'd like to grow and make progress? Is there I something need to repent of? What change do I need to make, with God's help, to make progress in this area?
When you've worked through all five areas, and have your five priorities, take it one step further and pick the one most important area that you want to bring to the Lord and ask him to enable you to change. Change happens one step at a time and it's always better to keep things simple and focussed.
Look out for part 2, when we'll think about how to take some more extended time to think and reflect, with some practical ideas for a ‘day away.’