We are halfway through 2017 and before we hit the end of another year I wanted to repost a blog I wrote at the end of 2016. The mid-point is a great time to look in the mirror and see how we are doing on a self-care and spiritual growth this year. So here's a little reminder...
We’ve made it to the end of another year, and this new year brings the opportunity for new beginnings. Before we set goals and resolutions for this next 365 days, let’s take time to look at where we’ve been and what was accomplished over the last 12 months. But wait . . . let’s make this assessment, not about our ministries or churches, but our ourselves. Let’s ask some self-assessing holistic questions. Let’s do a 365-spin, an inside-out look, in the self-assessment mirror and assess our whole selves.
God created each of us as spiritual beings with a soul that lives in a body. We want to make sure we are taking care of every part of His creation. When we work in the Church it is easy to lose track of our spiritual health but because we use this the most, it is essential that we stay spiritually healthy. So, let’s ask ourselves:
Did you spend time in worship when you weren’t working?
Did you take study time that wasn’t connected to preparing for a lesson or a talk?
If ministry stopped right now, would your relationship with God still be one of joyful excitement and engagement?
Are you spiritually strong? Have you stayed spiritually healthy this year?
If you find yourself with nothing to say in prayer, annoyed by the thought of Bible study, and church is now a burden, you might find that this year took a toll on your spiritual health and you want to spend time intentionally resting and rejuvenating as we begin another 12-month journey. On the other hand, you may feel spiritually strong and enthused about your relationship with Christ. Assessing and evaluating this area will let you know if you’re strength is up and you’re ready to move forward, or if you have to do some intentional building of your spiritual self in order to continue to serve others from a healthy place.
God gave us a soul that consists of our mind, will, and emotions. The soul is the part of us that makes us special as individualized beings. It is the part that gives us our personality and often dictates the decisions we make every day. What soul strengthening did you do this year? Maybe you started therapy. Maybe you strengthened a journal habit. Maybe you forgave someone or something that was controlling your emotions and habits. Maybe you learned how to differentiate your wants from God’s will. Maybe you learned how to control your thoughts so they wouldn’t lead to non-productive behaviors. Whatever it is, did your mind, will, and emotions grow healthier over the last 365 days? Proverbs 4:23 warns us to, above everything else, guard our hearts because everything else concerning our lives flows from it. If your heart has been strengthened, stressed, or strained this year, every decision flows from that emotional space. As we enter a new year, this is a great opportunity to make a self-assessment and ensure that your decisions are being made from a healthy place.
The spirit and soul are housed in our physical bodies so this is a great time to assess how we did physically this year. While our bodies carry the ministry God has given us, this can be the most neglected area of our lives. We get busy and forget to eat, eat too late, drink too much caffeine, don’t get enough sleep, don’t drink enough water and the list goes on! Did you take care of yourself this year? How did the exercise goals do? Did you do better with your water intake? How about those eating habits? What health habits can be improved as you start out the new year? Even if there were health challenges this year, this is a great time to be honest with ourselves (and even if we avoid the scale while doing it) and assess the care we give to our bodies.
If you didn’t meet your goals from last year, or maybe even years before, self-assessment may seem like a difficult or pointless practice. But, even if the goal wasn’t met, this is a good time to encourage yourself by evaluating any progress that was made. And if after honest evaluation there was no progress, this is a great opportunity to evaluate why and perhaps re-write the goal with smaller steps. Make your goals about continual progress and stay encouraged when you see forward movement. As we move into the new year, let’s all take time to assess where we are and put realistic goals in mind to move us forward.