Look how much you’ve grown!
It can be really hard to see change and growth as it happens. It’s not till you see old friends or look back at old photos that you realise how much the kids have grown or how you have changed over the years.
This is also true, I think, of our own lives as we aim to follow Jesus and grow to be more like him.
At this time of year we often use the language of having ‘a great year of spiritual growth’, or the ‘best year ever’. And on one level that can be a bit disheartening – like looking at one more mountain to climb, one more expectation to put on ourselves.
If you feel like this, a helpful thing to do might be to look back over the last year or two and see where you have come from. You may need some help from a spouse or a close friend to see the changes, but think about how you have grown already. Think about the ‘fruit of the spirit’ (see Galatians 5) – that is, the way our lives grow when we follow Jesus. Have you grown in your love, peace, kindness, gentleness, self-control etc.? Are you working on your anger (with the kids/traffic…)? Are you noticing when you disengage from your family and friends and turning to social media. Are doing something about it? Do you find it easier to go without, in order to help someone in need?
Look for the ‘wins’, small and big, and thank God for them as you see yourself being transformed by the grace of Jesus. (Now if you really can’t identify any growth or change, well… this may be a wake-up call to see what and who is really shaping your life. We never just drift into this kind of growth). But as you pray and plan for this year – remember to thank God for bringing you this far, and commit yourself to him to keep growing you in 2019.