It’s that time of year again—the time when I reflect on the year that has been. I’m going to follow a structure in my reminiscing which will be as follows:
- In this post I will think about my own personal life, and in particular my relationship with God.
- In the next post I will consider my family.
- Then I will consider my church.
- Finally, I will spend some time reviewing the blog.
This order truly does reflect the relative priority I place on each aspect of my life.
I find this whole process sets me nicely in the mood to then switch off totally over Christmas and into January. Although I myself will continue my break, beginning on January 1st, thanks to my editor, Annette, we will be publishing a particular series of posts that I have already written and sent to her.
You will notice that there is a clear omission from my list—my job. This is because I don’t like to mix my work and my blog. I’m keen to keep my professional life entirely separate from this hobby I carry out in my spare time. This is not because I don’t enjoy my job—I very much do. It’s just wise to keep some boundaries of separation between the multiple domains of my life.
I am a very busy person, although I’m sure I would have it no other way. If I have some spare time, I tend to fill it with something. I’m not a great believer in simply staring blankly into space! I try to make time for entertainment and relaxation also. Managing my competing responsibilities is all about making the most of every second available to me, and where possible, recycling time or effort so it benefits me in more than one way. Thus, I try not to re-invent the wheel, and find that things I’m thinking about in one aspect of my life often pop up in another area in a surprising way to help me there.
As I end the year, I am painfully aware that the person who can get squeezed out at times is the One Person who makes it all possible, and who is my top priority. I can honestly say that this year I have been better at taking time to pray and truly listening to what God has to say to me personally in his Word than I have in the past. But I do need more extended times when I forget all my other responsibilities and focus only on him. January will be a month very much devoted to that goal, alongside the responsibilities that I cannot lay down for such a season. I am looking forward to a weekend retreat that will help greatly, and by not blogging for several weeks, I will have some time to accomplish this on a daily basis.
If I don’t make sure that I am connected to God, filled by God, thrilled by God, and empowered by God, I simply can’t get those things done which God intends for me to do. Being well-oiled by the Spirit of God makes all the difference to everything else I do. I very much notice the negative effects on every area of my life when I have rushed this, or when I am shamefully treating God like just another drain on my time.
The good news is that although I am now, like many of you, in real need of a rest, I end this year significantly less worn out and weary than I think I was at this time of year in the last few years. While 2007 has been busy, I have been better at pacing myself and taking time out when I needed it. I still do far more than I sometimes think I ought to be doing. But I’m learning to say “No!” and, where possible, I’ve handed over things I don’t have to do myself.
When we know we are doing God’s work, then we can be confident that he will give us all we need to accomplish that work. I wear many hats, all of which he has given me—blogger, writer, doctor, father, husband, preacher, church leader, coach, friend. I need to make sure that I take off all those hats more often and just get before God in prayer as his son.
If you can spare some time, please do pray for me that 2008 will be a year when I learn how to pray more effectively than I currently know how to, and live in more obvious and active dependence on the One to whom I owe everything.
May God help me to continue all I do in the power that his Spirit supplies.