Looking back and launching forward | Teen Life Christian Youth Articles, Daily Devotions

Looking back and launching forward

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Why you should start 2016 by reflecting on 2015

As 2016 begins, it’s easy to get excited about starting a fresh new year. Maybe we want to leave behind old mistakes and bad habits, maybe we want to try something new this year, and maybe we are just ready to see what God has in store for 2016! Whatever it is, January always comes with a sense of wiping our slate clean. A great way to start off the New Year is remembering the lessons God taught you in 2015 and reflecting on the blessings of God.

Don’t forget

The anticipation of the New Year is always so exciting. Yet in our excitement, it is easy to forget to stop and see just how much of an impact the past year has had on our life. The purpose of reflection is never for us to get stuck in the past. Rather, it is meant for thankfulness and refreshment. In order to leap forward, we have to reflect back. Being the people that we are, it is so easy for us to forget very quickly about what the Lord has done for us.

Look at the example of the Israelites. They saw ten HUGE miracles and prayers answered. Yet once they crossed the Red Sea, it’s as if they had a major case of forgetfulitis, losing all memory of what their glorious God had done. Without remembering, it turned into complaining and idolization. Peter had the same case of forgetfulitis. He told Jesus after all they had been through, he would never deny him. Yet that roster crows, and what do we see Peter doing? Denying Christ.

God uses our years

God had used just about every year of my life to teach me lessons. Some are fun and some are hard lessons to learn. But I know one thing: if I do not stop to reflect on the lessons learned, I go into the next year having to learn the same lessons over and over again. It’s like learning to ride a bike: When we first learn, we put training wheels. Then our parents take one off, and will hold on until we get our balance down. When we master that, they will take both wheels off and “let us go” by ourselves. But more often than not, in that learning process, we fall down. I have scars to prove how any times I fell of my bike when I was trying to learn how to ride it.

I practiced everyday so that I remembered what it felt like to balance on a bike. Once I took a week off from trying. I hopped back on, and fell right down in the gravel. OUCH. It was straight back to having my parents guide me again. But the more I practiced, the easier it got. Now of course, I can jump back on a bike and within a few seconds, I can get the hang of it. God loves us, is patient with us, and will walk with us at our pace. He is willing to wait and reteach us as many times as we need it. How great if we we put into practice that which we learn and, He can let us soar into new and greater things!

Thank God

 By remembering to look back at what God has done for us, through us, and to us can actually launch us forward in to all he has for the next year. Look back at how much you have grown as a person in 2015! Thank the Lord for the blessings and lessons in 2015, and anticipate for ever more lessons and greatness in 2016.

Proverbs tells us to keep the lessons we learn and the blessings we have with us. We are to “Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.” This keeps us grateful, but also helps us to remember just how great our God is. The wonders of the Lord are all around us, and with a little reflection we can see how great he has been to us. He has carried us through 2015, and by taking to heart all he has done, we can only expect an awesome year full of lessons and blessings from our awesome God.