I find reflection difficult. I’m still thinking about lessons learned recently – not just during our month retreat, but in the last several months. A favorite blogger, Emily P. Freeman, encourages, instructs, models this reflection. Here’s my attempt – a practice run!
1 – Stepping away from the busy-ness of life helps me
to see God’s answers to my prayers.
As I reflect on a couple of private prayer conversations I have been having with God for some time, I realize how He has been answering those prayers in ways I didn’t expect. One prayer conversation has been about ministering to others. Recently God affirmed that He is answering that prayer. That affirmation came from different people, different relationships – it was particularly encouraging! I might not have noticed had I not stepped away for a bit, extra quiet and alone time.
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.1 John 4:14 – 15
2 – I have a tendency to reject compliments from others – an ungracious habit.
My husband complimented me the other day and I made a self-deprecating remark to brush it away. He corrected me and it brought to mind how ungracious it is to not receive good words from others. I discussed this briefly with a friend recently. She said someone in her study group had praised her and she struggled to receive that praise. “False humility” isn’t healthy or helpful. Learning to humbly receive a compliment is significant, recognizing that God is the one who gifts us to do good works!
3 – Everyone needs an encouraging word.
Well, duh, you might say! But how many times have you experienced a bit of pity party feeling under-appreciated? I have to admit that I have. I just wanted someone to say thank you – not looking for high praise (see the above lesson I’m learning). Then it dawned on me that others feel the same way. How often do I say thank you for even the simplest of things? In days gone by thank you notes were pretty much the norm. I wasn’t good at them then – but recently I’ve started mailing 3 – 4 notes each month as a response to this lesson – just to say hello, thank you, I appreciate you.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11
4 – It seems no matter when we go away, something goes awry at the house.
Our son, his wife, and two boys live with us. So when we leave our house for extended trips, it is in good hands. But no matter when we go out of town it seems like that’s the time when something will go wrong! This February it was snowmageddon and the water line. In the heat of summer it was the air conditioner. Another trip it was the dishwasher! If it can go wrong, it is a good possibility it will do so when I am out of town!
5 – I realize I have a strong interest in how and why people make political decisions.
In previous years I would have described myself as apolitical. History was my poorest subject in school. I put little effort into it because it did not interest me. Now I am trying to catch up. I need to understand history to understand why our political mess is the way it is today. I am flummoxed by the lack of regard for democracy. I am heart sick that health, safety, education are politicized. I want to understand the motivations, the rationale behind decisions being made. This is a relatively new place for me to be – an emotional adventure.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.Galatians 6:2
6 – When I am stressed, I scroll somewhat mindlessly on social media.
I like technology. I use my phone for a wide variety of things – calendar, notes, Bible reading, music and more. I use my laptop for reading, creating, writing. So I spend a lot of time each day with technology in my hand. That’s not bad – it’s good. But what is regrettable is the time I spend just scrolling through social media. Recently I realize I do that mindlessly when I am stressed. Since I recognized the problem, I’ve been working to correct it.
7 – The more I study Scripture, the more wonder-filled and amazed I am.
On two levels – the writing itself, and the God who reveals Himself – WOW! In our theology cohort I am learning about the writing itself, the literary techniques, the skill with which the authors wrote, word choice, phrasing, structure, and more. I love it – I love learning the technical side of scripture – it enlarges my understanding of who God is. And of course the more I read, study Scripture, the more I see how detailed God is, how merciful, compassionate, how specific He is about His redemptive plan. I can highly recommend digging into Scripture daily to develop your relationship with our God!
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.Romans 15:4
This writing has been more difficult than I imagined. But I look forward to trying it again in a few months! My goal is a seasonal reflection!
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.2 Corinthians 3:18