Yes, just one more post concerning 2020, but this one also includes questions to reflect on for the year ahead (or the 2/3 of the year ahead, as the case may be). If you are completely done with reading my "reflecting on 2020" posts, I don't blame you one bit. I'm doing this for my own use and I certainly don't want to bore anyone, so feel free to skip this post if you are done with 2020 meanderings. I plan on this being the last one!
These reflection questions are from Denise Cunningham at RefreshHer. If you are not familiar with Denise, she is a pastor's wife and a much-loved speaker at women's events. Her blog is such a blessing -- a mix of spiritual counsel and solid advice on marriage, parenting, and homemaking. She has some of the best recipes out there, too!
I used these ten questions last year and found them so helpful! They are a little more detailed than the 10 questions I shared earlier, and I like that they also ask about the year ahead. So here goes:
1. What hindered my spiritual growth last year? What moved it forward?
I'm not sure that my spiritual growth was hindered much in 2020. I did find that my prayer life was disrupted a good bit by my summer walking schedule, when my walking partner wanted to head out at 6 am. She was wise to want to go then, before the heat and humidity kicked in, but it still wreaked havoc with my schedule. However, though my prayer life was disrupted, I did still stay consistent with it.
As far as what moved my spiritual growth forward, I think that God used the coronavirus restrictions in a number of ways to promote my spiritual growth. For one thing, while our church was closed, we were able to attend "Sunday School" and "church" online, from various sources and we got some very, very encouraging truths and great teaching in that way. I also did a number of Scripture writing challenges last year that kept me in God's Word and strengthened me in Him. Then, I also believe that the whole political/virus scene strengthened my faith and trust in God. The pandemic also helped me to assess my priorities and to realize that my relationships -- with God, my family, my church family, and friends -- were of primary importance and were far more necessary than compliance to arbitrary restrictions. Another means to spiritual growth this year was a ladies' Bible study that I attended monthly.
2. What did God teach me last year?
As mentioned above, the importance of relationships. But also, He taught me just how little control I have over anything in my world -- and how I can trust Him, the only One who is sovereign over all things and is working them after the counsel of His own will. He also reminded me that we never know what a day may bring forth, and that life can turn upside down in a heartbeat, so staying close to Him is the way to be prepared for whatever comes our way.
|Image from Rachel Wojo|
3. What did I see God do in answer to my prayers last year?
I saw Him answer many, many prayers for Him to work in the lives of those we are mentoring, in many different areas of their lives. I saw Him bring healing to the lives of several who were very ill indeed -- and yet I saw Him answer prayers for others by bringing them Home to be with Him. They were restored to health, just not in the way I had hoped for. I also saw God provide a new job for a friend who was becoming burned out in the job where she was. I saw Him answer countless prayers for guidance and wisdom. He also answered prayers for safe, uneventful cross-country travel and provided times of refreshment through fellowship with friends and getaways.
4. To whom did I give my life the most? Does this need to change?
First and foremost, I gave my life to God, then my husband and family. I also gave myself to others by investing my time, energy, thoughts, and prayers in them -- especially to those we are mentoring but also to the ladies in my Sunday School class. I don't think that any of that needs to change.
5. What activities did I participate in that I need to repeat this year? Which activities should I consider removing from my schedule?
I realized that I'm not exactly sure what was meant by "activities." I initially took this to mean anything that I do outside of my homemaking, family, and ministry life. But I noticed that things like social media are covered in a different question, so I'll say activities I participated in included: mentoring younger believers, showing hospitality; daily walks with a friend; attending a ladies' Bible study; a couples' retreat with my husband; and of course activities with family and friends.
|Scene from a retreat/getaway this fall -- love the color combination!|
I'd like to continue all of these activities this year and hopefully attend a ladies' retreat as well.
6. What did I read last year?
|One of the books I read in 2020; it was excellent.|
7. Did I spend too much time on social media, television, or Netflix? Do I need to set limits for myself?
I think I'm okay with all of these. I consider my blogs a ministry, thought technically I suppose they are social media. I don't really view them that way. I find myself spending less and less time on Instagram.
I never watch TV at home, only very occasionally on a getaway. We might watch an hour of news on the internet on a typical day. Since we don't watch TV, I consider this a reasonable amount of news -- and it is accurate!
|My sadly neglected Christmas blog|
Writing and blogging; cooking, baking, and seasonal decorating; crafts like sewing, crochet, embroidery, cross-stitch and paper crafting.
|A stack of crocheted hot mats|
Probably not! I walked a lot, perhaps not every day, but most days, all year round. I do, however, feel the need for more targeted exercise. As to what could motivate me to do more, I'm motivated in mind and even in body, but I just need to carve out the time and do the work.
|A scene from one of my daily walks|
10. What area of my life brought the most joy? The most frustration?
Most joy -- serving God through hospitality, mentoring, teaching, writing -- and just plain being creative. Crafting brings me so much joy! There is much joy in my relationship with my hubby as well. And we are both finding a lot of joy in fixing up our little cottage, especially the frequent presence of the grandkids.
Most frustration: Housework. It just won't stay done! Maybe this will be the year I'll get a new handle on that responsibility.
And there you have it! I promise this is my last "new year" post until 2022!