"For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; ... And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).
It's Christmas Eve again. I so look forward to our family gathering tonight. A few weeks ago, my daughter-in-law asked whether I had some favorite photos from Christmas 2011 when we last spent Christmas Eve together in San Francisco. She asked me for 5-6 photos and I sent her 20. She selected some and made a page for her album. Every chance we can spend as a family is so special. I am so blessed with my family and in-laws. But I would not have lasting love, peace and joy if I did not take stock of my life 25 years ago. I still do that every year.
Take Stock of Your Life
2014 is around the corner! Ancient Romans named the month of January for Janus, their god of gates, doors and beginnings. Always pictured with two faces -- one looking toward the future, the other back at the past -- Janus is a fitting symbol for the turning of a new year.
As we step through the doorway from one year to the next, it's natural to do as Janus does: look back and ahead. But this year, instead of just reflecting on the past year or making New Year's resolutions, consider spending some time to take stock of your life.
Who are you? What do you believe? What do you really need?
When we discover who we really are, we stop living on auto-pilot and start to live with intention, focus and purpose. Our choices become clearer. We begin to make active choices in our life, instead of making excuses or passively living with the status quo.
Here are a few questions to get you started. Have a journal or some way to record your thoughts. (Writing by hand keeps you in touch with your breath and your heart.)
• What is aching to be expressed?
• What needs healing?
• What unique gifts, talents and skills do you bring to the world? How are you using them (or not)?
• Who do you need to forgive? How about yourself?
• What beliefs are holding you back or getting in your way?
• What can you let go of in your life?
• What makes you happy?
Don't forget to consider the vital information that other "parts" of yourself are giving you. When you use only your head, your experience of yourself and the world is more limited.
• What is your body telling you? When someone yells at you, does your stomach tie up in knots? Do your shoulders stiffen when you've been too focused on fulfilling others' needs and ignoring your own? Notice the messages your body is giving you.
• Check in with your heart. The heart is the home of what is most alive in us. What does your heart have to say about your job? Your relationships? About how you spend your days? Does it need more play time? Is something missing? What, according to your heart, really matters?
• Listen to your intuition, your "gut." Your intuition speaks volumes, but often gets ignored. What is this voice saying now? What are you yearning for? What voices are you listening to? Don't forget: If you are in Christ, you are a New Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Would you like to walk in the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16) moment by moment to live out your new life?
Don't forget to notice what you already have that is working. Acknowledge and give thanks for the gifts and the beauty and the miracles that are in your life right now. Write them down.
Tell the truth. Now is the time to start being honest about who you really are. Encouraging those unlived parts of ourselves to emerge can provide an exhilarating sense of discovery and optimism for the New Year and beyond.
"Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, Youare God ... So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:1-12).
Author's content used with permission, © Claire Communications