I love January. My husband does some duck hunting and it gets quiet at my house. The decorations are put away and the tables are stark for one month before the clutter begins again to accumulate. It gets cold and I stay home a few more days than usual. And while I’m home, before the calendar turns to February, I review my prayer journal, looking back over the previous year one more time, this time with an eye on my own spiritual growth.
It is the only time in the year when I really journal. Prayerfully, humbly, honestly, I sit and write it all out, answer every question, and relive pockets of time from the past year. It helps me. It helps me to remember events, and it helps me to remember God. Most of all, it helps me to be thankful.
The questions? Here you go:
- What was the most influential book you read all year other than the Bible? Why? I love looking back over what I’ve read all year and revisiting some favorite stories, characters, and lessons.
- What was the time God spoke most clearly to you all year? I don’t want a year when God doesn’t speak to me.
- What was your greatest praise of the year? One more opportunity to thank Him.
- When was the time you felt closest to Christ all year? Usually tied closely to the time I heard Him clearly – not in an audible voice you understand, but hearing Him in my heart.
- What was your best time of service? Often a surprise to me once I reflect and think it through.
- What has been your favorite lesson learned from the Bible or Bible studies this past year? This one makes me be deliberate, intentional, and narrow it down.
- What would you say was your #1 step of spiritual growth? This is the one that takes me the longest – did I even have any spiritual growth this year?
- What was your deepest conviction that led to confession? Ugh, am I really going to write this down?
- What is your first goal for the new year? I am not one for resolutions but I do know what is top of the list if I had a list.
When I am finished, a profound sense of gratitude enters my heart and I am ready to leave the last year where it is and move ahead.
Thank you, January. Hello, February.