Last Look Back

I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
    all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
  his great goodness…
Compassion lavished,
    love extravagant.
The Prophet Isaiah

It’s okay to look back at the past, just don’t stare. Benjamin Dover

One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. The Apostle Paul.

Looking back can be an exercise that for many may seem a waste of time when there is so much looming in front of us. And often the past is so painful or difficult, that no one wants to go back there. Some past-focused people do enjoy the sentimentality and history of review, while present-focused people are too busy enjoying the moment and finishing the task. Those waiting for the next fantasy sequel to come out already have their planners filled up, ready to party on. Yet, no matter how you may think about it, the end of the year is on us and New Year’s Day looms with it’s pesky resolutions. So, I offer a soul care resource for personal review. The Great Annual Examen is a healthy way of “forgetting what is behind” as you review 2019, and readies you to “press on” with awareness and gratitude.

PRACTICE: The Great Annual Examen, is a review of the past year, offered by Stephen W. Smith at the Potter’s Inn, a soul care ministry. Find it by clicking on the button link below. Before you get started…

…A few suggestions from my own experience doing this practice: Don’t let it overwhelm you. Give yourself the space of an hour, a quiet place, and a journal. Be prayerful and intentional in seeking the presence of God. Then in Section One, the General Review, look over the questions and choose to answer those that help you to map out big events, relationships, and experiences. Use colored pens or images and be creative and reflective. In Section Two, make a chart or list of the five major categories and again choose questions that you are drawn to use in reflection. Most importantly, end with a time of Gratitude, which will allow you to see your year in light of the goodness of God:

I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
    all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
  his great goodness…
Compassion lavished,
    love extravagant.
Isaiah 63:7 (MSG)
  

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