It is the time of year that I find it helpful to pause and look inward. Is my life going in the right direction? Are my relationships whole? Is my faith on solid ground? Without my faith passing the test, nothing else works. So, that is where I start. How is my prayer life? Am I growing in my knowledge of God and Scripture?

Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. (2 Corinthians 13:5-6 MSG).

I take an inward look at my habits. How am I treating my body physically and emotionally? Am I doing things that promote health such as regular exercise, eating nutritiously, practicing gratitude? Is there something in my life holding me back? Am I enslaved?

12 Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. (1 Corinthians 6:12 MSG).

Finally, I take an inward look at how my relationships are doing. Am I being an example of Christ’s love? What is God trying to teach me about myself through my relationships?

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end. Love never dies.  (1 Corinthians 13: 3-7 MSG).

I want to enter the new year knowing where I have been and where I need to go. What is God showing me that is next? Am I ready to take the next leap of faith? This practice allows me to see the accomplishements of the year, areas I still need to work on and plan for the future. It centers me. It shows me the ways God has been at work in the previous year. It reminds me that He has me in the palm of his hand.

Are you looking inward and making an assessment before the new year? How does this practice impact your coming year? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.

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