Ten Questions to Help You Make the Most of 2016
I tend to begin a new year the same way I begin a new month, which is to say, by flipping a calendar and getting on with life. I’ve never been one to set resolutions or goals, mostly because I’m truly terrible at following through with them, which sends me on a guilty spiral. Sometimes I have ideas, and sometimes I act on those ideas, but unless I am intentional, I tend to be more concerned about today’s problems than tomorrow’s opportunities. But I’ve found that pausing for a second around the beginning of each year and taking stock of who I am and how I want to grow in Christlikeness renews my sense of purpose.
We live in the details — what we’ll eat for lunch, what errands we need to run, what housework needs to be done, who we need to check in with, and so on. We’re often too busy trudging through the mountains to stop and take in the majestic view of what God is doing. And unless we stop for a second and intentionally look outside the day-to-day specifics, we’ll keep moving and keep living without making it a point to seek God in our purpose and rhythms of life.
One tool I’ve used to help me pause and dream about how God is working in my life is a list of questions written by Don Whitney. He asks questions about how I spend (or waste) my time, who I want to encourage and prioritize, how I want to grow in my relationships with God and with my family. Nearly every question includes an action step: “What are you going to do about it?” A dream or goal without a next step is just an idea disconnected from everyday life.
I’ve worked through these questions for the past two years, and this year makes the third year for me to spend time in this practice. I’ve seen a lot of growth and change in my life, not because the questions are magical, but because thinking and praying through what God may have for me causes me to live more intentionally.
I recently looked through what I wrote at the beginning of 2015. Some things haven’t changed, but there are other things the Lord has answered in a bigger way than I expected. At the beginning of the year, I wanted to learn more about how God’s sovereignty and human responsibility come together in the doctrine of election. I read a couple of books that the Lord used to give me a desire to learn more. I wanted to study joy, and (having forgotten that I wanted to study joy) I picked up a book that is encouraging my heart and helping me think about being happy in God.
This new year, I encourage you to pray and consider how you can be intentional right where you are. You don’t have to use these questions, but they may be a helpful tool for you as you grow in following Christ and making disciples.