It's that time of year to look back and wonder where all the time went. My family sent out a collage of pictures for our Christmas card this year, and as we went through our pictures we couldn't believe all that we did this year. No wonder it went so fast. Yet at the same time, I look at my daughter who turned three a couple of months ago and my son, who turns 6 in a week, and I still want to picture them as a newborn and a toddler. Other parents tell me how fast they grow up while they stand beside their teenagers. I guess I was hoping this phase would last longer.
As time has flown on by, it's also time to look back on the resolutions you didn't keep. "I could've done that one if only..." Where did the time, and our goals, go? My job also just had performance reviews. Another chance to look back at opportunities lost or goals not achieved.
Maybe that's not you. Maybe you can look back at your year satisfied at all that happened and in accomplishing all you strove out to do. But chances are, there is still some regret. At least one thing that you didn't do that you wanted to, or did do that you didn't.
So we look ahead to next year. What should we resolve? What should we strive to achieve? Where should we plan to go? If you look back at this past year thinking failure, there's added pressure to make up for it next year. If you look back with contentment, you may feel challenged to even come up with any goals for the coming year. For me, it's like a personal Bible study. Once I finish, I struggle coming up with "what's next."
Either way, we place pressure upon ourselves. We may linger in our regret, or we may be afraid of the future. We may feel pressured to improve our health, our finances, our spirituality. We may have a monkey on our back we want to rid ourselves of, but then comes the follow up question of "how?". Maybe we look ahead and see open doors of opportunity, but are afraid of what's on the other side.
Pressure. Regret. Fear. Anguish.
Interestingly, an antonym of anguish is assurance whose synonyms are goals, hope, promise. At this time of year, the future is before us filled with hope and promise. But our reaction is literally the opposite. Why is that? Is it because our faith is weak? Do we lack in prayer? Do we forget our Creator who "satisfies our desires with good things" (Psalm 103:5)? Or maybe it just because we're too focused on ourselves.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6)
This post is part of a Blog Carnival on the topic of Reflection. Visit Peter Pollock's blog to read more.