I usually do a review of the past year in the last few days of December and then come up with a theme and focus for the year on 1st January. However, this year I did not feel ready because of a stressful Christmas - we discovered that my husband had Covid on Christmas eve, which significantly changed the way we were able to celebrate with my family in Germany; later there were problems with an airline ticket, which still need sorting...
So a video message I received from John Eldredge at the end of the year was very timely: “Just because the calendar flips, does not necessarily mean anything... You may still be in themes and in processes ... We’re all moving so fast... we hardly even linger... Whether it is good, bad, frustrating, hopeful ...allow your soul some space of transition... not expecting, demanding, forcing your soul to have goals and resolutions and be all excited about ’24...”
I decided to take some extra time processing the past year. I made a list of 24 questions, and then my husband (who has thankfully fully recovered), our friend and I spend a few meaningful hours drawing out questions at random and answering and discussing them over 3 days. Here are the questions we discussed:
Which habits are hindering us?
What worked well and is worth continuing?
Which activities do we need to drop or change?
Where is God in our lives right now?
What projects seem worth exploring?
What were the biggest disappointments?
What do we need to focus on in the coming weeks?
What did we change our minds on?
Where did we grow?
How have we used our gifts?
What did we not do because of fear and what were the consequences?
Looking back, what did we make of our watchword for the year?
Which habits have helped us?
What lessons did we learn?
What do we regret?
There are a few more questions I want to journal about this week:
What themes/patterns did I notice?
What are my favourite memories?
What and who am I grateful for?
What activities, people, or projects consistently created energy?
What activities, people, or projects consistently drained my energy?
What accomplishments am I most proud of?
What helpful habits have I dropped?
What needs tweaking?
I find that when I take the time to step back and (re-)frame, I always discover something interesting – this is true for life, as well as art. Using a small 8” x 8” frame helped me discover an interesting abstract in a diary painting I had recently created in a course.
May this year be rich in blessings and unexpected discoveries for you.