Friday, January 07, 2011

Reflection Precedes Resolutions...

Why do people make New Year's Resolutions? What fuels such "solutions" that are often seeming infused with very little resolve. In fact, according to most studies and surveys, only about 8 percent of Americans successfully achieve and follow-through on their New Year's resolutions. An overwhelming (or rather 'underwhelming') 45 percent fail by the end of January!

Regardless of all the sub lining reasons to this, I think part of the dilemma is that we start looking at the new year from the wrong vantage point. Often the best way to move forward is to look backwards. As the saying goes, Life is best understood backwards, but it can only be lived forward. In other words, reflection should precede resolutions...

Of all the things Americans make time for, reflection is very rarely one of them. The reasons for this and the consequences thereof could be the subject of numerous posts. In short, the word reflect comes from two Latin words: re, meaning "back," and flectere, meaning "to bend."

"To reflect, then, is to bend back something, like the way a mirror bends back an image, providing an opportunity for a closer look." (Ken Gire in The Reflective Life).
Personally, I have found the practice of reflection to be significant in my life with-God. Reflection(s) captured can serve as points of orientation and direction for the future. Several times a year I get away for a day or two on a personal retreat. One of the things that is always integrated into these times is extended periods of prayerful-listening-reflection.

One of the questions I reflect on is:
  • God, what are the main things You’ve been trying to teach and form within me lately…?
As simple and potentially insightful as this is, I've found that very few people ever take a few moments to ask God this question.

I/we can make any grand resolution of what we will do in the future, it is imperative that we gain an understanding of what God has been endeavoring to produce within us in the recent-present.

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