Gift Yourself with Some Reflection & Planning Time: Questions to Help You Process

I know, it’s about to be 2019 and there are so many that will run out this month to buy gym memberships or to join a weight loss group, and most will not stick to this 2019 resolution. Why? Because it lacks the appropriate reflection and planning time.

So before you go out and buy yourself a membership somewhere or commit to joining a weekly group of some sort, why don’t you spend some time reflecting on 2018.

Here are some questions to assist you in your 2018 Reflection:

  • What are some of your fondest memories of 2018?
  • What were your top priorities? Did they remain your top priorities? Why or why not?
  • Where did you allow your time to go?
  • What are some of your successes? What made them feel success?
  • What were some of your biggest challenges in 2018? What lessons are you learning from them?
  • Were there any significant obstacles that you overcame? What or who helped you overcome them?
  • If you had goals, what was your worst setback?
  • What are some things that didn’t go so well? Why not? Is there anything you need to change going forward?
  • Did you hold yourself back in any way? Did you allow fear to take over? If so, how?
  • Is there any intentional pruning that might need to happen for me to move forward more productively and healthily?
  • What did you learn about God? Yourself? Others?

Here are some questions to assist you in your 2019 Planning?

  • What has to happen in 2019 for it to be a successful year?
  • What is my compelling why for those happening? (E.g., Will my life be better? If I’m saving, will I be able to buy a newer car? Will I be further along in my education? Will my family feel valued?)
  • What resources might I need to get there? Who might I need to assist me?
  • What behaviours might I need to adopt into my life in order to make 2019 my best year yet?
  • How will I track and measure my effort and achievements?
  • Is there anyone who I can invite into my journey to hold me accountable to the commitments I’m making?

I’m a person who thrives on clarity and planning. Some of the best years of my life have happened because I’ve taken myself through the above type of process. It’s worth it!

I’ve mentioned this before, but I use the bullet journal method. Plus I add a few spreads into either my paper or digital journal that are helpful to me. For example, I always monthly creat habit tracker for the things I’m committed to doing. So, at the end of each day, I will check off whether or not I’ve done the things I wanted to daily do. It works amazingly well! I also create a book reading log to track the books I’ve read and a Saving Log.

So before you go out and attempt to make 2019 New Year’s Resolutions that you will never stick to, give yourself the gift of reflection and planning. You’ll be much better set up for success in your life if you do!

I’d love to hear your reflection and planning process. If you’ve got a series of questions you lead yourself through, feel free to post them in the comment section below or email them to me, Carmen, at

Happy 2019!

Reverend Carmen

The Cross, It’s Teaching Me to Live

A week or so ago, I posted the video to the song The Scandal of Grace by Hillsong. (If you’re curious about the song, it can be found here.) And it was just one more confirmation for me that the journey I’ve been on in 2018 has been to be more like Jesus and to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. But today, something from that song also hit me, it’s the line that says, “the cross has taught me to live.”

Is the cross teaching you to live like it’s teaching me to live? If so, in what ways? Let me share with you some of the ways the cross has taught me to live this last year and is teaching me to live in this current season.

Letting go of the opinions of others was a huge lesson for me this last year. Now that’s not to say that the words of others didn’t at time hurt because they did. But it does mean that I chose over and over again to follow the Way of the Cross which is to let Christ be my defender. I chose to leave people at the foot of the cross, trusting that the same God who was forgiving, loving, and changing me was able also to do that for others. I also learned how to ask for forgiveness when I blew it!

2018 also taught me to believe in God in new ways. You see the power of the cross is this: Jesus’ death and ressurection made a new way. It’s an entirely new way of living with supernatural resources available to us. It’s called forgiven and free and empowered. And in that forgiveness, freedom and empowerment, we are free to discover who we are and to live it fully – in every season. We are free to do things like share in another’s joy (Lk 1:58b); free to obey Christ and allow our heart to not harden (Heb 3:15); free to ask to for divine wisdom (Ja 1:5); free to make a decisive dedication of our bodies (Ro 12:1); free to accept Jesus’ invitation to follow him, allowing him to make us catchers of people (Mt 5:19 Msg).

The cross is teaching me to live. It’s teaching me about stewardship of call and gifting over title and position. It’s teaching me how to be present with God in the waiting, in the times when we don’t have clarity. (I’m writing a sermon on this very topic which will be preached December 30, 2018.) It’s teaching me about abiding in Jesus. This cross is also teaching me about love and pain and hope and joy.

The cross is teaching me how to live like Jesus, and friends, I long to be like Jesus. What about you?

Reverend Carmen

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