The year 2018 is now behind us. Endings are always a good time for reflection. Looking back reminds one of where he has gone and what he has learned. Looking back offers hindsight and wisdom. New Year Resolutions have their place. However, looking back at promises kept and at places and people that intersected our lives might be more valuable than the time spent finding a promise or goal for the next year. Reflecting on lessons learned and on mistakes made and on the people with whom we shared stories offers insight for the New Year if one takes the time to ponder such things.
One of the benefits of living in a social media world is the shared stories. There is no need to wait until one is home to share the trip. Now with a few quick touches to a screen, an entire vacation or adventure can be seen by anyone who cares to look. One can travel the world and share with others their favorite places. A young friend of mine from India completed her graduate work at Texas Tech University and is now working in Chicago. She posted in 2018 the many places in the United States she has visited with her friends and even family from India. She has seen places in America that many American citizens have yet to see. It is a joy to look at this amazing country through her eyes. There are so many places in this world to see.
Just as important as where 2018 has taken us is with whom did we make the journey? Whether one traveled across the world or across town, there is a story there. Perhaps the journey across town was for a graduation ceremony or a wedding ceremony. Perhaps the journey took you to a hospital to welcome a new life or to say goodbye to another life. Those we choose and those chosen for us on our journey make all the difference. No journey is too far when it is traveled with someone else. Our stories have a way of intersecting with one another.
2018 may have brought a new job or potential for a different position. It may have brought a move to a new home or a new city. It may have brought a new child or it may have ushered in a new chapter where the children are all grown and living somewhere else. The thing about stories is they are constantly being written. One chapter ends and another begins. What did we learn from the stories of 2018?
With years should come wisdom and maturity. This is not always the case but it is the desire. The wisest of kings was Solomon. He wrote near the end of his life there was nothing new under the sun. He had seen everything, and he was sure of it. Yet for all his wisdom, Solomon appears to have lost his first love. The subject of his story changed from honoring God to honoring Solomon. When he began his kingdom, we are told, he asked God for wisdom and God granted it to him. Solomon began well but he did not end well. His story has much to teach us.
It doesn’t matter how many places we go. It doesn’t matter how much money we earn or how many things we accumulate. What matters is that we seek God daily, understanding wisdom is not granted in a one-time act. Wisdom is given and wisdom is learned. Wisdom comes from taking the time to reflect. Wisdom comes when we seek God with all our heart and keep our eyes on Him. Wisdom is not reserved for those who have lived longer but for those who have lived learning, seeking and reflecting.
Learning from God, seeking His counsel and the truth found in His Word, reflecting on what He is teaching us makes us wise. At the closing of each year isn’t that the desire for all? To have learned much, to have lived well and to have made someone else’s story better because we were a part of it…Perhaps in reflecting on these things one might conclude they are a goal for the New Year as well.
Kimberly and her husband have four children, one of whom is already in his forever home. She teaches God’s Word through BSF International.