Why Intentional Reflection is Crucial and How to do it
Look Back To Move Forward
“We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.” -John Dewey
Sometimes I’ve fallen into the false assumption that hard knocks automatically produce wisdom. Definitely not true. We’ve all watched those folks in our congregations that have been through tons of hard in their lifetimes but that have not grown in wisdom, but instead have become bitter and have lost sight of eternal things. And we determine to grow old differently.
Reflection is so intrinsic to Scripture that we might fly right past it. God calls us to examine ourselves, line up our thoughts and actions against His Word and make changes as we walk forward.
“Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the Lord.” Lamentations 3:40
Sometimes as a pastor’s wife, I can get caught on the treadmill of ministry: helping hurting people, managing the programs so that we can care for more, taking care of our family and helping my husband as he discerns our next steps as a congregation, that I fail to take a moment to do some necessary reflection so that I can walk forward better than I’ve walked in the past.
I’ve also discovered that when I invite someone else into this reflection process, it is immeasurably more fruitful. They can see what I cannot and offer a perspective that I lack.
Here is an activity that allows God to speak new direction into my life. This might take the form of course-correcting, putting more wind in my sails, or sometimes even showing me that I need to take the boat totally out of the water for some repairs on the hull.
Intentional Reflection Activity for Pastors’/Ministry Wives and families
Where To Begin:
I challenge you this week, to carve out 30 minutes to work through these questions, asking the Lord to be your Counselor and reveal to you the truth about “your inmost heart.” (See Psalm 139 for more on this).
Click HERE to download the Year End Reflection Questions Worksheet.
Here’s my process:
- Carve out 30 minutes with my journal and these questions. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide me to places that He wants to move in and protect me from the self-reflection that leads to self-absorption.
- Connect with a friend, my spouse, or a friend from my Alongside cohort to work through key questions together.
- Pray about what God would have me focus my eyes on this next year as I seek to come alongside what He is already at work doing in my life.