A Year in Review

Peter Warde   -  

At the end of each year, I like assessing and reflecting on the year. I think this is a natural thing that a lot of us do as we think about next year but also think back to the previous year. At the end of December, social media is filled with some of the best personal and family moments. There is a piece of us that enjoys to look back at last year before thinking about and planning for what is next. We talk a lot about “goals” for the new year but I would like to take a few minutes and think about this past year.

One area of my life that I really like tracking is my personal finances. This might be the nerdy side of me but I have an excel sheet that I track the growth of my investments (hopefully!). After Christmas, I update all my financial data. What I like about this exercise is that there is something tangible to it. I can look at how I finished this year and compare it to the year before. This collected information is not just an exercise in futility, but I view my finances as something that lets us accomplish our family goals. Short term, our family has goals of things we would like to do and places we would love to visit. Long term, I have a goal of having enough to retire. The tracking allows me to see that we are moving in the right direction of our goals. This financial year-end review helps me to take my finances out of the theoretical (“I hope I have enough”) and lets me track actual progress.

While the financial tracking is very concrete to see, I have attempted to do this with other areas of my life. While these areas are harder to see progress, I think they are worth still thinking about. Here are a few year-end questions to ask yourself as we close out 2021:

  1. Where have I attempted to fulfill the “one anothers” of the New Testament this year?
  2. Who have I invested into spiritually this year?
  3. How have I used my spiritual gifts to benefit the body of Christ?
  4. How have I seen growth in my immediate family relationships?
  5. How have I grown as a son/daughter, husband/wife, boss/coworker, brother/sister, etc.?
  6. Where have I resisted my flesh and seen spiritual growth?
  7. How have I grown in personal spiritual disciplines?
  8. Where have I seen God at work in my life?

These questions are not meant to discourage but to help us honestly evaluate. Looking backwards helps us to properly look forward towards next year. May God through His grace help us as we begin 2022! Happy New Year!