well, it is that time of year...where I sit and reflect and take spiritual inventory at the end of yet another year. I'd say it's been good, but that answer is too easy and really doesn't mean anything. My soul yearns for deeper reflection and questioning (yours does too if you'll slow down enough to hear it).
Here are the questions I ask myself, maybe they'll help you. Did I grow in my faith this year? Did I pray more? Upon reflection; I really have gotten better at this. My prayer room attached to my office has truly become my refuge and I've found myself on my knees this year more - so that's good.
Did I give more? My Lord was a GIVER and so to be like him I must give. Well, in plain numbers, sara and gave more cash to God than ever before. But before I check that off as "well-done"; there is a deeper question that requires attention. Could I have given more? Was I just giving out of my abundance or sacrificially? I'll have to admit, as I close this year out, i have a lot of cool stuff, so I don't feel real sacrificial (not in biblical terms for sure)...so I'll keep growing here.
Did I overcome some sins? Well, here's the part where you'd like to know exactly what sins I'm overcoming (and frankly I don't know you well enough to do that) but I'll reserve those confessions for God and some close trusted brothers in Christ. Well, here's the deal as I reflect. I'm learning to dislike sin more and that's progress. My goal is to hate my earthly and fleshly ways as much as God do and embrace his spirit more.
Did I love and lead my wife well? Some old guy once told me the best way to judge a husband is to see how much the wife laughs. Well, Sara laughs a lot (mostly at me) so I must be doing o.k. Still I'm sure I need to give more to her as well, she continues to be my richest earthly blessing.
Did I live a life my boys could aspire to? Again, I am far short of where I want to be, but I'm having a lot more conversations where my oldest is asking for my advice (and bailouts - but even the government does that) and that's been cool. Of course, he has moved out and started his own tattoo business - I'm proud of him and pray God will show him how he should use this gift. My youngest is growing (literally taller) and it's fun watching how God is moving in him. He tells people I'm his hero (even though he hates it when I tell him to clean up his mess) so that's good.
Did I use my gifts for God's glory? Well, I've had more fun preaching this year than ever before and I will say I take this gift of preaching more serious than I've ever taken it (something about 2,300 adults coming every week to hear from God that makes me want to represent Him well).
If I died right now (I know it's morbid, but you have to ask it) would I be content with the life I've lived? Heavy stuff huh? Well, I'm sure God would have changed some actions, decisions, motivations, etc... I know this because I would too. But all in all, if today were my last day and I got to see God by grace and faith in Jesus; I'd be cool with that. And that's about the best conclusion I could come to.
Like i said earlier 2008 was a good year.