Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Year--Looking Backward

1999-2009 Part One

Are you where you thought you would be 10 years ago? In 1999, when you were looking towards Y2K and the end of civilization as we know it…what else was on your mind? Where were you then…where are you now?

I just had a interesting thing happen to me, in this moment. As I was writing this, I wrote, “On December 31, 1999, I was in my house in Broomfield Colorado.” This motivated me to do a google map search to see if I could find it. I wasn’t positive about the address, so I started high and then tracked the main road to my house.

I am so nostalgic right now. As I looked at those street names, saw the parks my kids played at, recognized intersections and looked at the place my church was…I got teary eyed. I still am. I am flooded with memories of people and events, both good and bad. I was going to write a blog about focusing on the future, and instead I am in a high speed video recapture of my past. So…lets follow this!

Wow. How often do we actually stop and think about what has happened in our lives that has brought us to where we are? I don’t mean the ‘blame-game’ where we identify all of the bad people in our lives and say that our sinful response is their fault. No, the fact is, sinners respond sinfully to sin. My response is always my fault. Jesus has freed me to respond in a way that honors Him, if I truly want to. (oops, sidebar).

What I mean is how often do we actually take the time to evaluate what has happened in our lives, and then what we learned or could have learned from it. As I look at the almost 8 years that I invested my life in Broomfield, Colorado, I am overwhelmed with how I was blessed and how God changed me.

I have an assignment for you. I will have another one probably tomorrow. This is something that I have done on two different occasions in my life, and I really believe it is beneficial.

Draw a number line of your life on a piece of paper, starting at birth and ending right now. Above the line, write the name at the appropriate age of significant people in your life. Don’t overthink this…just look at it and write down immediately who it is that comes to mind.

Then, below the number line, write down at the age that it happened, significant events. Once more, don’t overthink it. When you look at age 10 and remember the car wreck, just write it down. In both cases, write the good and the bad.

That was easy, now comes the contemplative part. Start with the events on another piece of paper.

Event: When I was a teenager, _______________ happened.

My Response: Think about what you did when this happened and write it down.

How God Used This: Once more…this is the thinking stage that has the benefit of hindsight.

How God Could Have Used This: How could you have responded differently.

How This Event Changed My Life: What difference did it make? It was significant enough to remember…why?

Now do the same thing with people.

When I finished this the first time, I actually had about 20 pages of single spaced typing. It was a very rough autobiography, and extremely insightful into my personality and character development. It also allowed me to identify root issues in my life that needed to be carried to Calvary and left there.

The second time, I focused more on another decade, beginning where I had left off the first paper. I had the same response.

The Bible is not a book of prophecy, although there is some in that—and most of them have been fulfilled. It is a book of history. It relates how God wove His Story into the Story of Humanity and then what He can do in our lives today. It is looking at what God has done, and then hearing from Him about what He is doing.

This is what this exercise can do for you, minus the inspired word of God part. It will let you see how God has sovereignly worked in the past, and how He can work right now.

Great way to start the new year.
Talk to you tomorrow I hope,