Updated: Jan 4, 2019
The season is changing.
At the end of each calendar year, after the rush of holiday parties and gift-giving, many of us pause to consider the year behind and the year ahead. Some of us intentionally reflect back on the current year by giving thanks, identifying ways in which we feel most fully alive, assessing need for improved changes, or contemplating the extent to which our children are thriving. Others look forward, targeting opportunities for growth, planning a fresh start of new beginnings, or wondering what or who lies ahead.
Regardless of whether we look back or vision forward, we all know that time is fleeting. The truth is, we are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away (James 4:14 NASB). All of us have only one shot to make our mark on eternity. As each year passes, we contemplate, or some dream about, how to make the most of our time here on earth.
Ready or not, we have moved into 2019. What helps guide your way as you focus on living your one life? That is, how do you prepare to live out your identity – and to grow in your parenting and help your children live out their identities – as you embrace the NEW YEAR?
This is a three-part blog post to help you EMBRACE, ENVISION, and ILLUMINATE your path in 2019. Part 1 below focuses recognition of God, self, and others; part 2 incorporates strategies for visualizing growth; and part 3 highlights practical ways to guide your path forward. For many years, EMBRACE, ENVISION, and ILLUMINATE have equipped me to focus on the who/why, what, and how as I imagine and engage the coming year. I hope you find this resource useful to starting your 2019 journey.
Part 1 - Embrace Your Identity.
You can’t get where you’re going if you don’t know who you are.
a. Claim your identity in Christ and your inheritance in the Kingdom of God. You are His, made in His perfect image; created for such a time as this to live out our role in His body; and purposed to bring Him glory. As a visual, imagine that He is the Potter, and you are the clay. Rest in how He is forming you and trust how He is forming your children. As His handiwork, for instance, you can be most satisfied with life when you are most dependent on Him. Your identity doesn’t change with the seasons: you can experience joy in the best of seasons or even in the midst of fiery trials, knowing that a faith more precious than gold can be refined only by fire (1 Peter 1:7). You also can embrace the fact that He is your Father, and you can learn best how to parent your children directly from Him. Even at the youngest ages, help your children embody their identities and claim their inheritances; they are young princes and princesses. Further, recognize those whom you give authority over them - and whether and how those adults are helping form your children's souls.
b. Live out your part in the Body of Christ with gratitude for how you can build up one another. Embody your identity and exercise your part. For example, as a wife and mother, my life is full when I connect relationally and deeply with my God, husband, children, and community. I experience great joy when I live out my spiritual roles and use my gifts to edify the local body. What is your role, and in what ways are you using your gifts to build up the Body? Our God created His Body with young and old; find ways to acknowledge your children’s roles and gifts, and help them glorify God by living out their roles.
c. Consider how He uniquely made you and thoughtfully reflect on how that affects your parenting. Some people gain perspective from StrengthsFinder or take note of their personality traits on Myers-Briggs. As an Enneagram 3 (Achiever/Performer), I thrive on visioning a path forward, setting goals, and achieving accomplishments, but I also appreciate that my Enneagram 9 (Peacemaker) daughter thrives in very different ways.
Embrace who and how God made you as you live out your identity and purpose to bring Him glory. Help your children embrace their identities, believing fully that they have purpose and opportunities to shine God’s truth and love in their circles of influence.
As you live out your identity as a Christian parent, what revelations do you have about who you – or who your children – are becoming? In what areas do you want to grow, and how will you employ strategies to reach new heights? This time of year provides a natural break that allows for reflection, whatever season of life you and your family are in.
With a fresh perspective on embracing your identity, you can envision your path for 2019. Check out part 2 of this blog post on ENVISION for some strategies and guiding questions to help you make much of 2019.
Next Reading - Part 2: ENVISION the New Year!