This is Part 2 of a three-part blog post to help you EMBRACE, ENVISION, and ILLUMINATE your path in 2019. Part 1 focuses recognition of God, self, and others (check it out here); part 2 below incorporates strategies for visualizing growth; and part 3 highlights practical ways to guide your path forward. For many years, EMBRACE, ENVISION, and ILLUMINATE equipped me to focus on the who/why, what, and how as I imagined and engaged the coming year.
Part 2 - Envision the Coming Year
What is the destination -- spiritual, emotional, or even physical -- that you seek this coming year for you and your family? Without knowing where you’re going, it’ll be all too easy to get lost along the way.
As Christians, we may want to ponder the coming year with a sense of urgency, knowing that we are called to number our days for the specific purpose of growing in wisdom. Psalm 90:12 reads: So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. We rightly have a similar call to help number our children’s days as we train them to grow in wisdom. Dream about how you would grow a heart of wisdom and how you might shape hearts as you work toward forming your children.
With a bit of expectancy, try to envision the coming year, taking to heart, gut, and mind some truth and wisdom shared by C.S. Lewis. His words apply just as much today, if not more so, than when he wrote them 75 years ago in The Abolition of Man. And they give us much to consider when raising and educating our kids in the world today:
And all the time -- such is the tragi-comedy of our situation -- we continue to clamour for those qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more 'drive', or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or 'creativity'. In sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
The Apostle Paul writes, "The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5, ESV)."
As 2019 approaches, aligning with God, self, and community might help add clarity to your vision for the new year:
Contemplate your alignment with God. You may want to choose goals or objectives to support your personal or family mission, vision, and values. As you do that, consider how you would answer these questions: What might God want most for you when it comes to your 2019 goals? How might God want to display His Kingdom through your relationship with your 2019 goals? How might you engage God’s truth for the purpose of strengthening your heart? In what ways might you help your children connect with God? That is, how might living out your goals for 2019 build up the Body and bring glory to our God?
Ponder your alignment with self. How might my goals align with growing in me a heart of wisdom? In what ways might I encourage wonder and wisdom in my children? Instead of relying on shame, fear, or guilt to motivate, how might you use gratitude as a source of motivation for pursuing your goals? On your best days, what experiences or relational connections do you engage that help you feel most alive, and how can you practice those consistently? What external forces can potentially derail you from pursuing your goals? What back-up plans can you design now to help mitigate the impact of those forces? As you consider alignment with self, how might you help your children align with who they are becoming and how they best thrive?
Imagine your alignment within community. What is your role in God’s family, and how might you live that out in 2019 to greatly bless your family and others? With whom are you standing shoulder to shoulder, believing together that God will show up as you pursue Him and your vision for 2019? How do you model living in community to your children?
Previous Reading - Part 1: EMBRACE the New Year!
Next Reading - Part 3: ILLUMINATE the New Year!