Stepping Intentionally into 2022
It’s hard to believe that back in Jan 2020 I was visiting family in Australia, attending the Australian Open – and Covid-19 was something we were only beginning to read about. In March 2020, daily life as we knew it changed – almost unrecognisably.
I have been challenged recently, that it would be very easy for 2020 – 2022 to merge together – as a period in our lives when we are ‘on pause.’ I don’t think that’s how God wants us to live… yes, our freedoms may be more limited – but all things are relative – we have certainly moved on from the darkest days of Spring 2020. We may be needing to be very flexible with regard to our planning – but within those parameters, perhaps there is something about being intentional about the year ahead – and in doing so, stepping into all God has for us. Of course, we will all be entering 2022 with a sense of deep loss and that must be acknowledged. A loss of loved ones, plans and celebrations that haven’t taken place, holidays which aren’t allowed – to name but a few.
But if we are in survival mode – it’s hard to move forward. So, as we enter 2022, perhaps we need to dip our toe in the water and move forward. Of course, we need to stay real – but maybe we need to allow ourselves to hope again. Pre covid, we had a fair degree of certainty – there was much we felt we could control (perhaps forgetting who was really in charge!) – but in these times, it’s helpful, although not easy, if we can allow ourselves to be more comfortable with uncertainty in our planning.
Against this backdrop, at our January ‘Coffee and Conversation’ we took some time to pray, journal and reflect, as we chose to intentionally step into 2022. You might like to do the same:
Commit your time of reflection to God
We paused and read Isaiah 43: 16-19. Read it slowly two or three times, and see if there is a word or phrase which stands out to you. I was struck by verse 19 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Others in our coffee morning were struck by other words or phrases – and it gave us a perspective or lens, through which to look back… and forward.
Reflecting on 2021
Sometimes to move forward, we need to look back – and give ourselves some time to process. Take your journal, and draw a line representing 2021 – Jan through to Dec. Review your year – if you are someone who likes to get the coloured pens out, this is your moment! Take time to note down some of the following:
- The significant events;
- some memories you made with friends and family;
- positive emotions, negative emotions;
- times you felt close to God;
- times you felt far from God.
It’s trickier than you think. I had to get my diary out to remember what happened, as the months had merged together somewhat.
If you feel able to, it might be helpful to go a little deeper – take a look at the questions below, and if there are 1 or 2 that resonate with you, take your journal and let the pen flow:
- Which experiences shaped you the most?
- What are you thankful for?
- Where did you experience joy?
- Where did you experience loss or disappointment?
- What frustrated you?
- What have you learnt?
- How have you grown in the past year?
- What gifts have you been using or developed?
With all the challenges of the past year, looking back is likely to have been an emotional process – you might find it helpful to talk through your reflections with a trusted friend or counsellor. This is deep work, feel able to go back to this list as many times as is helpful to you.
Thinking forward into 2022
We are being called to step into the future knowing it is uncertain – that has always been the case, but maybe it’s the last couple of years that have highlighted this. We are more than likely feeling weary and vulnerable – which perhaps stops us leaning into all God has for us.
There is something about intentionally stepping into 2022 – as if we mean to be here, and are expectant for what God has for us. Be gentle with yourself though and start small. Perhaps it’s making a small change to your weekly rhythm, trying a new activity which energises you, or getting in touch with a friend even if it feels easier to stay home. I thought there were some helpful ideas for improving well-being in this recent Guardian article: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/jan/01/marginal-gains-100-ways-to-improve-your-life-without-really-trying
Created for a purpose
You and I were created for a purpose (you might like to look at: Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 33:11 and Ephesians 2:10). Think of the story of Esther when she found herself in a position where she had to confront the King and we read the well-known verses in 4:14:
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
This is the moment to ask God how He wants us to live in these pandemic times? As you take some moments in the quiet:
- Are there any nudges or thoughts that God is giving you for this next year?
- Is there anything that you have learnt from 2021 that you want to be intentional about building on in 2022?
- Any pictures or images coming to mind?
- Is there a word or phrase that represents what he has for you this year?
Write down anything that comes to mind – sit with it over the next few weeks and see how your thinking develops.
Make a date with yourself!
In many ways 2021 flew by – 2022 could do the same! Having taken the time to reflect and think forward, you might like to check back with your reflections in 3-6 months. As a Fitfish team we’ll be continuing to think about stepping into all God has for us – watch out for further coffee mornings, and us exploring this topic more on our retreats – now open for booking here and filling up fast!