Zora Neale Hurston once wrote, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”
Over the years, I can look back and identify which years asked questions and which years answered. 2015 was a year that asked questions. And 2016 has been a year that’s answered them.
As we come to the last home stretch of 2016, I’m asking myself these questions. I’m re-evaluating my actions, my words and my love walk. I’m taking a moment and thanking God for another chance to get this right. I challenge you to ask yourself the same questions.
1. Did I put Christ first through it all?
Not second, not after my spouse, not after my children, not when all else seemed to fail, but did I seek Christ first and foremost?
2. Did I put others’ needs before my own?
Not focusing on what I needed or on what I could gain from experiences or from people, but did I focus on their needs?
3. Did I value and cherish my friendships and relationships?
Did I connect with them daily, weekly or monthly—whatever it takes—to simply ask, “How are you doing?’”
4. Did I help carry my loved ones’ burdens?
Did I physically and emotionally help them carry their heavy burdens instead of disregarding their junk, belittling their problems or not making the time to be available when they needed me.
5. Did I accomplish my goals for this year?
Did I work hard, discipline myself and crush my goals? Rather that forgetting about those New Year’s resolutions or personal goals I was bound and determined to see come to pass.
6. Did I learn from any new experiences?
Or did I stagnate with “the way it’s always been” in my life? Did I go, and do, and say yes, and learn from trying new things?
7. Did I pray for my country, my leaders and my community?
That doesn’t just mean speaking against the things I don’t agree with. Did I intentionally pray for wisdom, clarity, direction and peace as we come upon the end of the election year and say goodbye to one of the most violent and painful years we have ever had?
8. Did I handle my finances with wisdom?
Did I remain a good steward of my finances instead of ignoring my opportunity to tithe or fail to put a portion of my earnings away for savings.
9. Did I show the love of Christ to my family, friends, coworkers and neighbors?
Rather than just putting on the love of Christ on Sundays. Did I intentionally show the love of God to others around me through my actions, words, and life at all times?
10. Did I get connected in the church body?
Did I actually wake up and show up and turn up with a community of believers or where I’m called to serve in the church? Instead of staying at home because it’s convenient or saying no to serving because I didn’t feel ready for the commitment.
11. Did I learn from yesterday’s tough circumstances?
I don’t want to dwell on the woes of yesterday. Did I learn and become stronger and wiser from those lessons?
12. Did I evolve as a spouse, friend, employee, leader, teacher and future parent/parent?
Did I give it my all in every aspect of my life, and in return, see a growth as I pressed on to the fullness of God in each of these callings?
13. Did I see a growth in myself spiritually, mentally and physically?
I hope I didn’t fall into apathy or the dangers of the mundane spiritual, mental and emotional walk. Did I wake up every morning, stand on the foundation of God, decide to choose joy and physically take action to make my vision come to pass?
14. Was I a fountain to others?
Or was I a drain? Did I allow words of life flow from my mouth and encourage and empower and motivate others?
15. How can I fully devote myself in these last few months of 2016 to putting Christ first, serving others and improving my overall health?
16. What’s my action plan to accomplish this without letting the time pass me by?
If you find yourself answering “no” to some of these questions: Join the club. There are moments, days, even weeks that I blow it. However, we follow a God who is a God of redemption and grace. He listens to us as we talk about how we’ve blown it, He hugs us tightly and He says, “There’s still time to try again. And again. And again.”
We have 77 days until December 31st, 2016. 77 days to try again, to love relentlessly, to serve endlessly. 77 days to determine if this year will ask questions, or if this year will answer.
Let’s make the end of 2016 the best end yet.