Writing in response to our recent challenge on reflection, Nick Parish looks forward and back, and risks encouraging his inner eeyore…
Last week’s amnesty was good (though in all honesty, I could do with a couple more weeks of amnesty…) and a chance to reassess. So this week’s invitation to recommit was timely. Because it reminds me that being a Christian and living for Christ doesn’t simply require one decision. It requires daily choices being made. It asks me to commit myself through words and actions day after day after day. In the week that Andy Murray won Wimbledon, it’s also worth remembering that the daily commitment to something, whilst demanding, can also bring rewards. We are doing these weekly challenges not just for the sake of it, but to draw closer to God.
And so I have devoted some time to reflecting. Looking back and looking forward. In the process of reflecting, I wrote two headings: “Stuff I’ve achieved” and “Stuff to come”. I wrote a couple of things down under each heading, glanced back at the challenge and realised my mistake (one I make all too easily). The challenge wasn’t, in fact, to chart my personal successes over the first six months of the year, it was to consider “what God has done in your life”. So I rewrote the first heading and had another crack at reflecting on it. The fact of the matter is, the best things I achieve tend to be the ones that God and I work on together. Raising my boys (which is my main role) is the greatest thing we’ve worked on together. I often don’t get it right, but that doesn’t mean I give up, it just requires recommitting to it. The last six months have been one quarter of Luke’s entire life. That’s hugely significant for him, surely. But only in reflecting on the last six months has that been brought home to me.
As I continued to reflect, there was the ongoing danger of seeing my life through Eeyore’s eyes. With this sort of exercise, I find myself more likely to take a gloomy approach than a cheery one. But God has been working in my life over the last few months, and taking time to notice where is such a valuable exercise. It reminds me that I am not alone. It reminds me that my personal triumphs are not the be-all and end-all; life is bigger than that. Reflecting also excites me about the future. The coming six months will have some challenges, without a doubt. But they’ll have plenty of opportunity to grow closer to Him, to serve Him through the things that I prioritise. There will be a direct link between my commitment and my growth. This may or may not be visible in the coming months, but by taking time to reflect, I’m reminded that God has been good, and will be good in the future. Some things never change.
Nick Parish is a stay at home Dad who’s slowly learning that this fact doesn’t need to be justified by adding things like, ‘I’m writing a book’, and ‘I’m a Special Constable with Derbyshire Police’ (though both these facts are true…) He is married to Anna, who runs the boarding house in which they live, and they have two boys, Joshua and Luke. Check out his blog and catch him on Twitter.