The re’View’ From Here

It cost money to look through the binocular device so I didn’t use it. But honestly, I could tell you what you would see…mountains. Absolutely beautiful mountains across the Inn River to the north of Innsbrucke, Austria. I just wouldn’t get to see the detail. I will never know the intricacies of that breathtaking range. I was content with the overview.

Our lives are like that. We can take in the view of our lives from a distance and rarely make the effort to look at the detail. There are wonderful things about each one of us, and there are not so great things that we would rather shove under the carpet. We don’t like the deficiencies in our character so we prefer to not have a closer look. The only problem with that approach is we never evaluate our lives. Looking through the binoculars to see the detail actually helps us grow emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. There is a cost to it doing that–time and emotional energy–but it’s worth it.

As 2015 draws to a close, I’d like to encourage you to take some time to look through the binoculars and evaluate the details of your life. A review of sorts. A person who spends the 2 Euros to look through the Diskopar does so because they want to know more. They shift the device from spot to spot because they are wondering “What is that?” They are asking questions with each shift.

Asking questions of yourself is the kind way to evaluate how you are doing. It’s easy to ask questions, but taking time to answer those questions honestly or even being brave enough to ask a friend for feedback can be the emotionally draining part. It is also the rewarding part. As Socrates is attributed as saying, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” We can infer that examining then makes life all the more valuable and deeply satisfying because we are looking at the details.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and you should customize questions for yourself. But here are a few that could get you started.

How would I rate my life in 2015?
What kind of a person was I in 2015?
What successes did I have this year?
Are there things I accomplished that I am proud of?
Do I have any regrets about this year?
Do I feel ashamed about any interactions I’ve had?
Are there ways I have struggled in my family?
Have I hurt people because of my selfishness?
In what ways have I grown in being a better friend, spouse, parent, etc.?
When I fail, what encourages me to get back up?
How was my relationship with God this year?

With each answer, follow it up by asking what step forward you can make to remedy a failure or build on a success. You may need to take a step toward someone and apologize or ask forgiveness…yielding relational growth. You may have noted a series of actions or reactions that aren’t very mature and need to put away childish responses…producing emotional growth. Admitting you need help from God to see any lasting change in your life opens the door for spiritual growth.

Jesus spoke an interesting parable in Luke 13 about a tree that wasn’t producing any fruit. The owner said it’s wasting space, cut it down. The gardener asked for time saying, “leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.” In essence he pleads for the opportunity to give customized attention to the tree.

We get that opportunity each year to look at our own life and evaluate the fruitfulness of it by customizing our attention to the details. Let’s make the most of the opportunity. Look through the binoculars and ask the questions that help you examine your life. A deeply satisfying life, that includes the fruit of maturing relationships, emotional growth, and spiritual depth awaits. 
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