Friday, December 24, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Reflection

Reflection for Growth
A devotional by Erin M. Handley

“…but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:10-13 (NIV)

Reflection is a beautiful thing.

As we approach the last few days of 2021, many of us may feel overwhelmed with goal setting, creating resolutions, and identifying the promises we are agreeing to take into 2022.

But while we are so focused on preparing for what is to come, it is just as important to take a moment to reflect on the experiences you have had thus far. The trajectory you are on now is primarily based on the experiences you have had up until this moment. Because of the significance of your experiences, it is important to take a moment to reflect on where you have been, what you have experienced, and how those things affect where you may be going.

Reflection helps us to make wise, sound decisions. Reflection helps us take a moment to measure our effectiveness in the work we do from day-to-day. Reflection helps us ensure our ‘why’ is still our ‘why’ right now.

As we reflect to prepare for a new year, we can easily find ourselves focusing on all the things we were not able to accomplish in 2021. We quickly recall all the ways we feel that we failed: in our professional life, in our personal life, in our relationships, in the way we show up for others, and even in the way we show up for ourselves. We focus on the things we did not do in efforts of making these things priorities that we can cross off our to-do lists.

But please allow me the opportunity to encourage you to leverage your strengths by acknowledging all of the things you accomplished this year. It may have been the success in your relationships or the promotion in your professional life. Maybe it is that you made strides with your health and nutrition goals. Maybe it is something else that is tangible and documented.

I also want to make sure we allow ourselves the space to own the growth we have experienced in our spiritual life. We have opened our hearts to be willing to hear God as He may speak to us in a new way that is unconventional to us. We have learned to be still for the purpose of thinking more clearly and simply waiting to hear God’s voice.

We have accepted that we must view ourselves with a Kingdom mindset. We have recognized that our identity is rooted in His purpose for us and is not limited to the roles we play in the lives of those we love. We have shifted our perspective and our posture before Him in order to receive all the things He has in store for us. And at the end of it all, we have learned to “praise our way through” so we can truly embody the joy we have been searching for.

Whatever you do, don’t allow the things you were not able to do to overshadow the major milestones you have reached in your life. The growth you have experienced simply serves as a reminder that you have been equipped for this, and there is so much more to come.

Let’s Pray: Lord, we simply want to use this moment to reflect and say thank You. We thank You for allowing us continued opportunities to grow in You. We thank You for your grace, your mercy and your kindness. We thank You for the love you show to us. We thank You for loving us when we struggle to know what love is and how to show love, grace, and kindness to ourselves and others. We thank You for life. We thank You for everything—seen and unseen, spoken and unspoken. We are in awe of You and or your work. Thank You. In Jesus’s Name we pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

With an ever-growing desire to continually learn the Word of God and present teachings based on Biblical principles, Erin M. Handley is committed to her calling of teaching and inspiring others to ‘be more by doing more.’ With this in mind, Erin mentors young women and appreciates seeing the growth and change in the lives she impacts.

While she sincerely enjoys mentoring and speaking to young people, she is most passionate about educating and empowering women from various stages of life about Biblical womanhood and how to live out those principles in today’s world.

For over 15 years, Erin has worked with youth and adolescents in the fields of mental and behavioral health, education, and ministry.

When reflecting on her experiences in ministry and non-ministry settings, her most memorable encounters have been those that allowed her the opportunity to teach the Word of God in a way that is most relatable to the audience she served in that moment. She has enjoyed writing since her youth, but only recently felt the call to share her writing with the world.

With an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in Ministry and Pastoral Counseling, Erin M. Handley has been fortunate to be able to leverage her gifts and her passions throughout her career in Education.

Aside from reading, writing, and mentoring, Erin enjoys dancing, interior design, cooking, and most other activities which allow her to utilize her creativity.

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