Reflecting and Projecting

At the end of each calendar year, I do this thing in my head. I ponder the year just ending and dream about the year ahead.

I think back over the past and I imagine the future … in context to today, the present. Keeping it in context to the present is important, because inevitably the past year’s impact has changed me in some way, molding me into who and what I am right now. Maybe not a better or worse “me” … but different. There is no status quo because we’re all constantly morphing as we’re affected not only by circumstances within our control, but also those outside our influence.

I’ll clarify for you. Simply put, I do some in depth soul searching of the immediate past, present and future. This process isn’t written down. It’s not a structured format I follow on paper, though I’m pretty sure there are great books and articles available to guide someone through a similar {and probably better} process, but this works for me and has done for many a year and I’m too seasoned to change now!  Lol! 

My thinking goes something like this ….

Looking back, how was my 2018 year overall? Did I accomplish what I envisioned? What did I learn? How did I grow? What could I have done differently, or better? Was it a good, bad or so-so year? And what was it about last year that has brought me to where I am in this present moment?

Next, I examine where I am and what my thinking is today, right now at this moment in time … and how did this past year impact me and bring me to this point? After answering my own questions, I will have gathered plenty of information about myself, who I am and what I did or didn’t accomplish last year … and most importantly who and where I am today, in relation to my life’s journey.  What did I learn? How can I do better? Do I like who I am? Am I proud of myself? Did I fulfill my purpose?

Keeping those thoughts in mind, it’s time for me to imagine 2019. Hallelujah! It’s a blank page. A fresh start. I can write my own story … or can I?  What do I want to accomplish this year? How will I do that? What actions must I take? What decisions will lead me in the direction I want to go? What do I want my lifestyle to look like during my pursuits? Who do I want to become in pursuit of what I want? What goals align with my dreams for 2019? Am I clear on my purpose?

And thus, I prayerfully consider the future.

This is a fun process in many ways. It’s a definite learning curve and a creative way to measure and evaluate performance under the scrutinous eyes of my own judgment. I’ve also learned that, as the year plays out, it’s rare for things to go exactly as I envision and plan. Life can and does throw unexpected curves. Sideswipes, darts and arrows at times! The straight and narrow path, leading to the envisioned destination, consists of twists and turns, and hidden intersections along the way, all demanding a choice be made. 

Then sometimes God interrupts our plans with His plan. Extenuating circumstances out of our control change the equation. Goodness, there are so many variables and annoying distractions in daily life! Our lives can change course in the blink of an eye, so it helps to be resilient.  Stay focused on your direction but be ready to change gears. Sometimes you must go with the flow.

Knowing all of this, is the reason each year I pick a “word” and a “saying” for the incoming year. It helps to ground me. My saying is usually a scripture {or something really profound} that sticks in my mind and won’t leave. I accept it as a gift from God, who knows the greater plan He has for me in the coming year. A plan which will undoubtedly trump anything I have in mind for myself … every time! I generally have no specific reason for selecting the word or the scripture. I just think deeply about my previous year, where I am and where I want to go in the coming year, and a word comes to mind as a result. Same with the scripture. It pops up and resonates with me. Somehow, the word and scripture are always appropriate for the year ahead.  

Take my choices for this current year of 2018. Last December 2017, I had no idea what I would face this year. I went through the reflecting and projecting process and had exciting big plans in mind. I envisioned I’d seriously start writing my book in early January.  I would also expand my health and wellness business … among other lofty goals. I selected the word “constancy” and my scripture was “Be still and know that I am God”.  I blogged about this last December and published it Jan 2 of this year. This is the title.  My feet, My faith. His will, His grace

Little did I know at the time of choosing how significant that combination would be in my 2018 journey, although I had sensed the year would be different.

I had barely stepped into January 2018 when God interrupted my plans with His plan. A phone call from my Dad on Jan 12th, his 97th birthday stopped me in my tracks. Sometimes you just know without a shadow of doubt you’re called to a particular action. I knew I was called. I felt it in the pit of my stomach and my whole being understood the bidding. When you get that strong of a call from God, obedience is the only choice. On 17th of January I was on a flight to be with my dad. My funeral dress was packed. Like I said, when you know, you know with conviction! After six wonderful days of our togetherness, my dad passed peacefully in his sleep on 24th January.

I buried all my sadness, disappointment, anxiety and fears in those few significant words. Those words of assurance and the unfailing support of my family and friends were instrumental in my making it through the challenges of the year. Only God knew the depth and breadth of how I needed them to get me through an epic year of highs and lows. To carry me through the grief and loss, to encourage me forward with new plans in the face of disappointment, at being unable to execute my original plan. To calm my anxiety for all required of me to settle my dad’s estate. And to embolden me with faith in place of the fears that would often rise to the surface during the months we spent in England, sifting and sorting belongings … almost 100 years of accumulated “stuff” … then shipping some family treasures to the US, readying my parents house for sale and dealing with the necessities of probate.

Each time I looked at what seemed to be insurmountable tasks, I commanded myself to “be still”. Stop fretting Anthea.  God’s got this. And miraculously I remained constant. Constancy. Knowing the power of God kept me sane and my mindset in the right place. Each time I felt myself stressing, I let go and let God. His faithfulness, my family’s unwavering support and encouragement, and with my man by my side, we made it through the year. Lord God, what an amazing ride you gave us this year. All glory to You.  

This Christmas, our family played a game that encourages conversations. We each had to rate the past year on a scale of one to ten. To everyone’s surprise, I rated the year a TEN! It was nothing like the year I had planned, but a memorable year of great magnitude. A year of huge personal growth, spiritual maturity and, although I was late in starting my book, at least I’ve begun. And while our business did not grow at all, and we lost traction, the blessings of the year were so much greater than I ever could have imagined.

It was a meaningful year of epic proportions and abundant blessings. A monumental year on all counts. Not of my own doing in any way, shape or form, but rather a gift from God. His grace. His mercy. His strength. His infinite love. I am your grateful and humbled servant. 

Now 2019 lies ahead. An unknown entity. I’m excited. As my vision unfolds, the associated plans are forming. Our family, our business and writing my book will feature prominently in the picture. I’m smiling as I wonder what God’s plans are. Only He knows for sure. We must wait and see. Meanwhile, I will go forward with my goals and, with great expectancy, I will pursue my dreams for the year.

But I will remain resilient. Watchful. Open and obedient.  I am filled with hope for the future. Here are my words for 2019 ….


For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”   2 Timothy 1:7

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *