A new year for me always starts with much optimism, excitement and hope. I am sure many of you feel the same way, that 2020 will be better than 2019. Dedicated time with God, financial growth/breakthrough, get a job/promotion, spend more time with family, travel more, or follow through with plans initiated but not concluded. For some of us, these plans will work out well but for others, this won’t be the case. That is the reality. ‘Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.’ Proverbs 19:21

I spent incredible time at the end of last year to reflect on how 2019 was for me. I rarely retreat to quiet places to be by myself, a habit that I should take up more often. I should emulate the Lord. “And Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5.16.

2019 came with its share of trouble for me. I had major challenges, some of which are ongoing. But, I am grateful for these challenges that I faced, even though they are painful.

The thing about reflection is that you gain perspective of life. You are able to assess your strengths and weaknesses. You are also able to gain understanding on who you are and why you do the things you do. I love journaling and so I penned down my thoughts and gratitude. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus. I used a tool by Patricia Murugami, one of the women I look up to, a Reflections and Commitments Journal. It was quite refreshing to use this journal as I had to have deep introspection.

Allow me to share with you one of my greatest reflections in this season.

I have stated earlier that there is something that happens when you reach mid of your life. You reflect on what you have achieved or havent, and you wonder whether you made the right choices. You can decide to get stuck in feelings of regret or move on. It becomes a time of defining yourself and seeing how you can have an impact to those around you. You realize that life and death are real.

I desire to live a life that has an impact to those around me. I don’t want it to end at just a simple desire; it ought to translate to some form of action. I have realized that we beat ourselves hard at times, thinking that we never do enough. Pause. Reflect. If truly you are not doing anything to impact the life of another positively, please consider doing something. If you are already doing something, assess whether it has any form of impact.

For me to leave a legacy, I have to put in my time and resources. And I need to be in good shape and state of mind to do so. I desire to live a healthy life so that I am available to do much. I must admit that I am normal, the kind that sets goals for a healthier lifestyle at the beginning of the year. Then life happens. And this is one of the goals that I easily sacrifice. Why? I don’t understand.

I need to be in good shape, spiritually, emotionally and physically. I have struggled to stay physically fit. I am indisciplined many times in the area of my spiritual growth, desiring to grow yet doing little in that regard. I have seen the ‘consistency’ of my indiscipline in my physical and spiritual walk. The prize is clear for me in both cases, but there are times I don’t want to pay the price. Yet, I need to keep my eyes on the goal lest I miss out. ‘Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.’ 1 Corinthians 9:25-27

Kobe Bryant, a great legend in basketball, passed away this week. I used to watch him play the game when I was younger, initially for the looks but later to learn about the game. See, I used to play basketball in high school, never mind that I was in Team B. Kobe’s death has come as a shock to the world. He was relatively young, my agemate, with a lot more to do in this life. He showed us the importance of putting hours to become better in your game, fixing your eyes on the prize. And his death has reminded us that life is fleeting.

Sunny Bindra says, ‘Life is short and precious; it should matter and it should matter a great deal’.

One thing is clear. If we desire to live long and fulfilling lives, we need to store up God’s Word in our hearts and allow ourselves to be guided by it. With long life, He does satisfy us. His Word is refreshing and brings healing to our souls.

My son do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Proverbs 3:1-2

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Proverbs 3:7

I pray that you will spend considerable time this year seeking what is right, noble, admirable, pure, lovely and true. I hope that you will seek to give your best. I pray that you will fix your eyes above, not on the things below because they are temporary and will pass. I hope that you realize that we don’t have eternity to live here on earth. Use your time wisely today. Love more today. Give sacrificially today. Forgive today. Love God and His people. Let us gain perspective on what truly matters.

‘A man’s days are numbered. You know the number of his months. He cannot live longer than the time You have set.’ Job 14:5