Ready, Set … Reflect?

by susan on January 3, 2017

a-new-yearIn a little less than a week, a small group of friends from The Well will travel to Uganda to learn & serve alongside a refugee ministry we’ve been partnering with for the past few years. We will tour the shelter we’ve learned so much about and help to register refugees for a new year of classes & vocational training. We will also help to lead a 3 day, 2 night retreat for about 50 staff of Refuge and Hope International (including the Amani Sasa shelter staff).  It’s an extremely exciting and also very different way to begin the new year.

As I’ve been preparing to lead the retreat, it struck me how strange & even counter-cultural it seems to begin a new year with retreat. I don’t know about you, but I’m usually off to the races, back to the gym, rushing to accomplish new goals & embrace new practices. By January 1st, I’ve done my year-end-review & I’m ready to plunge in. This year’s twist has me doing less plunging & more contemplation, and I’m kind of wondering if maybe that’s a good thing.

While reflection & contemplation do have the possibility of turning into self-obsession, they are necessary parts of growth, learning & transformation. Too often, we jump too quickly into action, afraid if we wait we’ll miss out or miss the boat. It’s good though, to ponder where we are, what’s working & what’s not or where God is inviting us to invest more (or less) of our time & energy. It’s not wasted time; it’s time well spent.

If you’ve been reluctant to rush into 2017 & are slowing down to consider what direction to go,  I want to share a few resources you may find helpful:

  • The Robcast, Episode 1: Yes, it’s from January 2015, but trust me, it still applies. Rob Bell talks about how to balance, set priorities & choose our “yes”es & “no”s.
  • The Slow Church Blog: Our vision team read through Slow Church (quite slowly in fact…) last year & this blog post has a great list of neighborhood practices that could help you reflect on possible ways to engage more relationally with your neighbors.
  • For those needing to get in touch with their contemplative side, I love this list of ideas that can be incorporated into daily life.
  • For those wondering what to read, here are some suggestions. You can also look out for our 2017 Well Reading List.

As a community about to celebrate our 6th year of life together, we will also spend some time in February looking back & forward. It can be scary to slow down & reflect, but let’s not be people driven by fear. Instead, let’s be followers of Jesus, the One who often abruptly departed the frenzy to listen, to pray & to ponder his way forward.

Looking forward to journeying with you.

Peace & love,

Susan

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